|photo by Kyusung Gong/SoCal Newsgroup|
The engaging effort produced by Jeff Lynne includes several quick rockers with the same trademark chugging sound as the ELO main man’s previous projects by Tom Petty, Traveling Wilburys and various ex-Beatles. La Habra native (and Paul McCartney guitarist) Rusty Anderson guests on one track.
In recent interviews, Adams has said “Get Up” could’ve easily been the successor to his 1984 career-defining LP, “Reckless.” That’s debatable, but six songs performed during a rousing, two-hour show Wednesday at the Greek Theatre definitely fit well alongside the old hits.
This past spring, the veteran Canadian pop/rocker garnered a second Ivor Novello (the prestigious U.K. songwriting award). He’s also been working on a Broadway adaptation of the film “Pretty Woman” with frequent collaborator Jim Vallance.
Before the Los Angeles show, a half-dozen people walked around the venue hawking the new CD. One concertgoer responded to a pitch by saying, “I already have Rhapsody” – an example of music streaming’s continued popularity. Reps from Al Malaikah Shrine Temple in Los Angeles sold many physical copies, though. All proceeds were earmarked for Shriners Hospitals for Children and included an after-show meet-and-greet drawing.
Following a prerecorded sitar intro, Adams and his tight four-piece band (including guitarist Keith Scott and drummer Mickey Curry, both longtime sidemen) kicked the 28-song set off with the insanely catchy new song “Do What Ya Gotta Do.” Then they went into the high energy “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started.” A darkly simmering “Run to You” (whose accompanying music video placing Adams in a blizzard immediately came to mind) sent fans into a frenzy. Especially when the singer/guitarist and Scott did joint guitar lines together.
“Go Down Rockin’,” a brawny new statement of intent bolstered by prominent piano, got a good crowd response; ultimate ’80s power ballad “Heaven,” even more so. Fans sang the first verse loudly and Scott played an elegant solo. “Kids Wanna Rock” and “It’s Only Love” provided a fiery “Reckless” double shot and showed Adams can still wail with the best of them after 30-plus years.
“It’s time for a wiggle. Don’t be shy. Put your phones down,” Adams said, before the new upbeat, skiffle-influenced “You Belong to Me.” The entire Greek audience kept standing and once again sang along during “Summer of ’69,” which raised the energy level considerably. Another well-received tune was the 6½-minute version of “Everything I Do (I Do It for You),” with more crowd participation, earnest Adams vocals and Scott’s amazing, weepy guitar solo. Couples swayed right along to the romantic 1991 chart-topper.
A stretch of midtempo acoustic-based numbers caused the momentum to lag slightly. Yet the guys made up for it during the final stretch with their raucous delivery on “Cuts Like a Knife” (much like when Paul McCartney performs “Hey Jude” live, the overlong “na na na” breakdown section has become tiresome), Adams’ pseudo life mantra “18 ’Til I Die” and “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You.”
Come encore time, the strident “Brand New Day” was a standout among all the “Get Up” material, while covers of Eddie Cochrane’s “C’mon Everybody” and Otis Blackwell’s “All Shook Up” were spirited fun. The band exited and Adams did another trio of songs acoustically; the freshly enhanced harmonica of “Straight From the Heart” fared best.
My review originally appeared at ocregister.com