CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With some spotlights, a smoke machine, a guitar, a harmonica and a pianist, Bryan Adams returned to the Clay Center last night on his "Bare Bones Tour."
Adams opened with the 1984 hit "Run to You," which set the mood for a lively evening. The singer-songwriter has a somewhat sarcastic wit and took time in between numbers to joke with his audience. However, some members of the audience took this as leeway to shout things at the stage, as if they sat in their living rooms in front of the television.
At one point, early in the show, while the house lights were slightly up, Adams made a point of chastising one fan in particular who had yet to relinquish his grip on his cellphone. Adams joked that the man had better be texting Adams himself. He then advised the fan to "put the phone away and be present in the moment, man."
The audience twittered nervously, but did not put away the absolute plethora of cell phones and cameras that littered the auditorium and detracted from others' enjoyment of the show.
Even with all the distractions, the all-acoustic show did not disappoint Adams' fans. After 30 years of writing, singing and touring, Adams still has a voice that sounds like it is coming straight out of the radio. He crooned his way through well-loved power ballads like "I Do It for You," "Heaven" and "All for Love," leaving fans, literally, careening down the aisles after an invitation "to get wild in here."
As he rocked through "Summer of 69" and "The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me is You," fans pressed up against the stage, singing along with his every word as Adams good-naturedly played to the crowd.
Overall, the music was stellar, even better than expected. Adams and his pianist Gary Bright are consummate musicians and played flawlessly throughout the evening. However, the crowd itself was entirely distracting and -- sadly -- that took away from the enjoyment of the show.
As Adams so thoughtfully and succinctly put it, "Live in the moment." If you pay that kind of money to go see a concert, shouldn't you take that time to enjoy it instead of bonding with your electronics?
Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopk...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.