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Few moves are as interesting as those made by an older artist who’s smashed every possible musical milestone, fetches about for what to do next, and hits upon inspired reinvention.
This is the kind of restlessness that birthed Neil Diamond’s collaboration with Rick Rubin or Elton John’s turn to a sort of gospel-roadhouse hybrid with Leon Russell on the T-Bone Burnett-produced The Union. Add Bryan Adams to the list with his just-out Bare Bones disc and reprise of the tour that started a couple of years ago.
Stripping away the hyper-production that made his later catalog a go-to for every soft-rock station Duane Reade has ever tuned into, Adams (now 51) isn't reinventing the wheel here, but he is going defiantly analog and human in a digitally-driven industry.
Goodbye giant stadiums with their faceless crowds (he’s played Wembley 25 times, for crying out loud), hello intimate theater settings with just an acoustic guitar and piano, stripped-down versions of his best material (your Cuts Like a Knifes, your Summer of ‘69s) and his voice, the warm whisky-tenor quality of which got a little beside the point as he pinballed from soundtrack ballad to soundtrack ballad in his mid-career.
I didn’t get a chance to see his sold-out show at the Beacon last year, when he was first introducing the Bare Bones concept to audiences, and kicked myself—people frothed hard, even critics, and even the ones who’d been dragged by their girlfriends. To hear them describe it, it was more like a cozy singalong in the back of a bar than concert with a merch table out front.
Not surprising that his return to the Beacon on Thursday January 27 sold out so fast, a second show is being added. Tickets go on sale Friday December 3 at 10AM, and you should probably get one.
Bryan Adams: The Bare Bones Tour. Friday, January 28, 8PM. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway; 212-465-6500. Tickets $89.50, $69.50, $49.50; on sale Friday December 3 at 10AM via Ticketmaster.com, Beacontheatre.com.
What I'm listening to: She’s a River – Firehorse