Bryan Adams is the kind of everyman pop rocker that just doesn’t exist anymore. The few rock radio stations that are left in 2011 play aggressive male-oriented hard rock, or whatever passes for alternative, but in the olden days of the 1980s, you could be a mainstream pop star who played rock and roll. You didn’t have to be anything else. That’s just what you were.
Of this ilk, Bryan Adams was one of the biggest. Despite the name of his best selling album, there wasn’t much about Bryan Adams that could be described as Reckless, but the string of cuddly hits from that album (“Run to You,” “Somebody,” “Heaven,” “Summer of ‘69”) are some of the more reliable nostalgia-producers of the Reagan-era. He successfully transitioned into a Mom-approved soft balladeer in the ‘90s, having the biggest hit of his career in 1991 with the ubiquitous theme song from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.” He tried to reclaim his rocker status with 1996’s “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You,” but by then, slow jams like “Please Forgive Me,” and “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” were what his fans really wanted from him. After his 1998 duet with Barbara Streisand, “I Finally Found Someone” (from The Mirror Has Two Faces), his U.S. hits dried up. Naturally, he remains a hitmaking superstar in Europe and his native Canada.
These days, Bryan Adams is something of a renaissance man. Still an in-demand live performer, he’s on the road more than 150 days a year, playing as far and wide as Pakistan, Qatar, and Vietnam. He’s also a vigilant social activist and philanthropist, playing several notable benefit concerts throughout his career, as well as campaigning for Greenpeace, and writing letters to KFC on behalf of PETA, urging them to use more modern and humane methods to kill their chickens (Adams has been a vegan since 1989). Most interestingly, he’s taken on a second career, of sorts, as a renowned photographer, releasing two books of photos, and hosting several exhibitions of his work. He’s photographed celebrities as varied as Michael J. Fox, Ray Charles, Morrissey, and Arcade Fire. In 2003, his photograph of Queen Elizabeth II was used on official 49 cent domestic rate Canadian postage stamp.
His upcoming show at Peachtree City’s Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater is a stop on his critically acclaimed Bare Bones Tour, named after his 2010 live album of the same name. It will be a stripped-down affair, inspired by his 1997 MTV Unplugged recording. You can expect to hear his distinctive voice and guitar (with the occasional keyboard accompaniment by Gary Breit) performing all of his more well-known hits, as well as lesser known songs for the fans like “Straight From The Heart.” It’s a rare opportunity to see a modern rock legend in an intimate environment. Adams, it should be noted, looks great for 51, so much so that you’ll believe he really will be 18 ‘til he dies.
Bryan Adams plays The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater, August 5