For nearly three decades, Bryan Adams has been a steady presence on the American concert scene, regularly hitting the road throughout a career that has produced 11 studio albums and several live releases. But Adams' next run of U.S. dates will give fans a chance to see him in a role he has never enjoyed on an American tour — as a solo acoustic performer.
"It just seemed like a good idea," Adams says, explaining his thinking in putting together the solo tour. "The new album [titled 11] is sort of an acoustic-rock record, so I thought just try it and seen what happens and have some fun. For a lot of people that haven't heard me do this before, it will be intriguing, because to play a song like 'Cuts Like a Knife' on acoustic guitar is quite a different thing than hearing it with a full band. I believe that that will give some insight into the songwriting and show that some of the new songs sort of blend in. It's like one solid body of work."
Adams maintains such a heavy touring schedule that playing acoustic is a refreshing change from his usual full-band shows. While he no longer cranks out records at the furious pace he maintained early in his career — five albums in the first seven years — Adams says he is as busy as ever.
"I don't think my pace has really changed," he says. "I've accelerated the amount of work I've got. Because I've ended up playing in so many more places and so many different countries around the world, there's a bigger, sort of wider breadth of places to go on tour. I mean, it was difficult to play places in Europe when I first started, and now everywhere is open. We recently played in South America, where I played Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina ... I played Pakistan a year and a half ago. I just got offered a show in Dubai. You know, it's endless. That didn't exist when I started."
The demand for tours — and the continued steady stream of new music — says a lot about the enduring popularity he has managed to achieve since the early 1980s. It took him until his third album, though, to break through in the states. But when he did, it was in a big way. That 1983 album, Cuts Like A Knife, boasted three hits: the title song, "This Time," and "Straight from the Heart."
This set the stage for Adams' fourth album, the 1984 release Reckless, which became his biggest hit. It topped the charts on its way to selling five million copies, while spawning six hit singles, including the number one hit "Heaven," "Summer of '69" and "Run to You."
He had three more popular albums — 1987's Into The Fire, 1991's Waking Up the Neighbours, and 1996's 8 'Til I Die — before the hits dried up in America. He has remained a strong concert draw stateside, and has enjoyed continued popularity in other countries.
Built around hearty and tuneful rock anthems and several rough-hewn ballads, it will be interesting to see if 11 can restore Adams' commercial momentum.
FIVE KEY BRYAN ADAMS MTV MOMENTS
1Halfway through the clip for "Summer of '69" (featuring British bombshell actress Lysette Anthony), Adams appears, clad in a black leather jacket, swinging in a hammock, singing the lyrics "those were the best days of my life!" to a bespectacled psychiatrist situated in a lawn chair taking notes. Adams immediately breaks the hammock and falls on his ass.
2Adams plays his heavily chorus-affected Fender Stratocaster through three seasons of unusually severe weather in most of the clip for "Run to You" (also featuring Lysette Anthony). s the hero of the clip, he survives a blizzard, a summer storm, and what looks like a tarpful of oak leaves being blown in his face. Several times.
3Looking almost as tough as the similarly vested Michael J. Fox in the conclusion of Back to the Future, Adams hollers, "Hey turn off your radio" to a girl in a barn (possibly Lysette Anthony behind a stack of hay) during a verse in the clip for "This Time," then kicks a small antique radio with one of his white sneakers.
4After jamming with his band in the bottom of an empty Olympic-sized pool in the clip for "Cuts Like a Knife," Adams stows his black Rickenbacker, snatches a dropped locket from the floor, pulls a hunting knife from the wall, and quietly walks in on a swimsuit model, who somehow got wet from diving into the emptied pool.
5When he walks on stage during the original live clip for the anthemic "It's Only Love," the duet he did with Tina Turner in 1984, Adams sings the entire first verse with a sinister sneer on his face. The crowd goes wild. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.