ROCK / Not even star of his own band

THE TITLE of Bryan Adams' compilation album, So Far So Good, says a lot. Despite spending almost a third of 1991 at No 1 with '(Everything I Do) I Do it for You', Adams is still pretending a wheel could fall off any minute. His appearance at Wembley Arena was all about this strange contrast between phenomenal record sales and self-effacing blokedom.

If the first song, 'There'll Never be Another Tonight', recalled the euphoric banality of ITV's football theme, and the second, 'Heaven', amalgamates scarf-waving choruses from every platinum-selling American MOR ballad of the 1980s, these were cliches you had to get used to. Bryan Adams seldom surprises.

Casually dressed in white shirt and jeans, he fronted his five-piece band with all the personality of a roadie, an impression compounded when he bafflingly demanded the first of several ovations for the guy who worked the lights. To his left, meanwhile, guitarist Keith Scott gyrated and grimaced his way through solo after solo, regularly approaching the lip of the stage to pose to the front rows, while Adams held back. He's so nondescript he isn't even the star of his own band.

At over three hours, the show was clearly intended as Adams' riposte to Bruce Springsteen's mid-Seventies marathons. But his raucous, straining anthems were either trite and charmless ('Hey Honey, I'm Packin' You In'), or unconvincingly rebellious ('Kids Wanna Rock').

In his rambling links it became obvious that Adams' audience think he is a hilarious, even zany guy - which goes right against the common impression of him as a frowning blue-collar man. The only political note was his declared support for a whale sanctuary in the Antarctic. Sounding uncannily like Bob Newhart, he explained to the audience that the handful of opponents to this sanctuary included Grenada. An apology to any upset Grenadans followed.

Whales schmales. What the audience really wanted to hear was '(Everything I Do) I Do it for You'. Adams soon relented. Cigarette lighters were waved by people who don't even smoke. Noting, however, that for the unfortunate people at the back the Adams live experience was more a case of ('Everything I Do) I Do it 400 Yards Away', he and the band encored on a small stage in the middle of the Arena, banging out old rock 'n 'roll and blues tunes like Eddie Cochran's 'C'mon Everybody' and Willie Dixon's 'Little Red Rooster'. Now that was fun.

Unlike their fellow punk warriors The Damned, 999 and the UK Subs, the Buzzcocks remain fresh and vital, comfortable with their past and relevant to the punk-friendly present. Fronted by the extremely camp Pete Shelley and the extremely abrasive Steve Diggle, who now alternates lead vocals with Shelley, their Astoria show was a speedy blur of about 25 songs in 70 minutes.

For every nugget - 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)' or 'Autonomy' - there's a new song like 'Smile' that has all the instant appeal of the Buzzcocks of 1978. By remaining apolitical they have never dated, clearly choosing to sing about teenage romance well into their thirties. Only 'Roll it Over', with its iffy chorus of 'aow, it's a political world', was a lapse, sounding more like their support band, These Animal Men.

Representing the so-called New Wave of New Wave, These Animal Men claim a direct link with the energy and disenchantment of 1977. Right now it still looks more like a fashion movement than a musical one. Songs like 'You're Not My Babylon' and 'Too Sussed' might sound amazing to anyone who's never heard the Sex Pistols' 'Holidays in the Sun', but These Animal Men, who used to have long hair and sound like The Wonder Stuff, are older than they claim.

Referring to such media scepticism, guitarist Hooligan snarled: 'Paul Weller loved Pete Townshend] Pete Townshend loved Chuck Berry] But we're not allowed to love anything]' The thing is, hanging around with a bunch of endearing oldsters like the Buzzcocks doesn't exactly reek of revolution. It just shows good taste.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor