by Cap’n Realist
After the second straight day of attacks on one of my favorite musicians, I feel it’s important to Make A Stand. These sort of attacks tend to Cut Like a Knife, and though many of you may not be fans, it’s important that he can Depend on Me. I’m not oven going to make this about the fact that the man is charitable and principled, his defense of LGBT rights and the rights of Canadian First Nations citizens are plenty well chronicled. This is about the fulfilling experiences that have been brought into my life through seeing his live shows. He doesn’t have a great singing voice, and that comes through in his recorded music. It also makes his live shows sound just like him. It’s a nice shift from the “who is this singing?” I usually experience when seeing a show, especially a rock show.
In the summer of ’85, a 15 year old realist from the outskirts of Chicago and his 16 year old friends made the 90 minute trip to Alpine Valley Music Theater in beautiful Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The great Bryan Adams was playing with a Euro Band called Cock Robin. Cock Robin was known for their hit song “When Your Heart is Weak” which, as I understand it, continuously plays on a loop in Seymour’s waiting room. I digress. The show itself was fantastic, because as with any rock show, I knew the lyrics and could sing along. I was 15. During that show, I met and made out with a Northwestern co-ed named Carrie (or Kerry, or Cari, or Keri…can’t be sure). Anyway, it was the realist’s first make out sesh, and it was with a college chick. A One Night Love Affair, if you will. One for the ages.
I never saw Carrie again, but saw Bryan Adams twice more in the 80’s. In the 90’s, like Sherm and Brad, I decided I was too cool for Bryan Adams, so I spent my money on Third Eye Blind and Chumbawumba tickets. Fast forward to September 10th, 2001, I met a tall exceptionally attractive woman on a first date in Manhattan Beach, California. We had a great time for the first half hour or so, but then the conversation lagged. She asked what type of music I was into. I couldn’t admit to Chumbawumba at that point, so I muttered “Bryan Adams.” Turns out SHE LOVED THE GUY! The next day was extremely tragic for all of us, but we decided to keep seeing each other. Three months later, we flew to Vegas to see him live at the Paris Casino on New Year’s Eve. I kicked down for 13th row tickets, the best I could afford. The first 12 rows of the venue were completely empty, the usual Vegas garbage of hanging on to the best seats as a thank you for the worst gamblers. After a single song, he stopped the show and asked the ushers to orderly move everyone 12 rows closer. Initially, they refused, and the head of the casino had to come on stage and meet with him before they’d do it…but he steadfastly said that his fans deserved to be close. We ended up in the front row. The following 4th of July I got engaged to that woman, and 15 years later, Bryan Adams’ music is something we still agree on. Unlike 3rd Eye Blind and Chumbawumba, my marriage and Bryan Adams have stood the test of time. Sure it’s cheesy, and the lyrics are bad, but admit it, you know the words.
“I got my first real six string…
You didn’t come here today looking for an All-Star recap, did you?