September 8, 2008

Ryan Adams live and well


If the Grateful Dead were young upstarts on today's music scene they probably would sound a lot like Ryan Adams did last night. The sometimes mercurial singer-songwriter Adams has shown both on his plethora of albums -- solo and with his backing band the Cardinals -- that he can play, and play well, in a variety of styles, from acoustic neo-folk to alt-country to rock. While I'm a relatively new fan and have not heard the full range of his catalog, I know him well enough to know that if you go to a Ryan Adams show expecting to hear a certain sound or certain songs, you could well leave disappointed. Luckily for me, that wasn't an issue last night at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.
Adams and his band were fresh off a Canadian tour opening for Oasis, an odd pairing, but one, Adams said, went off well with the bands getting along well. Adams was in fine spirits, jabbering on with the band between songs, acknowledging "I Love Yous" from the audience. I don't have a setlist yet, but I will keep an eye open and post one when I find it.
Right from the start, the band was in full throttle, fully electric and full force. His sound mixed '70s-era rock -- the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, electric Crosby, Stills & Nash -- with his modern-day alt-country influences. Songs like "When the Stars Go Blue" balanced beautifully between eras, sounding neither dated nor derivative. A cover of Oasis' "Wonderball" was slowed down and stretched out to wonderful effect. Adams covered a lot of ground, playing songs from a wide variety of his albums as well as a new tune, each treated with guitar-driven power that built to crescendos and melted into quiet with care. Even his more acoustic numbers were beefed up, but they never felt overabused. And solos, and there were many -- from spacey Dead jams to Allmans-esque harmonized dueling guitars -- didn't overstay their welcome with most songs clocking in at around 4 minutes.
In all, a great night of rock music, like you've heard and never heard before.
For more pics, click HERE. Videos are HERE and HERE. If you want to read a great, professional review of the show, click HERE. You can download the whole show HERE and/or HERE.

The setlist (courtesy of Ryan Adams fan site):
1. Off Broadway
2. Bartering Lines (Super Heavy)
3. Goodnight Rose
4. Cobwebs
5. Everybody Knows
6. Why Do They Leave
7. Magick
8. Two
9. Please Do Not Let Me Go
10. Come Pick Me Up
11. When The Stars Go Blue
12. Wonderwall
13. Fix It
14. Easy Plateau
Break
15. Let It Ride
16. Games
17. Cold Roses
18. A Kiss Before I Go
19. Peaceful Valley
20. Dear John
21. Shakedown
22. Sinking Ship (live debut)
23. The Color of Pain (live debut)
24. Magnolia Mountain
25. Beautiful Sorta
26. I See Monsters

1 comment:

David Meerman Scott said...

Great writeup. I was at the Ryan Adams show too. Was a big Dead fan (25 times live) and while it is still fun to see Ratdog or Phil & Friends, it is great to hear a newer artist capturing the Dead vibe.