Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Live Review: Bryan Adams & Joan Jett - Madison Square Garden, NYC 6/9/2023

Bryan Adams & Joan Jett
Madison Square Garden, NYC 6/9/2023

Two 1980's rock and roll icons played to a sold out Madison Square Garden on Friday night June 9th as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened up for Bryan Adams on his So Happy It Hurts Tour in the worlds most famous arena. 

The predominantly older crowd filed in as the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer returned to her adopted hometown and Jett started the show with a new song "Shooting Into Space" off her surprise new EP Mindsets which was released on June 2nd, and featured throughout the opening set. It says something that new tunes fit snuggly next to old favorites like the chugging "Cherry Bomb" and the crowd singalong "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" as the 'Oh Yeah!' chants bounced around the Garden. 

One of the set highlights was a hard rock cover version of Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People" as Jett and The Blackhearts took the theme of togetherness and put a leather vest on top of the positive message. The group delivered a quick take on their biggest hit "I Love Rock and Roll" which felt perfunctory, better was the slamming "Bad Reputation" which had a Ramones punk spirit mixed in, while the encore for Jett's set was a new tune, "Whiskey Goes Good" which brought a country twang to the hard rock proceedings. 

After a lengthy break, Bryan Adams and his four piece backing band, (Keith Scott – lead guitar, backing vocals Mickey Curry – drums, backing vocals Solomon Walker – bass, backing vocals Gary Breit – keyboards, backing vocals) arrived to a video intro of their song "Kick Ass" which worked well as they dropped right into that straight ahead rocking song live. 

The group are well versed and have the stage game down as Adams ran from side to side getting fans worked up with classics "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" and "Somebody". Adams has always walked a fine line between earnest rocker and cheesy overload and some of his tunes on this night like "Please Forgive Me", "When Your Gone" and "One Night Love Affair" dipped into Velveeta land, however an early arrival of "Heaven" pulled all the emotional weight as the song rang out winningly, complete with a huge guitar solo. 

Another highlight was Adams telling a story of the time he worked with Tina Turner and he became choked up before delivering an impactful version of "It's Only Love" which showcased his strongest vocals all night, and another great guitar solo. The band then shifted gears for a bit of rockabilly complete with stand-up bass work as "I've Been Looking for You" twanged out from the front of the large MSG stage.

Reliving the past is a big theme of Adams' music and while "Summer of '69" was a winner, complete with heavy break down, "18 til I Die" missed the mark completely. Better was the huge hit "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" and the ovation it received, before Adams started taking requests from those who could yell the loudest. 

"She's Only Happy When She's Dancing" was a fun hand clapping, hip swinging number while "Christmas Time" was an odd choice. "Cuts Like A Knife" found the band delivering the best groove of the entire show while "Run To You" was a revved up muscle car that took off an floored it.

The long set oddly ended with a cover of Frankie Vallie's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and then a two song, solo acoustic encore of "Straight From the Heart" and "All For Love" and while the toned down sound was a unique choice to close the show, the huge set that proceeded it delivered the goods for the sold out crowd.    
Support the artists, catch them live on this tour and peep some video below:


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