Live! Live! Live!, by Bryan Adams
This album marks what would be an increasing pattern for Bryan Adams, in that the lengthy gap between studio albums would be filled by live albums and later on a great deal of greatest hits compilations that would fill up the space between those studio albums. Like many artists, Bryan Adams’ music output started out pretty heavy and then slowed down with time, as years spent on the road all around the world meant comparatively little time could be spent in the studio working on the albums that Adams wanted to make. So, as an introduction to Adams’ extensive live discography, how does this album work? Does it provide a fair picture of Adams as a touring artist in the late 1980’s?
The album, which contains seventeen tracks, begins with “She’s Only Love,” and then moves on to “It’s Only Love,” a solo version, and then “Cuts Like A Knife.” The audience at Rock Werchter, which apparently braved rain to see Bryan Adams perform, then is treated to hear a throaty version of “Kids Wanna Rock,” “Hearts on Fire,” and “Take Me Back,” a deep cut from Cuts Like A Knife that was the b-side to the title track single. “The Best Was Yet To Come,” in a rather spare version, is then followed by “Heaven” and “Heat Of The Night.” “Run To You” begins with a surprising introduction, and then “One Night Love Affair” and “Long Gone,” all of which appear to be thematically related songs from Reckless. “Summer Of 69” begins as an audience singalong where the audience, predictably, knows the words to the song, and then “Somebody,” another single from Reckless follows after Adams introduces his band. Some audience cheering follows, after which Bryan Adams provides a three-song encore, which begins with a rocking version of “Walking After Midnight,” then continues with “I Fought The Law,” and then concludes with “Into The Fire.”
If this is the first live album that had been released by Bryan Adams, it shows that five album into his career he was a consummate professional. The album itself is rather generous in its songs performed, yet it is interesting to note that the largest amount of songs appear from Reckless, the next largest collection of songs appear from his most recent album, Into The Fire (not including the Canadian-specific content, though, it must be noted), and then there are two songs from Cuts Like A Knife and two covers. Already even by the late 1980’s, Adams was constructing a public persona in his live tours that played to his hits and most successful songs, including a few less familiar tracks for more devoted fans, and that largely ignored the less successful aspects of his career. It is to be regretted that we do not have any material from the first two albums, but it is rather intriguing to note that even before the heyday of Adams retrospectives that began in the 1990’s that he had already focused his attention on his successful albums and less attention on the work that allowed him to gradually reach that commercial peak.