Concert Review: Ryan Adams @ The Academy of Music (Philadelphia)

( @TheRyanAdams, #Philadelphia )

Image Credit: Ryan Adams

Opening Act: Jessica Lea Mayfield
Date: Saturday, December 2nd, 2011
Location: Academy of Music – Philadelphia, Pa

This is the second time I have seen Mr. Adams this year. My wife and I took a trip to California two months ago when it was unclear if Ryan was going to do a tour of the East Coast, not that I am complaining, any excuse to go to California is a good one. You can check my review of the California show right here.

When I found out that Ryan was playing the Academy, I was excited. It is a place that lends itself to good concert behavior and the acoustics are fantastic. Just to get it out of the way, everything about the venue was great last night and I am always glad to see a show there.

[Opening Act: Jessica Lea Mayfield]

My friend Jack commented on how great her guitar sounded last night (really good tone). I wanted to make sure that I started off with a compliment before I got into any kind of critique. I don’t want to be overly harsh, but Mayfield’s songs all sounded similar and had a similar theme which took away from the performance (until the last song where she mixed it up a bit with little yip).

Mayfield has a nice voice and certainly wasn’t intimidated by the Philadelphia crowd, but she would do herself a service by introducing faster tempo songs about anything other than bad boyfriends, I really think she would shine with a band or at least another person on stage to banter with.

[Main Event]

Ryan came out and went right to business. The Philadelphia crowd was much more vocal than the California audience (no shock there), but at least my wife and I were not sitting in front of a group of drunk girls. Ryan definitely mixed up the set list between shows (yes, he did play “Come Pick Me Up”, now we can all shut up about it).

He knocked out excellent renditions of “Sylvia Plath”, “Dear Chicago” and “English Girls Approximately”, but the whole show was outstanding and (not to repeat myself) a love note to the fans. I thought his banter in California was great, but he turned it up a notch in Philadelphia. Adams went on this whole riff about Ghost Hunters when his guitars went out of tune and then connected it into making fun of loud audience members (you know there is always that one dude who has to be heard).
Adams left the stage and quickly came back out for an encore. He was going to play another 30 minutes but his main set went long and the teamsters shut him down. He managed to knock out a surprisingly earnest rendition of Ratt’s “Round and Round”.

Another fantastic show by one of the best song writers in the business.

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