Bryan Adams in Mumbai: Canadian rocker treats longtime fans to nostalgia on return to old stomping ground
The music of Bryan Adams has meant different things to me at different stages of life. I remember 'Here I Am' playing in the background across the lush green pastures in the tear-jerking climax of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I remember 'Summer of 69' injecting energy into hundreds of Xavierites as a tradition during the annual mega-fair at my alma mater - St Xavier's School, Jaipur. And I also remember 'Let's Make A Night' and '(Everything I Do), I Do It For You' floating around as I spent time with a loved one. Little did I know that all these gems belonged to the same man.
Adams, in more ways than one, is a symbol of nostalgia. And this nostalgia is not a copyright of the proverbial '90s kids or the those-were-the-days breed. His concert in Mumbai on 12 October lent more credibility to my observation. As Adams recreated 'Summer of 69' and crooned, "Those were the best days of my life," I saw parents and their teenage kids hold each other more tightly than they were holding on to their beer glasses. They repeated the legend's words in chorus. I could hear them think out loud, "These are the best days of my life."
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Clearly, nostalgia cuts across all ages. It is rare to see a singer hold the attention and collective fascination of two age groups separated by 30-odd years. The music industry is infamous for suicides and drug overdoses that plague even the most promising of singers, that too at a very early age. Adams has stood the test of time and how. A little fly on the wall tells me that the 58-year-old vegan had requested for herbal tea and a vegetable smoothie during his visit to India. This is in stark contrast to the demands that international celebrities put up when they visit India.
His timeless charm also makes one sit up and notice how the audio defies the visual when he performs on stage. Adams' opening act started with his lesser known tracks like 'Run To You'. My attention, thus, gets drawn towards the meticulously designed graphics in the background. As he performs on 'Run to You', the background visuals show him take a walk in a shopping mall. What the eyes register seem in complete tandem with what one hears. But things change when Adams unleashes his best singles, such as 'Heaven' and 'Baby When You're Gone'. The attention shifts from the graphics to his face. Wrinkles are visibly evident on his face but the raspy voice refuses to change. I see an old man singing, with the abandon of a young soul. He's 18 goin' on 65.
Mumbai, India...our best gig in this city...well almost as good as the first in 1994! That gig is legendary in my mind, as we were the first western artists to perform this country for… https://t.co/3jZiwLzFln
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) October 12, 2018
When Adams performed 'Summer of 69', the whole of Jio Garden erupted. As Adams belted out the line, "We had a band and we tried really hard", I explored yet another old school aspect about the gifted artist. He gives not only credit but also considerable space to his band members. His partnership with the underrated guitarist Keith Scott will go down in history as one of the most fruitful musical collaborations of all time. He also allows his keyboardist to steal the spotlight in the piano-based songs like '(Everything I do), I Do It For You' during the concert. His lasting working relationships with his band members also stems from the same honest place where his songs of love and friendship have been churned out.
Adams concluded the show with 'Straight from the Heart', which he dedicated to his late father and his ailing mother. He claimed he has always looked after them, as they do in India. He reveals his father died earlier this year and his mom is wheelchair-bound. The chain of events took a toll on him. During the final moments, the crowd in attendance requests him to sing 'Please Forgive Me'. But Adams walks away, allowing the audience to marinate themselves in the pain of longing.
I don't know what Bryan Adams means to me now. It is certainly a function of all the things I've associated with him. But now, he also stands for a sense of longing. A longing to listen to him live till I die.
Updated Date: Oct 13, 2018 16:52 PM