27 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Bryan Adams Rocks Harare

The brand called Bryan Adams rolled into town last Friday evening for a sold-out gig which could well be described as one of the best shows to be staged in Harare.

The Canadian rock star reportedly jetted into Zimbabwe on a private jet on Friday, but did not appear in the public until he came on stage.

His visit was also kept a secret but that did not deter a predominantly white crowd that started arriving at the Harare International Conference Centre in the afternoon where they set up "camp" at the Rainbow Towers grounds.

The show was part of the "Bare Bones Tour" that has seen the award-winning artiste perform at the Sydney Opera House in Australia and various other countries like Luxemburg.

However, the much-anticipated show had all 3 500 tickets on sale sold out within hours when they went on sale. The tickets were going between US$30 to US$100. The show itself could have been a disappointment for other music lovers, especially when Adams appeared on stage alone indicating that it was an acoustic night as was with his latest album.

However, with Gary Breit on piano, the rock star did not disappoint, dishing out several of his hits from the 16 albums he has released in his career. The appreciative crowd was left spell-bound especially when Adams played some of his classics such as "Heaven", "Summer of 69", "Everything I do (I do it for you)" among a plethora of hits that he dished out on the night.

The show, a rare night for his fans, some of who travelled from neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Zambia, could have been a learning curve for event managers in Harare.

While the tickets were sold online, it was the arrangements for the night that were out of this world. Getting into the venue was not a hustle as all ticket holders were ushered to their seats in a pre-arranged fashion while the ushers were ready for the large crowd.

It was also refreshing that the international artiste also took time to dispel political undertones that preceded the show when he steered clear of the politics that was triggered as soon as the concert was confirmed.

"I would not want to go much into politics. . . When I said I was coming for the show in Harare many questions were asked but I wrote to my cousins who stay in Zambia and told them that I would come to Zimbabwe.

"I am here and all that you have to do is enjoy the show because I am going to give you the best from my 16 albums that I have produced in my career," he said to thunderous applause.

He, however, expressed joy at the turnout adding that he had been overwhelmed by the big crowd at the show. Many people could have missed out on the show because of the way tickets for the show were sold but it is also a lesson for show organisers that international artistes would surely like to play in Zimbabwe as long everything is done professionally.

Some political activists wanted Adams' show to court controversy but his manager Bruce Allen, defended the concert.

"Bryan is an international artiste with a worldwide audience, whether it is Pakistan or Vietnam or Zimbabwe," he told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper.

"To paraphrase what he has said over the course of his 30-plus-year career, everywhere he goes, kids wanna rock. Music will, I hope, always remain a universal language."

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