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Adams, Bryan: Wembley 1996 Live
With the DVD version of this now legendary show at Wembley in 1996 released in October of last year, the 2 CD audio only version now becomes available. With many live albums these days coming with both audio and visual options together in one package, just how much a Bryan Adams fan really needs this set is open to debate and for any prospective new purchasers, well, the DVD is now cheaper than the CD…
Putting all that to one side, this show is a doozy, Adams trawling through his, to date, entire catalogue to cherry pick a set that not only pleases the near 60,000 in attendance but has them singing, cheering and whooping along in a way that hugely enhances the whole experience. Even if you are sitting at home and listening some 21 years down the line. The balance between on stage sound and audience participation struck in a way most live albums fail to do. Interestingly for a lapsed Adams-ite like me, the stark difference between the early, Jim Vallance co-write years and the latter Mutt Lange infused rock-pop sheen, is even greater than I remembered. The Def Leppard-isms (well, in truth they are Lange-isms, but he gave them to the Defs first) clear to hear as we strut, riff and pout through "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You", "It Ain't A Party If You Can't Come Round" or "All For Love". Personally I lost my way with the Canadian's output around this time and while the blatant double entendres become more singular ("I Wanna Be Your Underwear"?? Bleeeeeurch, no you don't!) the quality remains remarkably high. However, for an old(ish) fogey like me, there's no denying that it's the likes of "Kids Wanna Rock", "Cuts Like A Knife", "Summer Of '69" and the show closing "Heaven" that still hit home hardest, even if some of the added keyboard parts bring little to the original arrangements. Adams also maintaining the standard as he rocks out some radio staple covers in the shape of "Wild Thing" and "I Fought The Law".
The man himself is in stunning vocal form, his easy but committed delivery still one of his most endearing features, while a duet with Melissa Etheridge (who was the support act on the tour) allows the young lady to reveal her inner Tina Turner on "It's Only Love", as she threatens to steal the show. Add in a consummate arena backing band and there's little doubt that Adams fans young and old, and even sniffier rock fans (a little like me!), will suddenly remember just what a potent force this man has been for over 30 years now.
It's testament to just how involving a live show this double CD release reveals, that for the first time in many a year I've been tempted back to albums that regularly accompanied my youth in the shape of Cuts Like A Knife, Into The Fire and the incomparable Reckless. I may even be cajoled into Waking Up The Neighbours… Either way, Wembley 1996 Live is an excellent live release and one that finds a much underrated, even derided as a 'cash in' by some, rock performer right at the peak of his powers.
1. The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
2. Do To You
3. Kids Wanna Rock
4. Can't Stop This Thing We Started
5. This Time
6. 18 'Til I Die
7. Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?
8. Touch The Hand
9. Cuts Like A Knife
10. It's Only Love
12. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
1. Run To You
2. There Will Never Be Another Tonight
3. Seven Nights To Rock
4. I Wanna Be Your Underwear
5. Wild Thing
6. It Ain't A Party (If You Can't Come 'Round)
7. She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
8. Summer Of '69
9. All For Love
10. Let's Make A Night To Remember
11. I Fought The Law
Added: July 1st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bryan Adams online
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