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Bryan Adams - Unplugged

2008-12-24 09:28
It’s true: before Adams lost his way in the ‘adult contemporary’ aisle at Musica, he was the bee’s knees, the Soft Rocker that Could. It was a long time ago, but listening to this one night in New York, you might just start to believe again.

An acoustic masterclass isn’t about butchering your catalogue, throwing out the furniture and pretending that a bunch of brand new songs somehow relates to your fans. It’s about knowing when to tone it down and when to turn it on.
With high school reunion favourite “Summer of 69” Adams takes his time, preferring a subdued build-up for a song that brings most people to their feet before they realise it’s actually quite a sad tune. And that’s what unplugged is about, right? Shed in unfamiliar light, our favourite songs become fresh again, and we fall in love with them for the second time.

When a little pizazz is called for, he brings in the orchestra (not quite the tired cliché it is today) to make “18 Til I Die” a highlight of an all-round irresistable recording. Magic.

Depending on which version you bought, Unplugged comes with a DVD of the original concert broadcast. While we welcome another layer to the experience, it’s one time warp that doesn’t quite live up to modern standards. No widescreeen, almost non-existent bonus features, menu straight outta ‘91: not a recipe for magical home theatre. Nonetheless, it contains even more of the same wonderful performance, so über fans will want to pay up anyway.

Unplugged is a simple combination: a great performer and his songs. With that much star power, who needs an amplifier?

- Niel Bekker
Aha! Now we have Bryan Adams exactly where we want him. Stuck in 1997, crying for the Summer of 69, while we eat chips and browse Facebook in 2008. Mindfuck? Yes, but also one of the iconic performances in MTV’s long-running Unplugged series.

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