Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two feet from Bryan Adams

Dressed in a black T-shirt, dark jeans and black boots, Bryan Adams took the stage at Toad’s Place in New Haven Monday night.

“This will be a little bit like watching me in my living room,” he said, armed only with a guitar and a harmonica, “except, a lot stinkier.”

The famous venue didn’t smell familiar when he walked in, he said, even though someone had told him he may have played there before.

“I think I’d remember a place called ‘Toad,’” he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd of 96.5 WTIC radio listeners and select members of the press.

Adams made a stop in New Haven as part of his intimate “11 days in 11 cities” tour promoting his new CD “11,” coming out in stores May 14.

“We love you, Brian!” a group of women shouted between two songs.
“What was that?” he asked, while tuning his second guitar.
“We love you, Brian!”

Perhaps the yellow lights made Adams hot, or else he was blushing. He definitely seemed to enjoy the intimacy of Toad’s Place.

From “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” to “Cuts Like a Knife,” the crowd was eagerly singing along to each tune. Adams ran through “Heaven,” “Oxygen,” “Run To You” and “Walk On By.” Requests were shouted out, and he tried to please the crowd as best he could.

“It’s not the right time yet,” he said when a group in the center of the dance floor requested “Summer of ’69.” But they got what they wanted 20 minutes later when the famous chords of the ’80s tune filled the room and got the masses moving.

Adams declined to play other suggestions, saying they were “band songs” and that he wouldn’t be able to pull them off by himself.

“I can try it,” he said about “Kids Wanna Rock” from his “Reckless” album, and then began strumming on his guitar. After completing it successfully, he added, “I made up some new words in that version. It’s the 2008 version. You’ll find the new words on my web site tomorrow.”

Adams didn’t have to do it all alone, however. Halfway through the 90-minute set, his old friend and drummer Mickey Curry stepped up to join him. Curry, a New Haven native who now lives in Guilford, said he used to play Toad’s “a bunch of times” in the 1970s with Scratch Band. Curry has also played with Hall & Oates, Cher, Tina Turner, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Elvis Costello.

Between two songs, Adams pulled a digital camera from his back pocket and started snapping photos of Curry on the drums.

“I’ve been around for a long time,” he said. “You may think I look young, but underneath this façade is an old fart.”

After Curry left the stage, Adams ended the set with “Please Forgive Me,” a slow rock ballad from 1993.

He made a brief stop on the floor to hug his friend Curry good-bye. He then headed out to his tour bus, where two pies of New Haven pizza were waiting for him.

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