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Bryan Adams at DTE, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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it's easy to think of Bryan Adams as the platinum-plus rocker who ensured the "Summer of '69" will be remembered fondly for generations. But there's so much to the Ontario native's story than that.

Adams has become, over the years, an acclaimed portrait and fashion photographer -- one of a handful invited to shoot Queen Elizabeth II during her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Diamond Jubilee 10 years later -- as well as an activist and philanthropist with work for PETA, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and more. He's quietly started a family (two daughters) with his wife Alicia Grimaldi, and Adams has a pile of awards ranging from 20 Junos and a Golden Globe to royal honors from Canada and Britain.

Rest assured music is still his calling card, however. In March Adams released his 14th studio album (and first in four years), "Shine a Light," featuring a songwriting collaboration with Ed Sheeran on the title track and a guest appearance by Jennifer Lopez on "That's How Strong Our Love Is." He's spending part of the summer touring with fellow 80s MTV fave Billy Idol, and, he promises, there's always writing and recording being done for new music in the future...

Though they were having their biggest hits at roughly the same time, Adams, 49, says by phone from Vancouver that he did not meet Idol until he photographed him some years later. "I really liked Billy and we've worked together in Europe. I knew there were some dates this summer and they were batting ideas around that it mike be fun to work with somebody and I suggested Billy because he's great live and I thought it would be really fun to do some dates together. I don't really see a whole lot of differences (musically); He's perhaps heavier, but it all balances out."

Adams says he made "Shine a Light" simply because he felt it was time to put some new material out. "There's never really an intent, other than suddenly your (song) folder starts to fill up with new ideas and itís like, 'Maybe I need to work on this, see if some if it can come together.' I'd recorded a bunch of stuff and left it and then came back to it and it was like, 'Oh, this is a record. It just needs a couple things...'"

One of those things turned out to be the title, an uplifting tribute to Adams' parents, both hospitalized at the time, and finished with Sheeran. "When I was trying to complete the record I'd met Ed in Dublin; I was playing the night before and he played the next night and we stayed in touch. One day I said, 'Hey, look, do you want to help me finish this song?' and he said, 'Yeah, I love it.' That's how it came together, and we just sort of stayed in touch on email and Facetime."

Lopez, meanwhile, was tapped for "That's How Strong Our Love Is" after Adams considered shopping it for someone else to record. "I had that on my computer for awhile thinking, 'This could be somebody else's song.' I kept coming back to it, and then when I completed the record I thought, 'Y'know, it's such a good (song), it would be great if it was a duet with somebody who you'd believe means it when she's singing these lyrics. JLo popped into my head so I wrote her management an email and they said she'd love to do it."

Adams is one of the artists identified as having lost a significant amount of material in the 2008 vault fire at Universal Studios Hollywood which only recently came to light via a New York Times expose. Adams noticed an issue when he was putting together a 30th anniversary edition of his album "Reckless" and could not find master tapes or artwork, but he hasn't filed or joined in any class action lawsuits related to the losses. "At this point I've written to (Universal chief) Lucian Grainge, 'Can you please tell me what's there and not there?' and he's put a special team in place for that. to find what's wrong. We didn't know there had been a fire. No one told us. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt now that they do have everything, so I'm going to wait and see. Maybe they parked it somewhere else and didn't tell me. We'll see."

Bryan Adams and Bill Idol perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. $25 and up. 313-471-7000 or 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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