When one woman among the throng at the Calvin Klein Collection flagship store in NYC (at Madison Avenue and 60th Street) spied the mic, drum kit and keyboards visible in the main room last Friday night, she asked, “Who’s playing?” When told it was Grammy-winning Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, she was pleasantly surprised. She had no clue he would be there and was probably among the thousands of Manhattanites perusing through high end retails stores on Fashion’s Night Out. It might have seemed like a random thing, but most of the people there knew what was coming. Adams’ appearance had been well-publicized, and most in attendance were ready to heartily sing along to tunes like “Here I Am,” “Back To You,” “Heaven” and “Run To You”.
The real reason Adams was present was to promote his photography, which was on display along one wall and in large lightboxes outside. In the exhibit entitled “American Women” (also collected in a book of the same name), he profiled famous women like Jerry Hall, Ginnifer Goodwin and Cynthia Nixon (who was in attendance) in dramatic black-and-white images. Proceeds from the photos — which Adams encouraged the well-to-do attendees to buy, and teased them for being cheap if they didn’t — were to benefit the NYC AIDS Fund, as were the Fashion’s Night Out t-shirts on the first floor. The photos are on sale until September 17th.
If you are a fan of Adams, it was a rare chance to see him sing and play acoustic, backed by keyboardist Gary Breit and drummer Mickey Curry, in such an intimate setting. They played two different sets of five songs each with an hour break in between. Give him props: Adams didn’t play a couple of tunes and quickly skedaddle. He and his bandmates delivered exuberant performances. One big fan wore a ’92 Adams tour t-shirt with buttons and a VIP sticker on it and was up front the whole time for both sets. Considering he was probably only 18, he must have inherited that well-preserved piece of merch from a parent. It’s a shame he (and we) didn’t get to hear “Summer Of ’69,” but that’s not exactly an acoustic tune. That would have required amplification that would have shaken the store. Regardless, the highly vocal crowd was satiated.