Bryan Adams at Bught Park, Inverness.

While waiting for our favourite Canadian to hit the stage (15 minutes late, hardly registering on the Axl Rose Spectrum) I heard the following conversation:

“So, is this the biggest gig in Inverness this year?”.
“Yes. Well, until Olly Murs next week”.

Olly may have youth on his side, but Bryan Adam’s back catalogue takes some beating. The band walked out, resplendent in black blazers and jeans, and gave a statement of intent from the off – “Do what you gotta do”, “Can’t stop this thing we started” and “Go down rockin’” were all in the first handful of songs. Here’s a band that do what it says on the can.

And the hits just kept on coming. “Heaven”, ”This Time”, “It’s only love” – sadly minus Tina Turner, but plus a barnstorming solo from sheared guitarist Keith Scott. Adams had obviously thought about this set-list – not only did he skilfully weave the ballads with the rockers, but was I the only one to notice that the ninth song was “Cloud Number 9”… and the eighteenth song was “18 til I die”?? Maybe so… Then, after an acoustic “When you’re gone” – not only minus Mel C, but minus the band – there is a very quiet introduction…

“Alright..” says Bryan, a pause and then, “Look into my eyes…”. With a tune as huge as “(Everything I do) I do it for you”, an artist can treat it as a defining career moment, and leave it for second encore; alternatively, he can see it as a noose around his neck and deconstruct The Hit so that it’s barely recognisable. Adams placed it mid-set, and played it dead straight. Fruit-based ‘cigarette lighters’ were raised around the Bught and couples of all ages hugged each other a little tighter.

And still there’s no dip in quality. “Somebody”, “Please Forgive Me”, “Cuts like a knife” and “The only thing that looks good on me is you” all followed. Encores were inevitable but interesting – a couple of old rockers, “C’mon Everybody” and “All Shook Up” preceding a chugging version of “You’re just too good to be true” (maybe for his mother, in the wings?) and the brand new “Brand New Day”.

The band departed but BA returned for three more acoustic numbers, ending with that other soundtrack hit “All for Love”. An hour and forty minutes, twenty-six songs – all killer, no filler.

Does Olly Murs have a hard act to follow next week? You know it’s true…

Images of the Bryan Adams in Inverness can be found here.