Bryan Adams wasn't quite sure what his fans would think when he started doing all-acoustic concerts with "unplugged" versions of such rockers as "Run to You" and "Summer of '69."
Even after he started to see the reaction of the audience, he still wasn't sure what they thought.
"If anything, I was surprised when they stood up," Adams said in an e-mail interview. "I thought they were going to leave, but it was actually a standing ovation."
Fans of the 53-year-old Canadian classic rocker will get a taste of his unplugged music when he comes to Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall May 18.
It's been more than five years since Adams started his "Bare Bones Tour," and even purists seem to like the acoustic versions of his myriad hits from the 1980s.
The transformation was a natural one, Adams said, partly because he writes all his songs on acoustic guitar. Even though show consists of just Adams and his guitar, with a pianist joining in on some songs, the versions he'll play in Sarasota are essentially faithful to the records his fans know and love.
"Everything is basically the same as the original versions," Adams said. "I do mess around with the keys sometimes but only on a few songs."
The acoustic tour was intended to be a diversion for one summer. But fans liked it so much it became a regular and at least semi-permanent part of his touring. He also still tours with a band.
People who don't play close attention may think of Adams as the guy who had countless MTV hits, starting with "Straight from the Heart" and "Cuts Like a Knife" in the '80s.
But he's not just a nostalgia act. He's never stopped working and he's never stopped being successful.
Besides touring, he's written for other recording artists and for films (most notably "Everything I Do, I Do It for You" from "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves") and for television. In 2010, he wrote a song used by a German TV network that became the theme for its coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
And he's still cranking out new records.
"I'm recording with a few different producers right now," he said. "Some cool things are happening. Some great new songs and I've recorded a load of cover songs, too. It seems like the thing to do these days so I'm giving it a go. Album out next year."
Details: 8 p.m. May 18, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $55-$75. Information: 941-953-3368 or www.vanwezel.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.