Bryan Adams at The Olympia Theatre on 28th October 2012

The ‘Bare Bones Tour’ rolled into Dublin, to strip back the entire popular catalog of young Bryan Adams modest 16 albums into a raw acoustic show. Even The Olympia Theatre is shredded back raw as Adams removed the back wall curtain, revealing the old wall and wiring at the heart of the depth of the Olympia Theatre stage.

It’s a simple setup and concept tonight. Bryan Adams on guitar and harmonica, Gary Bright on piano accompaniment. That was it, no big band, no big production. Just a man, his songs and a top hat. Opening with Run To You instantly sets the crowd buzzing for a big set ahead. Already people taking to their feet in pockets of the fully seated crowd. Flittering through content from years ago up to recent releases.  Hitting highs with Here I Am, Do I Have To Say The Words and Can’t Stop This Thing We Started in a strong opening salvo.

Adam’s powers further through this immense set list of career gold. All in cutback acoustic with occasional piano interludes from his talented partner in crime. So much of his music is written on acoustic and scaled up to full band (said by the maestro himself while onstage) and thus seems almost effortless in Bare Bones mode. Our troubadour is in good humour with continual interactions with the shouting fans, following up a quality version of Cut’s Like A Knife, with a Willy Nelson impression whilst singing Please Forgive Me after comments on what his vocals sound like.

Summer of 69 is as rocking as it gets and Heaven echoes beautifully around the Olympia as the crowd helps Adams on the vocal front. Crowd requests are filtered in, including 18 til I Die and When Your Gone which breaks our mesmerised focus from the hypnotic acoustic renditions, causing us to sing along. While Adams explains how he wrote The Right Place for Ray Charles but never sent it to him, a crowd member lets Bryan know they love him anyway, much to his amusement. Finishing his main set on The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You, Adams walks off stage to a standing ovation.

A six song encore featuring a beautifully executed version of Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman – transposed from Spanish guitar to piano by Adams sidekick Bright – brings the Bare Bones to a rattling halt. The bones might be bare and rattling but they show core and heart of Adams music. Even played out without the layers and production, the back catalog endures through the year more than we thought it would. A near thirty song set never felt drawn over or overplayed and as the house lights came up, we were surprised he wasn’t coming out for more – sure it was only early. It wasn’t till after the show we realised just how much of his back catalog that we were treated to.

As a viewer not familiar with a large portion of the Bryan Adams back catalog, the show sucked us in, Adams vocals as gritty and gnashing as at any point in his career. There is probably a lot to be said for the full band show, but the Bare Bones tour was right up our street.

Run to you
It’s Only Love
Back To You
Here I Am
I’m Ready
This Time
Do I Have To Say The Words
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
If You Wanna Be Bad (Ya Gotta Be Good)
Heat In Of Night
Not Romeo, Not Juliet
Everything I Do, I Do It For You
Cut’s Like A Knife
Please Forgive Me
Summer Of 69
Walk On By
18 til I die (by request)
When Your Gone (by request)
The Right Place
I Can’t Stop Loving You (Ray Charles cover)
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me, Is You

You’ve Been a Friend To Me
Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman
I Still Miss You A Little Bit
Straight From The Heart
All For Love