On today’s date in 1986, Canadian rock artist Bryan Adams performed in front of a crowd of 14,000 people at the first of six Amnesty International concerts held in San Francisco, Calif.
The Amnesty International tour – dubbed A Conspiracy of Hope – was a short tour of six benefit concerts that took place across the U.S. in June 1986. The purpose of the tour was not to raise funds but rather to increase awareness of human rights and the charity’s work on its 25th anniversary.
“It was a nearly unbroken stretch of thoughtful rock – Lou Reed’s three-chord stomps, Peter Gabriel’s dramatic vignettes, Bryan Adams’s workmanlike rock, U2’s ringing primal anthems and the Police’s internationally flavored pop,” wrote Jon Pareles for the New York Times on June 16, 1986, following the “two-week, six-city, all-star tour to benefit Amnesty International.”
The six concerts were the first of what became known collectively as the Human Rights Concerts—a series of events and tours organized by Amnesty International USA from 1986-98.
2009 ADAMS STAMP
In 2009, Canada Post featured Adams on a 54-cent multi-coloured stamp (Scott # 2333d) as part of its Canadian Recording Artists issue (SC #2333).
Printed by the Lowe-Martin Group on Tullis Russell coated paper using nine-colour lithography and varnish, the stamp has general tagging along each side, each with 13.5 serpentine die cut perforations. Measuring 32 millimetres by 32 millimetres, the stamps were issued in booklets of eight stamps and souvenir sheets of four stamps.
An official first-day cover was also serviced in Paquetville, N.B.
Adams has been one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed musicians since he launched his career more than three decades ago, but he’s also achieved celebrity status in more than 40 countries for his chart-topping singles. He’s also an accomplished photographer, using the proceeds of his photographic projects to finance his namesake foundation.
Awards and accolades to Adams’ name include Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, a Grammy Award and many American Music Awards and Juno Awards. He has also been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.
“It is a wonderful honour to be amongst the great men and women who have graced our Canadian stamps,” said Adams, of his postal tribute. “I am humbled by the recognition.”
This May, Adams came under fire for an Instagram post in which he blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on “bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards.”
Posted on May 11, it was edited the following day to include an “apology” for what many viewers deemed racist and inflammatory.
“No excuse, I just wanted to have a rant about the horrible animal cruelty in these wet-markets being the possible source of the virus, and promote veganism. I have love for all people and my thoughts are with everyone dealing with this pandemic around the world,” wrote Adams in his edited Instagram post.
Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, told CBC News Adams’ apology didn’t go far enough as it failed to acknowledge the racism and potential harm of his message.
“Until such time that he recognizes his words … will cause harm to specific communities, like Chinese and Asian communities, I don’t think that’s an apology,” Go told CBC.