Rock singer Bryan Adams brings his Get Up Tour to Israel.
(photo credit: PR)
Bryan Adams has never been one to court controversy… not even when he’s on the way to the center of controversy, Israel.
Over the course of a four-decade career, the 58-year-old Canadian allaround nice guy has embodied the term “meat and potatoes” arena rock, the kind of memorable guitar based romps that sound great on the radio.
You can just imagine Roger Waters sitting down in his bunker getting ready to peel off another one of his self-righteous diatribes – this one cajoling Adams to cancel his upcoming shows in Tel Aviv on December 4 and 5 and in Jerusalem on December 6. But, with “Run to You” or “Summer of ‘69” or any number of Adams’s classic riff magnets playing in the background, Waters forgoes the task to jump on his desk and play along to the song with air guitar, momentarily having forgotten about Palestinian suffering.
That’s the charm Adams possesses, whether its rockers like “Cuts Like a Knife” or “Somebody” or his more shmaltzy balladry, epitomized by “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” and “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” Cursed – or blessed – with a voice, demeanor and similar writing and performing style to another workingclass rocker, Adams has always worked in the shadow of Bruce Springsteen and other heartland tunesmiths, from Tom Petty to John Mellencamp.
Maybe his songs weren’t as meaty, his lyrics more basic, and his tendency to veer towards the middle of road with romantic, but toothless movie soundtrack fare has damaged his rock cred. Not to mention his altrock cred. With a name one letter away from grungy indie hero Ryan Adams, it has caused some confusion for both artists. Adams has been on the receiving end of Bryan bashing over the years from Ryan, especially when fans called out for “Summer of ‘69” at the latter’s shows.
But that hasn’t prevented him from running up a string of hit singles, stadium anthems and gold records throughout his career that has weathered the MTV era, the collapse of record sales and the marginalization of guitar rock.
After cutting his teeth in Canadian bands for a few years in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Adams teamed up with songwriter Jim Vallance, and their partnership resulted in 1983’s solo debut Cuts Like a Knife, which made him a star in the US. The next year’s album Reckless made him a superstar.
Over the years, Adams has become more well known for his songs used in films, but his innate ability to write a catchy rock tune has never dissipated. And despite whatever middle of the road aberrations he’s made, he’s also responsible for one of the all-time great rock & roll malefemale duets (with the Spice Girls’ Mel C) on “When You’re Gone,” which on its merits alone grants him lifetime free entrance to executive men’s room at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Adams’s shows in Israel – at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv and the Payis Arena in Jerusalem – are part of his worldwide Get Up Tour, which began in June.
Reviewing a show earlier this month in Zagreb, Total Croatia News touted his good-natured enthusiasm and his back-to-basics approach to performing: “Here was a wellrehearsed band doing what they did best: no need for all the frills… With a huge back catalogue, the set list offered up a huge variety. [Adams] skillfully weaved old and new, ballad and rocking, acoustic and electric.”
Adams’s arrival in Israel is a decade late. In 2007, he was scheduled to headline two major concerts in Tel Aviv with Israeli support acts and in Jericho with Palestinian support acts, under the auspices of the OneVoice NGO. The organization ultimately canceled the shows due to security concerns in Jericho.
Adams’s more recent connection with Israel also wasn’t quite positive.
In August 2014, he tweeted his criticism of Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, citing the “annexation of the Palestinians” and “crimes against humanity.”
You’d figure that he’d be lowhanging fruit for Waters and his henchmen, but either Adams has since educated himself about the nuances of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle or has reconciled himself with performing for “occupiers.”
His fans don’t seem to care – both Tel Aviv shows are sold out, and as of press time, only a few tickets remained for Jerusalem. And even those naysayers, who always thought Adams wasn’t hip enough, have come around to appreciate his ability to create lasting music.
Witness Ryan Adams, who ended up honoring his namesake a couple of years ago by performing a touching version of “Summer of ‘69” in a Los Angeles concert. Talents like Bryan Adams will always win out.