REVIEW: Bryan Adams at Lytham Festival

Photo Neil Cross
Bryan Adams at Lytham Festival
Photo Neil Cross Bryan Adams at Lytham Festival

Give it a few days and there’ll be the odd dog walker roaming happily on Lytham Green, and little else.

The grass may be a little worn, the odd beer bottle will be trodden into the earth, a ticket stub down a nearby drain.

Photo Neil Cross
Bryan Adams at Lytham Festival

Photo Neil Cross Bryan Adams at Lytham Festival

But this serene piece of land will be back to normal, almost, to regain its peaceful charm.

However, once a year, a monolith takes over and this dog walking mecca takes on a whole new persona.

Take out the pin and stick it firmly in the map, Lytham Festival has well and truly arrived.

After a week of star names, fringe gigs and countless pounds into the local economy, the bar was raised with its first sell-out gig, Bryan Adams.

If this was the moment Lytham Festival was to make its mark, it needed a big name, and it needed him to reach that bar and lift it further.

By 10.10pm on Saturday night, 29 songs down and loving every minute, this 56-year-old from Ontario, Canada had charmed his way into the hearts of the packed crowd with a mixture of singalong-friendly anthems and tender, acoustic driven balladry.

Time has not weakened his gravelly-voiced power, smashing through Can’t Stop This Thing We Started and Run to You to kick off in style.

But then the momentum slipped, albeit momentarily, before Summer of 69 stoked the fires once again as the light faded.

Baby When You’re Gone was an unexpected acoustic highlight, before an earlier than expected Everything I Do I Do It For You had the modern day lighters, mobile phones, out aplenty and a lubricated crowd feeling all nostalgic to times of Robin Hood

and 16 weeks at the top of the charts.

His undoubted songwriting was showcased in both raw form, alone on stage, and in full-on mode, Somebody and 18 Til I Die the rocky highlights of the pre-encore section.

Brand New Day was a fine choice, as was All Shook Up, a cover which reignited a crowd determined to not let the spectacle pass them by.

But there were tender moments too - dedicating one song to Blackpool war hero Rick Clement, who the singer photographed for his book Wounded: The Legacy Of War, and with whom he was later photographed after the show with partner Hannah - and making the day or probably the life, of ‘Rachel’, a boogying lady in yellow down the front.

Another acoustic section was the finale, a lovely She Knows Me setting up All for Love for the obligatory battery-powered sea of light among the appreciative audience.

It was mutual too - Adams genuinely moved on occasion by the crowd’s reactions.

Twenty years and 11 days earlier (July 1996 to help you out) Adams had played his second show to 70,000 people at Wembley. After Noel Gallagher had catapulted Lytham Festival into the big league, 20 years on from his own career-defining shows at Knebworth, Adams duly made it a worthy title contender.

What a week. Triumphant.

ANDY SYKES