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A Look Back on Bryan Adams’ Touring History in Ireland

Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and guitarist, Bryan Adams, is set to return to Belfast’s SSE Arena on February 25th for his Shine A Light tour ahead of the release of his fourteenth studio album Shine A Light.

With innumerable number one singles and awards (including a Grammy) Adams has earned international status as a rock artist. Some of his best known hits include  ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’, ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’ and ‘Heaven’.

Active since 1975 and touring since 1980, Adams has made a fair few stops in Ireland over the years, around 36 according to data on Setlist.fm. His show in SSE Arena will be (approximately) his 37th show in Ireland and his eighth in Belfast.

I’ve had a look back on some highlights of the Canadian rocker’s rich history of touring in Ireland.

1985

Adams had been touring extensively in Canada, the USA and parts of Europe since 1980. Following the release of his fourth studio album Reckless he joined Tina Turner in 1985 for the European leg of her Private Dancer tour which included shows at Dublin’s RDS and Belfast’s Queen’s University – Adams’ first performances in the cities.

According to AXS, Adams has credited Turner for “jump-starting” his music career. Adams, in an interview with The Aquarian admitted “I’ll be forever grateful to her for taking me on tour with her in Europe after that because it broke the album,” Reckless went on to sell over 12 million copies worldwide and was certified platinum five times.

1987

Two years later Adams returned to Belfast and Dublin for his “Into The Fire” tour. He did two nights in Dublin’s RDS and one show in Belfast’s Mayfield Leisure Centre.

Adams joined the ranks of some of the world’s most famous artists who played in the Mayfield Leisure Centre such as Bob Dylan, Meat Loaf, Madness and U2. According to The Irish News “Bob Dylan famously played an entire Maysfield concert with his back to the audience and hood over his head.” and in 1982 U2’s “first airing of the band’s song Sunday Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland.”

1991

In 1991 Adams played in a Northern Ireland venue that might be surprising to some nowadays – the Dundonald Ice Bowl! This was part of Adams three year ‘Waking Up the World’ tour following his 1991 album Waking Up The Neighbours.

Peter McGuigan among other attendees reported having cold feet at the gig – Stood on the ground floor. Feet were like two blocks of ice. Great gig. Happy days”

One attendee at the Dundonald concert reported to GiggingNI It coincided with Everything I Do being Number 1 for the 16th week. The following week U2 ousted it to Number 4 in the charts.”

In fact, at Adams last show in Belfast back in 2016, he praised Belfast fans for their gusto at singing ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’ After playing the song and remembering the Dundonald Ice Bowl show Adams remarked to the crowd “As I was playing that song, all I could remember was the first time I played it in Belfast, and how loud you sang back in 1991/1992,” Adams affirmed that “No matter where I’ve played it, it’s never been bettered.”

1992

Adams joined one hell of a lineup for the Féile Festival at Semple Stadium in Tipperary in 1992. This festival was referred to fondly as “The Tripp to Tipp” and in 1992 saw Adams performing alongside Christy Moore, Primal Scream, PJ Harvey, Simply Red, The Saw Doctors, David Byrne and James, among others.

Féile Festival 1992 – Copyright Shane McDonald

Photographer and blogger Shane McDonald recounted his memories of the festival to Joe.ie:

“My memories of Féile are certainly varied. The weather was showery and I recall it lashing down as Christy Moore went on. I also recall many drunk people at the festival, at one point I thought I was walking on a riser but it was a drunk person under my foot – frightening. Extreme were amazing and I recall the discoball-like outfits of Shakespears Sister. I also remember, as the photo proves, the “Peig” notice on the big screen. There was also the countdown to Bryan Adams’ arrival on stage.”

“The big screen had a few messages,” Shane also mentioned “for example, ‘Bryan Adams has just landed at Dublin Airport’.”

1994 – 2000

Between 1994 and 2000 Adams returned to Ireland a number of times with shows including Dublin’s RDS, Point Theatre and Slane Castle.

One review from The Irish Times in 1996 mentions INFLATABLE underwear, orgasms, marriage proposals and a basic rock `n’ roll blueprint were just some of the elements on display at Bryan Adams’s concert last night.” See a photo from the The Point Depot show in Dublin here.

2001

Adams first show in the Maiden City and only Irish show in 2001 took place at Prehen Playing Fields.

According to The Irish Times it was “the biggest open-air gig ever held in the area” However, apparently when Adams arrived “army bomb experts were busy examining suspect devices under the city’s busiest bridges, one of which turned out to be 140 pounds of home-made explosive.”

“”I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get here,” said the Groover from Vancouver, who belted out an impressive number of hits for over an hour. His inoffensive brand of rock delighted the crowds, before a triumphant fireworks display signalled the end of what is hoped will be the first of many major rock gigs on this football pitch by the Foyle.” – The Irish Times

2005

In addition to my first (ever) concert at Odyssey Arena (now The SSE Arena) Adams also performed a number of other shows in Ireland in 2005 including his first gig in Cork at the Green Glens Arena and two shows at Dublin’s Point Theatre.

2006 – 2010

In four years Adams played a large number of shows across the island of Ireland including: Galway (2006), Belfast (2006 and 2010), Dublin (2006 and 2010), Killarney (2010), Castlebar (2010) and Derry (2010).

2011 – 2018

Between 2011 and 2018 Adams played 11 shows across Ireland including shows in Cork and Westport. GiggingNI covered his Get Up! tour show back in 2016 at the SSE Arena.

The passion for his craft has not waned throughout all his years working at it. Declaring how “The intangible thing called music has brought us all here tonight and I can’t thank you enough. Music is magic and what we did tonight is magic.” he leaves his audience awe-struck as he then dives into another early track “Straight From The Heart””

Present

Adams hasn’t stopped since he started back in 1975 and there’s no sign of him slowing down any time soon.

His latest tour precedes his next album Shine A Light but here’s hoping his upcoming return to Belfast’s SSE Arena on February 25th will give a few tasters of what’s to come (we already know that he collaborated with Ed Sheeran on his ‘Shine A Light’ single.)

The SSE Arena, Belfast > Bryan Adams – Feb 25th > Tickets