This is the first review I’ve posted on here, or the old site, as I never feel I can eloquently express how the gig was. However I wanted to post a review of last nights Ryan Adams gig for anyone who like me may have given up on him a few years ago.
RA is without doubt one of my favourite artists who, although inconsistent, has created some fantastic music over the years. However the run of albums from 29 through to III/IV hadn’t really appealed to me and while Ashes & Fire had hinted at a “return to form” it was still not comparable with his earlier records.
So when a couple of old friends got in touch to say they were getting tickets I went along more to catch up with them than for the gig. My growing apathy for his records coupled with the uncertainty of which RA you were going to get left me with low expectations.
However from the opening chords of Gimme Something Good I got the feeling it was going to be a special night. For someone who in the past has incoherently rambled on and on between songs, it was a blistering six songs in before he took breath to address the crowd.
The set list took tracks from throughout his back catalogue, particularly Heartbreaker and Gold which at previous gigs he seemed to be trying to move away from. He moved effortlessly from the heavier sounds of his new album to the aching beauty of “Oh My Sweet Carolina” (sung with support artist Natalie Prass).
There was no encore to finish just a breathtaking rendition of “Come Pick Me Up” which left me walking out feeling like I had finally seen the Ryan Adams gig I had been hoping to see for the last 14 years!
As you’d expect. Mainly middle aged. Good mix of blokes and gals. For such a big venue was surprisingly respectful of the quieter songs. Mind, this could have been induced by fear following one of RA’s mid set rants. Apparently he is suffering from an illness which means flash photography affects his vision and gives him headaches. I’m not sure if this is true or just a way of stopping people using their phones to take pictures. However having earlier respectfully asked people not to take photos obviously some continued which led to a foul mouthed aggressive rant from RA where he threatened to “smash the guys face in”. He magnificently went from this rant straight into a beautiful acoustic version of “Winding Wheel”. That 30 seconds seemed a good metaphor for the whole of his career.
It made me think..
There is definitely life in the old dog yet and when the day comes that someone puts together a greatest hits collection it is going to stand on its own merits alongside any of the greats.
If you were thinking of getting a ticket for one of his shows but were undecided do it. RA is back on form and sounding better than ever.
It was good to catch up with two old friends I hadn’t seen for ages. But it also felt like I was catching up with another old friend, the one who sound tracked many happy memories in the early 00’s.