"Is there anybody out there?"
(Bryan Adams, Ístersund, Sweden July 31st 1999, 00.40 AM).

By Robert Eckeryd

Answer: yes about 25000 people actually, which was the vast majority, in the end causing both a one night record, and a total audience record for the yearly festival in Ístersund. A lot of people came, without a doubt, quite a distance from different parts of Sweden and Norway to see Bryan.

They saw him open with the both lyrically and musically perfect opener "How Do You Feel Tonight", a song which also works very well live. After this medium speed rocker followed quicker tunes like "Back To You", "Summer Of '69" and "It's Only Love" before Bryan layed down the bass and picked up an acoustic guitar for a stripped down "Everything I Do", which should perhaps have been considered for the "Unplugged" album. A good, rocking "Getaway" then followed, which just as its predessors worked surprisingly well, considering being performed only by three guys. After a quite stripped down "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman", it was time to raise the speed considerably again with another great live adaption, this time of "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" which just like "How Do You Feel Tonight" would find a good place on a live album. Its rocking side came through much better than on the album. As usual, a few more rockers/old hits like "Cuts Like A Knife" and "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" then followed, and finally the encores, Blues Jam/Cloud #9/Run To You/Somebody before it was time to say "bye" after some 95 minutes.

How did the crowd "feel tonight"/participate then? Not completely satisfactory according to Bryan, and yes I have been in better crowds. Perhaps some of the reported Scandinavian cold (the opposite to south-european temper) showed, but more likely since it was a festival a lot of people weren't fans (but a certain amount of them could well have become fans!). Still, Bryan should come to the not so densely populated northern half of Sweden again. The record audience would motivate that if you ask me. Few international artists ever perform on swedish soil outside of Gothenburg or Stockholm. Other festivals would certainly be interested another year. For me, a die-hard fan for more than 10 years, this five hour drive to the southwest was the closest he had ever been to my home.

Anything negative? Yes, "Cloud #9" obviously suffered from a lack of instruments, but in my opinion, that was the only song which didn't work out, and being the latest single I guess it makes sense to perform it. Of course the band should be extended again in the future with at least one more guy. For a change though this was OK, and as the only guitarist a certain Keith Scott got more space for "goofing around", changing the solos etc. which he certainly did during "It's Only Love" for instance. Finally, The "On A Day Like Today" album may be more mellow than its predesserors, but the show isn't!

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