Back when he was 15 years old growing up in Vancouver, Bryan Adams made a decision to play guitar and drop out of school.
And then he went one step further and asked his mom to take the $1,000 saved for his post-secondary education and buy a new piano so he could learn how to play it.
A risky decision about his future at best, but on Friday night as he stood on stage before a sold-out Prospera Place in Kelowna, he talked about the surreal experience he felt to be standing there at age 63 embracing the love and affection of an audience that has grown up with his music, which has led him to a life of fame and fortune probably beyond his wildest dreams back in those teenage years.
“I think I made the right decision,” he laughed.
Adams is on the tail end of his cross-Canada tour that began in Prince Edward Island in August and wraps up with his final concert in Vancouver on Saturday night.
But for his Okanagan Valley fans, who’ve had the opportunity to see him in concert numerous times over his career, he game them one more performance to remember, fittingly on Remembrance Day.
Beginning with the opening number Kick Ass, Adams emptied his catalogue of hits dating back over the past 40-plus years – Somebody, Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, Heaven, It’s Only Love, The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You, 18 Till I Die, Summer of ‘69, When You’re Gone, Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?, Run To You.
He added a new wrinkle to interacting with his fans by asking the crowd to pick a song for him to sing, leading him to perform Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? and Cuts Like A Knife.
Adams was supported by a five-man band led by long-time lead guitarist Keith Scott, a giant video screen and a floating balloon car circling above the crowd, representing the feature element, an old convertible, of the video for his latest single So Happy It Hurts from the album of the same name.
He ended the night with his signature concert encore closer Straight From The Heart, one of the first songs he ever composed dating back to 1978.
“I don’t remember much else from that year but I did write this song,” he said.
Given Friday being Remembrance Day, Adams also pulled out a song from his Into The Fire album, called Remembrance Day, giving a shout-out to the veterans and adding his belief that war is never a solution to the global concerns we face today.
“War is never the answer,” he said.