Review: Bryan Adams in Dalby Forest

I’ve been a massive Bryan Adams fan since the 80s and he’s one of the few artists that fall in the centre of Dave and I’s musical Venn diagram. More importantly though, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is one of my all-time favourite films, therefore Everything I Do (I do It for you) and the associated video hold a very soft spot in my heart. Needless to say, then with all that considered that when I found out Bryan Adams was performing a series of summer gigs in forests all over the country it was as if we were finally getting a opportunity to recreate that music video with the main man himself. Fingers tightly crossed that Kevin Costner makes a guest appearance!

Bryan Adams was performing as part of the Forest Live series which is an annual event combining great music in a unique atmosphere. We chose to attend Dalby Forest, in the absence of a gig being available in actual Sherwood Forest (missed a trick there) as it’s just outside of York and only an hour away on the train from us. Forest Live events aren’t only about the music though as they also lean heavily on environmental sustainability and the proceeds from these gigs support forestry projects.

We had the option when we booked our tickets to pay for a coach to take us from central York to Dalby Forest which we took advantage of. I was a little worried when I saw pick up from York was 4pm and I was sure the big man wouldn’t come on until at least 8.30pm so that was going to be a long wait in the middle of nowhere potentially spending a fortune of food and drink to keep us occupied. So, it was a relief to see that you’re able to take your own drinks (no more than a litre each of soft or alcoholic drinks) and your own pic nic food. So that’s exactly what we did.

In hindsight I’m pleased the pickup was 4pm because it took almost three hours to make the 60 minute journey from central York out to Dalby Forest, largely thanks to the one way system inside the forest and standstill traffic for hour and hour and a half. We probably sat down in the field at about 6.45pm just as the first support act was finishing. I won’t go into the support acts, mainly because they were pretty dire, just pumping some low level 80s tunes would have been much better in my opinion. Anyway, he came on at about 9pm by which point we’d packed up our stuff moved further forward, almost in the VIP area actually and our view was spectacular.

Now, believe me when I say that it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a really long time. Everything just fell perfectly into place; the weather, the venue, the set list and crowd all made for a really fun time. Bryan himself sounds absolutely amazing. You often hear older 80s stars singing now and their voices are completely gone (ahem Jim Kerr ahem) but Bryan was pitch perfect, hit every big note and really sounded on top of his game.

There was a great balance of fan favourites and some newer stuff but it really felt like he was just playing what he wanted – there was a lovely tribute to Tina Turner by weaving in Simply the Best and What’s Love Go to Do With It into his duet with her; It’s Only Love. Other standouts for me where Can’t Stop This Thing We Started, a more upbeat version of Heaven, Cloud Number 9 (which I don’t think I’ve heard him sing live before) and of course, my all-time favourite Everything I Do (I Do It For You). It’s just a shame he never caught sight of my t-shirt in the crowd.

Needless to say I have proper concert come down now and this is probably the closest I will ever get to going to a festival now that I’m well into my 40s and being the princess that I am. But if this is what 40 something festivals are like; taking your own litres of wine, picky tea from Aldi, a sharing bag of Frazzles and Bryan Adams sounded better than he ever has before, then sign me up for more!

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