For those of you who are not Ryan Adams fans, you might not have heard that he is doing complete cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album (the entire album).
Kind of odd, but the 15 seconds clips he has been sharing have sounded pretty good.
He released his cover of Bad Blood late last week. Not a huge fan of this song (due to all the media coverage guessing who it is about), but I appreciate Adams’ attempt to strip it down and add some stank to the glossy production.
6. Ryan Adams makes the perfect alternative Glastonbury-closer
Vast swathes took to either the Pyramid Stage see icons The Who or to The Other Stage to have their faces raved off by The Chemical Brothers. We fancied something a little different, so took one last emotional walk to the top of the hill.
What better way to end Glastonbury than with an emotional outro from R’Adams with the ones you love? Opening with ‘Gimme Something Good’ before giant amp stacks and arcade machines, Dr Adams played up the theatrical setting of the Park Stage and its flaming towers, with a set of heartbroken balladry and bad-ass guitar god noodling.
It was a set of relentless Glasto-friendly highlights, the most fitting being the youthful decadence of ‘To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)’, the firey regret of ‘Kim’ and ‘Stay With Me’, and naturally the ever-enchanting ‘New York, New York’ and ‘Come Pick Me Up’. Sealed with the kiss of the country-prog of ‘Magnolia Mountain’ and the unexpected and heart-wrenching encore of his now classic cover of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, he couldn’t have done more. It’s a shame that more didn’t see it, but to those who did, it was a set never to be forgotten. (AT)
And just in case BBC does take it down, here is an official clip (only one song):
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.
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.
When Ryan Adams announced he was taking a break a few years ago I really wondered if he was going to play live again. Articles about Meniere’s disease and burn out made it seem like it could be a long time before a tour would be a reality. In the spring, Ryan announced select dates in Europe and I started putting away some money for a trip to California (Europe was too expensive, and I figured he might do a few dates near his home), he surprised many with a full blown tour. Long story short: I get to see him twice this year, as you can see in this review, I have no complaints.
[Opening Act: Jason Isbell]
Normally, I do a little research on opening acts, but I have been so busy with work that I completely forgot to do it. When Jason Isbell walked on stage and announced he was Muscle Shoals, Alabama I whispered to my wife “I wonder if he is in The Drive By Truckers” thanks to an piece I heard about them on NPR. He quickly confirmed my suspicions.
Isbell was sublime. I am so glad that I didn’t know much about him or his material because I had a chance to absorb his performance without any expectations. He is an outstanding guitar player and singer. Isbell has a natural way of bantering with the audience that comes from experience. Jason did a song that was based on a conversation with his dad that really sent a shiver up my spine. I can’t wait to get home and track down this guy’s back catalog because he is such a good songwriter.
[The Main Event: Ryan Adams]
Ryan Adams was excellent in every way last night. Since the venue held under 1,000 people and the show was billed as an acoustic performance, it was a very intimate. The one thing that stood out to me (after having gone to several Ryan Adams concerts) – is just how good his voice sounded. Ryan’s ability to convey emotion through his voice is often overlooked in favor of his prolific songwriting, but his voice might be the greatest weapon in his arsenal.
This was most definitely a thank you show to the fans. He played the perfect mix of “greatest hits”, new tunes, and fan favorites. Since he was solo, he tweaked several songs to make up for the lack of a band. The subtle changes were welcome and kept me listening for the changes. Ryan did a really nice solo at the end of “I see Monsters” that was new but fit perfectly. I am not going to rattle off every tune Adams played, but I am happy to have witnessed live performances of “Winding Wheel” and his piano version of “New York, New York” (they were awesome).
Ryan bantered with the crowd throughout the show. There was no tension. A few people in the crowd shouted out requests, but Ryan took it in stride and moved on with his set list. He broke out several improvised songs about people moving around going to the bathroom (it was funny, he kept asking them to come back, “Its not 2004!”). And the end of the main set, Adams soaked in the applause of the crowd. I have been to several Ryan Adams concerts in the past where he ran off the stage at the end of the show, it was nice to say thank you properly this time.
Ryan came back out and did a few tunes with Jason Isbell. He ended the show with an old Whiskeytown song “Jacksonville Skyline” – it was a fitting and satisfying ending to a memorable performance.. This show was a mutual love note between Ryan and the crowd and I am really glad I had a chance to witness it.
I can’t do a concert review without sharing crowd experiences. I thought I was going to break the curse last night and not have any issues with an audience member because this was a fan oriented show. Wrong. There were four girls in front of us that talked THE ENTIRE TIME. At first the main offender was trying to keep it low, so it was easy to ignore her, but as the night progressed they all got sloppy drunk. She had to sing every song. She was told several times to quiet down, but as they got drunker she just laughed. Did I want to push her down the steps at the end of the night? I can’t say (yes). Oh well – at least she knew the words…
Ryan posted this clip from the show on his facebook page