Sound — 8
Live albums rarely make a home on the chart. Listeners can claim it's because they'd rather indulge in their own favourite records but it's because no one likes background noise. Fans can scream lyrics at the top of their lungs, sound obnoxious while doing so, but will be filled with an immense amount of hate when others do the same. The reason being: when a band plays a live gig, it's as if their playing for only you and no one else. That's the downfall of a live record; unlike most, Bare Bones doesn't present an irritating amount of noise from audiences. Instead, it showcases Bryan Adams at his strongest, weakest and most human. The release came about after followers requested a CD of stripped-down material they heard at shows and Bare Bones enforces just that. The crowds aren't brash, the track's don't gleam with too much fame. They're just cut from a simple cloth, producing a setlist highlighting the old ("I'm Ready", "Heaven"), the popular ("Summer Of 69'", "Cuts Like A Knife") and material that's a bit more new ('Here I Am"). With the addition of each track being an unplugged rendition, the release feels like an album, with each song blending in with the other to portray a story of how Adams' age adds to his character and his sound, diminishing the tag line "artist".
Lyrics — 7
The idea of hearing Bryan Adams unplugged sounds terrible, but it really isn't. Father Time has caught up with the 51-year-old, but music still drives his weary soul on the road. Taken from a selection of gigs over the past few years, the songs on Bare Bones display how much personality the artist has on the stage. Considering most of his performances are buried in larger-than-life venues, tracks like "It's Only Love" seem to be torn from naked acoustic sessions as Adams let's loose like a heartbroken adolescent consoling himself on an amateur stage. "Please Forgive Me" and "Straight From The Heart" make him more hushed while "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" takes handclaps and transforms itself into memorable a soft rock jam. With different takes from various concerts, the natural feel of hearing the musician wander through their setlist is depleted as quite a few tracks contain that encore-vibe. Witnessing an artist whimper through a favourite near the end of his performance is touching and given his age, it would only be natural to spotlight Adams performing the selected tracks from start to finish.
Overall Impression — 8
Similar to greatest hits collections manufactured by labels, live albums aren't appealing. They generally don't contain the material most listeners would like to hear and thus disappoint, leaving nothing but an unsatisfying feeling. Clocking in at over 70 minutes, Bare Bones covers all tastes, preferences and wants for a live record. The group vocals aren't overpowering and their timing is on key, barely diminishing Adams' talent when stripped-down and left alone in front of thousands. Take away the fact it's not a one-night-only disc and what remains is more than likely the Canadian singer's greatest non-studio effort. Compare it to the rest of the industry and Bare Bones is a definitive album in it's own right as it represents the passion artists present on the stage and how great collections can be.