BRYAN ADAMS – WEMBLEY 1996 LIVE (2016)
Featuring Bryan Adams, Keith Scott, Mickey Curry, Tommy Mandel, Dave Taylor, Danny Cummings and Melissa Etheridge.
Directed by Bryan Adams.
Distributed by Eagle Vision. 143 minutes. Not Rated.
At this point in his career, Bryan Adams is mostly remembered for his smash hit, slightly sappy soundtrack ballads: “Heaven” (from A Night in Heaven), “All For Love” (from The Three Musketeers), “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” from Don Juan DeMarco) “I Finally Found Someone” (from The Mirror Has Two Faces) and particularly “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” (from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves).
However, in the 1980s and early 90s, Adams was an arena-rock superstar, topping the album-oriented-rock charts with 20-some radio hits, and such harder rocking classics as “Summer of 69,” “Cuts Like a Knife,” “Kids Wanna Rock,” “It’s Only Love,” “Run to You,” “Somebody” and “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started.” I mean, yes, he did have a way with the ballads, but the dude could rock out too.
Bryan Adams – Wembley 1996 Live captures Adams right as he is starting to slip from the top of the charts. His most recent CD, 18 ’Til I Die, was considered a bit of a letdown, sales-wise, though it did have one marginally strong top 40 hit “Let’s Make a Night To Remember,” (which was his last solo top 40 hit) a minor album-rock hit with “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You” and another smoochie adult contemporary ballad “I’ll Always Be Right There.”
“Have You Ever Loved a Woman?” was also on the album, but it had been a soundtrack hit a year before the album was released, so it was not exactly considered a part of the record’s success. Another soundtrack single – which would turn out to be his last pop hit – the Barbra Streisand duet “I Finally Found Someone,” would come out during the lifespan of 18 ’Til I Die, though it was not to be released for a few months when this concert was filmed.
He was less than two years away from the first flop album of a long career, On A Day Like This, and he never quite recaptured the spotlight after that, eventually becoming a sporadically-active recording artist who mostly did nostalgia tours, as well as exploring different art forms like photography and writing children’s books.
However, in Wembley 1996 Live, we have a guy who is still living the superstar life and rocking huge venues. The venues don’t get any bigger than London’s Wembley Stadium, a veritable sea of humanity which reacts with ecstasy as the rocker plows through an extended jam of his greatest hits.
Adams starts out in a rocking mood – the first six songs are all uptempo, from the goofball current single “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You” to the proto hit “Kids Wanna Rock” to the party jam “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started.” He slows down briefly with the flamenco-tinged swooner “Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” before kicking out the jams again.
They also bring up Melissa Etheridge, right then at the height of her white-hot fame as well, to sing a smoldering version of the Tina Turner portion of Adams’ duet “It’s Only Love.”
It’s a smart set list – I can only think of one big hit which was absent (“Straight From the Heart”), but there is plenty of red meat for the fans. Adams also slips in a couple of well-played and thematically appropriate covers of classic garage band hits: The Troggs’ “Wild Thing” and the Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought the Law (The Law Won).”
Wembley 1996 Live is a good snapshot in time of a rock star at the height of his powers. It may also rescue Adams’ reputation from the adult contemporary doldrums by reminding us all that the kid wanted to rock.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2016 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 12, 2016.