Mon. July 21
Charleston Music Hall
Two weeks ago, I poked fun at Canadian rocker Bryan Adams and his early-era MTV clips in these music pages — making light of some of the silliness on the small screen and the anthemic style of his mid-’80s hits. By the conclusion of his Monday evening concert at the Charleston Music Hall — one of only a few solo acoustic shows he’s doing this month on off-nights from his band’s tour — I stood cheering him on.
Without a stack of amps, accompaniment, fancy lighting, or distraction, Adams stood at the mic, dressed in black, with an acoustic guitar and played for two hours straight. His rhythm guitar work was flawless. His voice sounded just as raspy as it did on his 1983 breakthrough album Cuts Like A Knife, but his range was totally intact. He hit every high note and every “Yeah-eah!” without cracking.
The place was packed and the vibe was wild. I can’t remember such boisterous enthusiasm from a Music Hall audience — ladies whooped and screamed between songs. Guys hollered along with the lyrics to the choruses. The standing ovations became more frequent. Obviously pleased with the response, Adams bantered back and forth between songs, sometimes cracking jokes in response to rowdy fans, sometimes explaining how he wrote such tunes “Heaven,” “Run To You,” and “Summer of ’69” (who knew it was about sex?).
Gracious and sincere, Adams charmed the crowd with his surprisingly high-caliber humor, technique, and passion. His three encores were barely enough. —T. Ballard Lesemann
Edwin McCain Band
Sat. July 26
The Music Farm
Gone are the days I spent in college arguing with my friend, Paul, about what the real lyrics were in Edwin McCain’s popular “I’ll Be.” Fast-forward about 10 years to the definitely improved Music Farm, where a performance took place Saturday night for a fairly large crowd of Edwin fans.
First to take the stage was a fantastic local band out of Folly Beach called Dangermuffin. I had never seen them before, but I will make a pointed effort to see them again soon. The trio arrived on stage in matching long-sleeved shirts. I know they had to be frying up there because I felt like I was sitting in a crock pot full of people myself. It’s somehow easy to take your mind off of something like that when you know who’s going to be popping out on stage in just a few minutes.
McCain made his entrance on the Music Farm stage on Saturday with a huge smile on his face. The crowd went nuts as he walked to the microphone, and said “I love this town.”
McCain welcomed the crowd to what he called the “What the Hell Happened to Your Hair? Tour,” and played most of his classic hits with barely anything off his latest, Nobody’s Fault But Mine. He proceeded to tell a story about one of his songs written in Florida. It was prompted by a man sitting beside him at a bar who incessantly repeated the same story to him over and over. The singer said he thought he was the most annoying person he had ever met that month — until the man’s wife showed up. He also talked about some time ago when he and horn player Craig Shields were playing their regular gig at Cumberland’s; Craig showed his skill by lighting a woman’s cigarette while still playing his saxophone solo one-handed.
The crowd participation on a couple of songs was pretty remarkable — enough so that he had the crowd repeat one part all over again. In true Edwin fashion, he sang a mix of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and Seal’s “Crazy” — two songs I never would have thought to blend together, but he did it beautifully. Per usual, McCain failed to disappoint his fans (except maybe the ones who were yelling for “3 AM”), and he proved what many have known to be true for quite some time now: for many Lowcountry natives, his voice will always sound like home. —K.J. Derrick