Bryan Adams at Blickling Hall, Norfolk 8/7/22

Words and photos by Mark Stimpson

The National Trust at Blickling Hall have been hosting their summer concerts for the last 20 odd years. There’s something magical about the combination of great music in the grounds of a stately home on a warm summers evening. This is the first such event since the pandemic. There had been a lot of bad press about this event with fans not originally allowed to bring chairs. Thankfully this was overturned a few days before the show.

Bryan Adams is currently touring the UK in support of his latest album – So Happy It Hurts. He’s been on my bucket list for a number of years so for one night only we are transported back to the summer of 69. I left home early to make the short 15 minute drive to Blickling. However, getting into the venue proves to be a Herculean task, the roads are gridlocked and there’s no traffic management. It takes 2 hours to travel just 1 mile. Consequently, I miss the support act, Feeder which makes me a little annoyed. On arrival I’m escorted into the Golden Circle. This is a sectioned off area in front of the stage for those who had paid a little bit more for their tickets. Bang on 8:45, a video played on the giant screen, the crowd fall silent as the unmistakable voice of John Cleese is heard lamenting the demise of rock music and introducing the ‘angel’ who would return it to the world – Bryan Adams. One by one the band walk on stage to huge applause and then Bryan Adams is greeted by an even bigger cheer. We are straight into Kick Ass, from the new album which had everyone dancing. Bryan clearly enjoys what he does announcing to the crowd “We’re very, very happy to be back playing gigs again”, Can’t Stop This Thing We Started and The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You follow in quick succession. Bryan proved to be a bit of a joker when introducing one of his earlier songs, It’s Only Love, he said: “Here’s a song I recorded when I was 24 with the great Tina Turner and tonight…. she’s not here but we have Keith Scott on guitar.” Everyone laughed.

Things were slowed down with an acoustic version of Here I am from Spirit, which was followed by Heaven. The foot is back on the gas with On The Road, then the rockabilly style You Belong To Me. Bryan encourages everyone to make some shapes. A camera at the front of the stage focuses on in on the crowd to pick out the best.

It was phones aloft and singing along to Everything I Do I Do It For You. There was no stopping the crowd as they danced and sung their hearts out – filling in words on classic Adams tracks like Run to You., Summer of ’69 and Cuts Like a Knife. Towards the end of the main set there was a steady stream of people making their exit. I decided that I didn’t fancy another 2 hours getting out so bailed out during the last song and missed the encore. It proved to be a wise decision.

Overall, it was a great performance, Bryan Adams’ voice remains incredibly powerful. He’s a great showman

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Philip Goddard

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