Saturday night (Nov. 12) in Vancouver, Bryan Adams capped his Canada-wide “So Happy It Hurts” concert tour with a crowd-pleasing mix of new and old songs spanning his four-plus decades in music.
At Rogers Arena it was a celebratory homecoming for the North Van-raised rocker, who was the very first rock star to perform at the arena, then known at General Motors Place, back in September 1995.
I photographed that landmark concert, but can’t find the negatives. Anyhow, Adams turned his back on the camera-carrying media that night, so the shots were probably lousy.
Fast-forward 27 years and I’m the bass player in Reckless, a Bryan Adams tribute band, so I know the man’s music pretty well (especially all those ’80s hits).
Flashback: my media pass to the very first concert held at General Motors Place (now @RogersArena).
Tonight, @bryanadams returns on his “So Happy it Hurts” tour, and I’ll be there. I play the guy’s music in @AdamsCanada band so I know the songs (especially all those 80s hits). pic.twitter.com/CKUmRoq41s
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) November 12, 2022
Among them is “Straight From the Heart,” performed solo on acoustic guitar at Rogers Arena during Saturday’s encore.
Before he launched into the ballad, Adams talked about the path he travelled from Ontario to Vancouver, with younger brother Bruce and mother Jane (while father Conrad was posted abroad as a foreign service diplomat, according to Wikipedia).
“My mother’s here tonight, she’s 94,” Adams told the roaring crowd during a five-minute speech.
He convinced her to take $1,000 saved for his university education and spend it on music gear.
“And so in the summer of 1978 I spent time driving my family crazy figuring out how to play this, and that’s why I’m playing guitar tonight,” Adams said as the crowd roared some more.
“It was a long road and I remember when we first came here, people said, ‘Oh, you’re going to B.C., make sure you stay in Haney.’ We lived in Haney and it was like, ‘Nah, let’s keep going.’ Then we got to Surrey and we lived in Surrey for a little bit, 104th in Guildford, and after getting the shit kicked outta me a couple of times I said, ‘Ma, we gotta move out of here,’ and so we moved over to North Van.
“Then we moved to Burnaby – I’m just telling you this because this is our history,” Adams continued. “We were broke, there was nothing – nothing in the fridge. My mother was working two jobs, and she is one of the best there is.”
Eventually the Adams family moved to a house in Kits Point.
“That was the summer of 1978 when everything changed, and the only good thing that came out of my piano playing was this song, and so I have to dedicate it to my ma, Jane, tonight.”
At Rogers, it’s not clear what happened to Feeder, billed as concert-openers. By 8 p.m. there was no sign of the Welsh band on stage, and by around 8:25 p.m. Adams and band launched into “Kick Ass,” the first of their 28 songs Saturday night.
Adams’ “So Happy It Hurts” tour now sends him to Europe until mid-December, followed by a six-concert residency at the Wynn casino in Las Vegas, starting Jan. 25.