Five years ago, Filipino rock/metal fans had to choose which act to see on Feb. 18–Bryan Adams or Lamb Of God. These few fans, flabbergasted as they were, were given an easier choice when word spread that the “Heaven” singer-songwriter had canceled what would’ve been his third visit to Manila, leading them straight to the World Trade Center to chant along with vocalist Randy Blythe to “Walk With Me In Hell” instead. At the end of the night, a pact was brought forth that once Adams set a new date for his Manila show, they would be right at the front lines.
On Wednesday (Jan. 18), these metalheads stayed true to their promise and blended right in with an intergenerational audience, ready to sing (and cry) their hearts out with the master of power ballads, whose cover art for his latest record Get Up watched over the SMART Araneta Coliseum. Adams’s eyes would move from left to right, surprising a few members of the audience staring at the screen. At one point, the overhead music was interrupted by a ringtone, making a few guffaw as Adams’s image on screen suddenly raised an iPhone to silence the call.
Donning matching black suits, Adams and his 4-piece band ran up the stage and opened the night with “Do What You Gotta Do,” ripping through the first five songs of his 29-song setlist just for the 7-stop SE Asia Get Up 2017 Tour. An eruption of screams welcomed “Heaven,” and Adams lifted his mic stand into the air, letting the audience beautifully take the first verse, before laying his own vocals for the chorus. The 57-year-old singer, with his blond hair slicked back and his charming grin on throughout the 2.5-hour show, was in high spirits, as he urged his Filipino audience to sing louder, telling them how beautiful they sounded.
The crisp tones of lead guitarist Keith Scott, pulse of drummer Mickey Curry, low strings of bassist Richard Jones, and tickling keys of keyboardist Gary Breit were brought to life wonderfully by Adams’s excellent engineer. The overall mix was easy on the ears and the visuals (some of which, were pulled from official music videos) on screen were also fun to watch.
Lights dimmed when the band took a break on “Here I Am,” “Let’s Make a Night to Remember,” “When You’re Gone,” and returned for the epic, chart-topping Robin Hood theme “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” Adams then searched the audience for a “wild woman,” to dance through “If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good.” He found one, young and pretty, swaying her hips to the George Thorogood-inspired groove, as the audience gazed at her from the screen behind Adams.
Finally, it was time for the Canadian singer to perform his “most requested song,” which was requested on Twitter fourteen times by the same person, he joked. But in all sincerity, Adams confessed, “I love it when you sing,” as he opened “Please Forgive Me,” slaying the audience with more feelings to last them a lifetime.
Adams ended the night with “All For Love,” singing solo with his acoustic guitar to a sea of lights under the Dome. He made his exit from the stage and left the audience in the dark just before the lights turned back on. There was a certain air that lingered, leaving the audience hoping that it won’t take another 24 years until the singer-songwriter returns to Philippine shores.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Wilbros Live