Setlist History: Bryan Adams Kicks Off '81 Tour with Live Debuts

Bryan Adams was a mere 22 years old in 1981 but had already released his second album,You Want It You Got It, which made it to #3 on the US Album Rock Tracks chart.

Not bad for a lad from Kingston, Ontario, Canada with a writing partner from Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Recorded at the Power Station in New York, keyboardist Tommy Mandel told Goldmine it was the beginning of something special, especially while being guided by the experienced hands of producer/engineer Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie).

“It was just us in there, playing the tunes, with Bryan singing live," he recalled. "That’s something that didn’t change through the following albums: Cuts Like a Knife, Reckless, and for a while, Into the Fire. Just five kids in a room playing these cool songs, making up parts that seemed right, and having a surprising amount of fun. Then Bob Clearmountain would say either, 'Do another one' or 'Come on in and listen' and when we did, it sounded good. Bob had this way of pacing: Over to move the mic on an amp or a cymbal, with his trademark head-down concentration.”

The first single, "Lonely Nights," got the ball rolling and a few years later was covered by Uriah Heep pretty nicely.

"Lonely Nights" was the second single from the Heep's '83 LP, Head First.

Even though the recordings could sometimes feel a little too-radio friendly, Adams could bring some edge to his schoolboy looks.

On October 27, 1981 he and his band performed at the legendary El Mocambo tavern near the lively Kensington Market in Toronto.

The 600 capacity El Mocambo had been around since the 1850s but it gained worldwide notoriety in the '70s when The Rolling Stones popped their heads in the joint and fell in love with the place. Recently they even released a live album from their visit in '77.

Blues legends loved stopping by the El Mocambo when they cruised through TO back in the day. Fats Domino, Willie Dixon and even Tom Waits have played there multiple times.

In the fall of '81 El Mocambo hosted Duran Duran, Echo & The Bunnymen, and King Crimson before Bryan Adams rocked the joint to kick off his tour in support of You Want It You Got It.

Three songs got their live debut that night. "Tonight," "Don't Look Now," and the set closer "Fits Ya Good," which wound up being his first Top 40 single on the Canadian charts.

You Want It, "was recorded and mixed in NYC in just 2 weeks with Bob Clearmountain," Adams said on his Facebook page on the album's 35th anniversary. "This record was to define my sound for the next decade, some of the songs I still occasionally play live today."

Six years later let's see how that holds up.

Of the 20+ albums Adams has released, You Want It, You Got It, is not in the top 10 of albums he taps from. Which, to be fair, is understandable. His huge hits came off his next album.

And of the songs he has played the most off that '81 record, "Lonely Nights" and "Fits Ya Good" are still songs you might hear at a current Bryan Adams show.

Speaking of, beginning in November, Adams will play in the UAE, South Africa and Greece. Get your tickets through his website.

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Last updated: 16 Apr 2024, 01:12 Etc/UTC