Ryan Adams, Carling Academy, Glasgow (2/15/06)
I'll apologize in advance if this show has already been posted on one of the many other music blogs out there.. if it has, I haven't noticed.
That said, I wanted to post the show because, to me at least, it perfectly sums up pretty much everything I've come to know about Ryan Adams over the last 7 years or so (I'm focusing solo on his post-Whiskeytown career).
It shows that, when he's focused, his songs can be beautiful and his performance can be flawless (see "Dear Chicago", "Rosebud"). It shows that he's a consummate performer who's both charming and funny (see his discussion of the Scottish accent, his mom's text-messaging).
On the other hand, it also shows that he doesn't quite know when to stop "performing" (see every track labeled "Chat"). And it shows that his uber-self-awareness can lead him to unnecessary breaks or flubs in his performance (see "Wish You Were Here", "Beautiful Sorta"). And his digressions, which start off funny, often go on too long and cause the show to drag, losing momentum.
I've seen Ryan enough times to have come to expect all of these things, and to appreciate it as part of who he is. Despite it all, I still walk away satisfied from his shows, and, on occasion, blown away. But part of me wishes that he could just focus a bit more and provide a more consistent show. He has the ability to do it. Hell, he has the ability to be one of the defining artists of his generation. But he just doesn't seem to be able, or perhaps want, to focus enough to do so.
Whatever... the fact remains that, perfect or not, the man still puts on a damn good show. Not perfect, but damn good. Go listen for yourself. Part 1:
"Don't Get Sentimental On Me"
Chat/Ryan's Mom Likes to Text Message
Chat/The gig plan
Chat/Change from piano to guitar
"Please Do Not Let Me Go"
Chat/Sitting on a capo
"Wish You Were Here"
Re-start on electric
"Who We Were"
"A Kiss Before I Go"
"Why Do They Leave"
Chat/Mom's test again
"La Cienega Just Smiled"
Chat/Gross stuff/"Rosebud" (false start)
Chat/Ryan announces the break