One of the best-selling music artists of all-time, Bryan Adams has a long, extensive history in Rock-n-Roll. Initially getting his start at the young age of sixteen as the lead vocalist for the band Sweeny Todd, by the time Adams was nineteen he was already on his way to a successful solo career. A journey as a solo artist that began with 1980’s self-titled release, in the years to follow featured mega successful records including 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife, 1984’s Reckless, 1987’s Into The Fire, along with 1991’s Waking Up the Neighbours. All albums which peaked at the top of the charts all over the world, there is no denying the impact of Adams’ music.
Continuing on through the decades with more success, in all, Adams has put out fifteen studio albums, including 2022’s So Happy It Hurts. Highly impressive, beyond his studio works, he has also built quite a reputation as a stellar live performer. Putting on sets that are lively and memorable, the live album catalog of Adams includes 1988’s top selling Live! Live! Live!, 1997’s distinctive MTV Unplugged, but also 2013’s Live at Sydney Opera House. All together he put out six live albums through to 2017’s Wembley 1996… however in 2023 he compiled perhaps his most ambitious live collection to date for release.
Providing some insight, Adams has performed at many venues around the globe; from intimate theaters and Opera Houses, to stadiums. Showcasing varying elements on several of his live album releases (including 2003’s Live at the Budokan and 2010’s Bare Bones), for his latest collection Adams puts together records from his three nights at London’s famous The Royal Albert Hall. A billing that took place back in 2022, Adams headlined performances where he played one of his classic albums in their entirety on a different night. For example, night 1 he played Into The Fire, night 2 he played Cuts Like a Knife, and finally, night 3 he played Waking up The Neighbours. Each offering something a bit different, initially the Cuts Like A Knife live records were released digitally back in February of 2023 for fans to check out. The other two live sets were saved for release on December 8th digitally, but also packaged as a complete box set put out through BMG.
A factor that should intrigue fans, the box set includes all three nights at The Royal Albert Hall and is available either pressed to vinyl or CD. Both compelling, depending on your physical format preference, they both also include a Blu-Ray of the captured video of each performance. Discussing this further, the visual is crisp (presented in black & white for Into The Fire and Cuts Like a Knife, but color for Waking Up The Neighbours), the angles shot are solid, and vibes captured are delightful. Here you get to witness Adams and his band move smoothly through each album all while enjoying themselves in the process. And while the opening two nights feature the band playing alone and absent of an audience, it only adds to the excitement that on night three a plausible energy is felt between the musicians and crowd.
In total, the sets include 35 songs covering all three albums (on either 3 CDs or 4 LPs), the discussed Blu-ray, but also a lovely 32-page photo book which features exclusive images from the three nights. Very well put together, the presentation and physical quality is excellent, matching the superb audio and video quality. Adding it all up, if you are a fan of Bryan Adams this set is really a worthy addition to your collection in either format, because it is more than just live performances… it is encapsulating key points in his career worth revisiting.
Now in 2024, Adams continues to tour the world in support of the 2022 album So Happy It Hurts with dates lined up in the US, Mexico, and Europe. Interestingly enough, come May, Adams will return to The Royal Albert Hall for three more evenings; this time to perform 1996’s 18 Til I Die, 1984’s Reckless, and So Happy It Hurts. Rather cool, you would have to believe there is a very real possibility of another lineup of live albums to follow. Until then, Cryptic Rock recommends the Live At The Royal Albert Hall box set, giving it 5 out of 5 stars.