Why India Will Always Run to Bryan Adams


Why India Will Always Run to Bryan Adams

Illustration: Akshita Monga


ime to tune up your first real six-string, kids, because Bryan Adams just came to town. I wasn’t old enough to form clear memories of the first time he visited India in 1995, but it must have been a huge deal. The ’90s were a barren decade for fans of international music, at least as far as watching live acts went. The arrival in India of a superstar of Adams’ magnitude, at a time when he was ruling the charts, would have been as newsworthy as if Drake himself were to perform the Kiki challenge on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway today. If that sounds preposterous, then you’re beginning to get an idea of just how momentous, unprecedented, and exciting the occasion must have been, over two decades ago.

Until the mid-2000s, international acts rarely graced India with their presence. The guitar-slinging Canadian was like the first rain on a land parched for generations. With the sole exception of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in 1996, very few top-billed international artists made a stop on our shores in the ’90s. Even when they finally acknowledged their fanbases and added India to their tour dates in the next decade, it was often artists in the twilight of their careers. Roger Waters showed up with his lasers, but without Pink Floyd; when Metallica arrived it was during their creative nadir, by which I mean post St Anger; and Iron Maiden were already releasing “Best of…” compilations by the time they played their first show in Bangalore.