It’s been a couple of weeks since Dar and I got to see Bryan Adams at The MTS Centre and I think I’ve cooled off enough to be able to write this post with some level of objectivity. To put it simply, things did not go as planned and we almost ended up leaving the show in disgust with the way we were treated.
As all of you who read my pages regularly know, I am an avid concert goer. I’ve been attending rock concerts since my early teens when I would have to bicycle to the Memorial Arena in Fort Frances to catch the likes of Teenage Head and Platinum Blonde perform. So I know a thing or two about how a show should be run and how it fails absolutely when it it managed poorly.
As the title alludes the Bryan Adams show can be broken into three distinct sections. For reasons of personal preference, let me begin with the worst of it and allow Bryan to save some face with a review of his performance at the end of the piece.
As I detailed in Meet and Greet Canadian Style: Bryan Adams, Darlene had won a meet and greet package to the show including two prime tickets or so we had thought. Perhaps naively on my part, I went on-line to the Ticketmaster webpage to see what we had won, figuring that if it was a one-off grand prize that there would be a comparable package for sale.
Going into the VIP section of Ticketmaster there was indeed a comparable selection of meet and greet tickets, with a gift package and prime seats! Whoopee we had scored, all we had to do was take my phone with the QR code ticket conformation to the Rogers Wireless window at the MTS Centre and we would be taken care of. Right? WRONG!
As is our usual procedure we arrived early downtown for dinner and to take care of any hiccups along the way leaving plenty of time to relax and enjoy ourselves before the show. We approached event staff, phone in hand eager to get our tickets and head to the secure lower level of the MTS Centre for dinner. Warning bells should have gone off in my head at this point. When we approached event staff they said we had to wait for the Rogers booth to open about one hour before the show but she would be happy to escort us downstairs for dinner.
After having a relaxing dinner we noticed a line was forming at what is typically the meet and greet room, also in the lower level of the MTS. Excitedly we rushed upstairs to redeem our QR code for tickets, gift package and meet and greet. Thankfully the Rogers window had no one waiting at it so we breezed through and talked to the representative behind the glass. Darlene for two I said as I held out the my phone screen opened to the conformation given to us by Rogers. Ah, she said meet and greet? Yes, I replied. She began looking through a pile of folders at her window and found us in the pile. Then she looked puzzled, the QR code made no sense to her, they did not have the equipment to read such an animal. But no worries, we would be taken care of. Darlene stepped in and mentioned a contact name, Joanne she said would know about our win.
So she runs to the back and she and Joanne appear, thus the train-wreck ensues. We are informed by Joanne that apparently we do not have tickets to the event, only meet and greet. We would be escorted back downstairs, this time under heavy suspicion and allowed to meet Mr. Bryan Adams. Two representatives Joanne and the woman who escorted us for dinner then brusquely take us downstairs without allowing us to talk to the gift person or gain access to the main concourse to at least purchase something for Bryan to sign.
The meet and greet is in full swing by this time, the happy VIP’s are chatting away, getting posters and programs signed all the while posing happily for professional pictures. No photography past this point, damn. My mind is spinning, if we are not on the VIP list how are we going to get our pictures? Where is our gift package? Are we even going to be allowed into the show?
Ourselves and another couple who have meet and greet are kept out of the room until the happy few are done with Bryan. He appears ready to leave when our people approach his people. He accepts and we are ushered into the hall, paperless and pen less. I can not fault Bryan for any of this, his conduct was first rate as any Canadian boy’s would be. We chatted briefly and having just seen Roger Waters – The Wall a few weeks before hand, I had to ask him about being part of the Wall in Berlin 1990.
I think this question caught Bryan off guard a bit, but he came back with a surprising answer. “I was terrified, you have to understand that there were a good 250,ooo people out there” he said. “But Roger, is a fucking musical genius, pardon my language.” “He had us all do a full dress rehearsal the night before and recorded it all to a click track to keep in our headsets for the big night.”
The click track he explained were to keep everyone in time and on cue, then the unthinkable happened. The sound went down on the night of the performance but thanks to the recorded rehearsal Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison were able to continue on with the show. “The sound came back up just prior to my performance, so I had to go live” he explained.
Now with only a half hour till showtime we were escorted into the ticket office for more bad news. Meeting with Joanne and Dianne, they explained that we did not win tickets to the show. Beyond wits end I pulled my phone out and showed them the confirmation e-mail. They looked beyond puzzled and eventually gave us what I term “Shut the fuck up tickets” and escorted us to the concourse, no doubt happy to be rid of us.
With five minutes till showtime and no clear recourse Dar and I took our seats in the lower bowl. By this time she was madly texting our contact with 92 CITI fm and he replied with disbelief. “They are dead wrong, I’ll take care of you one way or another” Bubba replied.
Taking our seats we noticed that our row was almost entirely empty, they had just stuck us in a section with available seating to shut us up, I was livid. Had Darlene not wanted to see the show so badly I would have walked out of the joint that instant.
In one way having an aisle seat was nice, it gave me the chance to stretch out my bad leg to give it some relief. However having an empty row also prompted people from the rows behind and in front of us to use our row as a thoroughfare. Forcing me to keep standing up on a throbbing leg or have people jump around me spilling beer on me in the process. All the while having sweaty asses shoved in my face instead of being able to concentrate on the show.
At one point during a selection of Bryan’s ballads I had beer dumped on particularly badly and stormed out in search of a bathroom to clean up. Thankfully there was no line and I got attended to promptly. Attempting to make a horrible situation better I figured that I would grab a couple of t-shirts and maybe a poster for Darlene and I. Once again there was no line up, lucky me, or so I thought. The reason for the sparse line was not that the show was on, it was that there was no merchandise left. Winnipeg was the last show on Bryan’s Canadian tour, apparently no one had thought that Winnipeggers like to spend money at rock concerts too and had neglected to order more merchandise. When I arrived all they had left was a tiny choice of small t-shirts, any one who knows me can see that a small would hardly fit over my head let alone my 200 pound torso.
Yes, believe it or not there were good aspects to this show. However, the complete failure of event staff and merchandising left me so disappointed and outraged that I hardly heard the music for all the complaints in my head.
Being 52 Bryan can still rock out the tunes like a young twenty year old. He brought up two sets of ladies to join him on stage. Angela, a MTS Telephone dispatcher, who did a shy but spirited version of When You’re Gone. Long time fan Darlene (not my Darlene), was scooped up from the floor thanks to a brightly coloured sign, and the boo’s of the crowd when Bryan said he had already had a fan up on stage once in the evening. Darlene got to give Bryan and at his insistance, the rest of the band big hugs and kisses on the cheeks.
All in all he gave a spirited and long performance. 28 songs in total, spanning almost 3 hours of his classic hits. The only really odd thing about his encore is the way it ended with a ballad. All For Love, capped the evening and he simply walked off stage. Strange but I was expecting more for a kicker at the end.
All in all, Bryan gave a solid performance worthy of 4 out of 5 stars. Sadly, the ineptitude of event staff left a sour taste in my mouth. Thankfully CITI fm and Bryan Adams own people helped us rescue our picture from the internet. Without their help we would have not even had that much. Thank you Bubba and Michelle so very much.
Here I Am
Kids Wanna Rock
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven
Hearts on Fire
Do I Have to Say the Words?
18 Til I Die
Back to You
Summer of ’69
If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?)
Touch the Hand
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
Cuts Like a Knife
When You’re Gone
Please Forgive Me
It’s Only Love
Cloud Number 9
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
Run to You
There Will Never Be Another Tonight
Straight from the Heart
All for Love
- Meet and Greet Canadian Style: Bryan Adams (bahbs.wordpress.com)