Thursday, December 7, 2006

Ryan Adams @Town Hall, Dec. 6th


Ryan Adams started off the evening with a bang. He shut up some of the would be screamers immediately by opening with "Come Pick Me Up" maybe hoping they'd have nothing else to yell.

But he seemed to be in a stink of a mood. Nowhere to be found was the Ryan of Night 1, perhaps his strongest. The Ryan who was bantering on about his love of "Friends" and Diet Coke. Or even the edgy Ryan of Night 2 who struck up conversations with audience members and rambled on about Dr. Who. Nope. Tonight he seemed grouchy at the audience's every request, and tried his best to appease them by whipping out the hits.

One looking at the setlist tonight might think it was amazing, especially after two nights which were heavy on 2005 in the shape of songs from Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights. I mean, Ryan managed to pull a bunch off of Heartbreaker, Gold, Demolition and even the somewhat underappreciated Rock 'N Roll:

Come Pick Me Up
When the Stars Go Blue
Oh My Sweet Carolina
Love is Hell
This is It
Afraid Not Scared
La Cienga Just Smiled
Wish You Were Here
Judy Garland
Blue Sky Blues
Winding Wheel
Willow Jane
The Rescue Blues

For someone who was somewhat complaining about the 11pm curfew Town Hall imposes on its performers, he shocked the hell out of the audience tonight by dashing off quickly without so much of a round of applause by 10:35. Yup, that's it, folks.

To his credit, the songs he did play were inspired and stunning. I just wish...there...was...more.... Any other performer, we would have been satisfied with 75 minutes of mostly older hits, but I guess we all had expectations going into this final night, and the thing is, we know Ryan is capable of greatness. Disappointed not because we felt he owed us in anyway. Rather, we know he can be so much more. And we feel let down...

Oh, Ryan Adams...sobriety's a bitch, ain't it? Maybe he oughta talk to Chan Marshall, who has managed to keep her shit together quite nicely throughout her recent newfound lucidity. When I saw her 6 months ago at the very same venue, we all wondered if she'd unleash her manic self, but she surprised us all with a glowing performance. Ryan, on the other hand, is still fighting something, and unfortunately it landed tonight with a thud.

Here's his beautiful "My Winding Wheel":

Overall, seeing all three nights, I can't complain. Not one single repeat. We heard some amazing alternate arrangements of songs which prove why live music is essential, and some of the harmonies, especially for "Cold Roses" made the hairs on my arms stand up. I hardly ever see a band more than once on a tour, let alone more than one night in a row. I'm still convinced that the man is a genius and has the potential to move us, but he obviously has much internal struggle that hopefully won't keep him away from his A-game for too long.

Coincidentally, sat next to Matt from The Music Slut, who had something to say about this evening as well.

PS -- Pretty cool -- Product Shop totally used my reviews for Night 1, Night 2 and Night 3.

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