Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ryan Adams reviewed by Steve Donaldson

As a Ryan Adams fan, I had heard about Adams's "quirks" when performing live. I knew going into the concert that only one member of his backup group, the Cardinals, remained from their collaboration in 2001. I knew that he had a tendency to throw small fits when the lighting or sound was not to his liking. However, I was not expecting what ensued at the Alabama Theatre on October 15.

I arrived a bit late to the Alabama (which by the way is a great venue...not a bad seat in the house, a good cocktail bar, and general classic ambience) and Adams was already on stage. His show was set to last 2 hours, so missing the first song did not seem like it would be that big of a deal.

While on stage, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals were great performers. They played recent songs, including the most recent single, "Everybody Knows," and more classic songs such as "Rescue Blues" off his album Gold. He took a break about 45 minutes into the set, which is perfectly fine when playing a 2 hour set.

After the break he got through two songs and then sheer disregard for his fans took over. Several people were shouting out the names of their favorite songs (which is to be expected at a show), and one guy even kept shouting for Ryan to play "Hay Babay," the recent Chamillionaire hit. At that point, Adams blew up, saying something along the lines of, "Has it ever occured to you guys that we might determine a set list before we come on stage to keep you happy? We don't just play a song on a whim because of what you guys yell at us." Then he mentioned seeing "Titanic" and the crowd asking for the ship not to crash. An unamused girl yelled back to just play a song. He then played one song, about 7 minute version of "What Sin," sarcastically said that the crowd was great, then walked off the stage. There was no encore, and the stage hands immediately and abruptly disassembled the set, and the night was over.

Even knowing Adams's reputation coming into the show, I was never expecting something like this. If you can get cheap (or even free) tickets to a Ryan Adams show that is within two-gallons-of-gas-of-a-drive, I would suggest seeing him just to be part of something that may be talked about for a long time. If not, don't waste your money...you can get a more respectful experience by turning up your stereo and playing any of his albums.

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