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Bryan Adams takes to the stage at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for opening night of Forest Live gigs





Bryan Adams, Forest Live, High Lodge, Thursday

Back in the summer of 1991, there was only one casette single every 13-year-old girl wanted to spend their pocket money on.

It was (Everything I Do) I Do it for You by Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, who topped the charts that year for what seemed like forever (16 weeks).

Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman

I went on a French exchange trip that summer and it was the only casette I took along to play on my trusty Sony Walkman. After 10 days in Compiegne and Paris, playing Everything I Do on constant repeat, I proudly knew every nuance of Bryan’s recording by heart.

So, when Bryan Adams was announced as the opening act for this year’s Forest Live concerts, at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, I was quick to snap up tickets.

And what a night it was. We arrived at the forest to discover a packed arena – in 19 years of Forest Live gigs I have never seen it so busy – full of concertgoers ready to rock with the 64-year-old leading man.

Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman

Shortly before 9pm he took to the stage with Kick Ass, which he released in 2021, before belting out hit after hit after hit.

Next on the set list was Can’t Stop This Thing We Started – with the audience invited to sing along – followed by Somebody and 18 ‘Til I Die.

After the pumping opening he finally introduced himself, saying: “My name is Bryan. I’m gonna try and pack in as many songs as I remember.”

Then it was straight back into the music, with Take Me Back, Kids Wanna Rock, Heaven – up there in my personal top three of Bryan’s hits – IGo Down Rocking, It’s Only Love (followed by a tribute to Tina Turner, ‘a great loss’ according to Bryan), Simply the Best and What’s Love Got To Do With It,.

Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman

Then, the audience had the chance to be the stars as Bryan and his slick musicians performed a Rockabilly song, with the on-stage cameraman turning the lens on the audience to find the best dancers. Cue twerking and joy from the crowd.

Then it was back to Bryan’s hits, with The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You and then – finally – the moment my inner 13-year-old had been waiting for.

Bryan picked up his guitar and with a pared back performance, took us back to the summer of ‘91… and that historic 16-week number one.

Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman

At last, I had the chance to demonstrate my performance skills seeded from that French exhange trip and perfected over the past 33 years. Yes, I joined thousands of other concertgoers to croon the Robin Hood anthem in perfect harmony with Mr Adams. It felt like we all shared a moment.

By this point the set might have been nearing its end, but there was still time for a giant illuminated car to float from the stage and out into the audience as the solstice darkness fell, to accompany the uplifting So Happy it Hurts.

The flying car was still in the air during Run To You, before the arena was cleared for a joyous rendition of Summer of ‘69 (where the audience displayed their vocal talents once more).

Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman

All too soon, Bryan and his talented band were taking their bows. Luckily, Bryan stayed on stage for an acoustic solo encore of When You’re Gone, followed by a touching performance of Straight From the Heart, a song he wrote when he was 18 and dedicated last night to his 96-year-old mum.

“What a beautiful audience,” said Bryan as he bid farewell to High Lodge.

Looking around the forest arena, the demographic of the audience was mainly middle-aged, but those of us of a certain age certainly knew how to have a good time.

Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman
Bryan Adams was at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, for the Forest Live tour last night. Picture: Camille Berriman

We had spent 90-minutes singing and dancing in the stunning wooded arena.

And athough I might have liked to have heard more chat from Bryan himself – an insight into his long career and its highlights perhaps – in 19 years of watching Forest Live gigs, Bryan Adams’ performance is probably my favourite ever.

Sting performs at High Lodge tomorrow, followed by Paloma Faith, Tom Jones and Olly Murs next week.