December 8, 2006

Ryan Adams at NYC’s Town Hall (plus audio!)

DJ Reggie Ryan Adams just finished a three-show run at New York’s Town Hall earlier this week. My friend Dave was at the Wednesday show (where Leona Naess opened -how was that?- and Ryan rocked the glittery platform boots and the inexplicable samurai ponytail) and he sent me the following communique that I thought I’d share with you. Ryan played a killer setlist, even if it was a bit short. I am glad to hear that he is clean and sober and performing strongly. You know, honoring his musical talent and all that.


Well, quick notes on the show last night, which was the strongest since I’ve seen Ryan at the Beacon on his birthday a few years back.

As some remember, last time I saw Ryan 1.5 years ago I walked out three songs into his second set. He was fucked up, a mess, tinkering here, tinkering there. I was 12 feet from the stage and wanted to jump up there and kill him.

So last night walked in with trepidation and sitting on the seat feel of “oh god, when is he going to snap?”

The first set
(audio for the full show is now on the Ryan Adams Archive and Dime A Dozen):

Come Pick Me Up (best show opener ever?)
When The Stars Go Blue
Oh My Sweet Carolina
Love Is Hell
This Is It
Afraid Not Scared
La Cienega Just Smiled

Wow…..7 songs, 7 I love. Hell the first 3 are songs I want to see every time I see him. Knowing he was not repeating these three nights, I had a pretty good feeling after the first 2 nights. I saw a lot left in the tank. His guitar playing is excellent again, and “Love is Hell” and “This is It” were flat out scorching.

Unfortunately, we were subjected to a break, which I hate he’s added. I mean 7 songs and we get a break? Maybe I’m scared since normally this is when Ryan would go smoke 1/2 ounce and drink 2 bottles of red.

Second set:
Wish You Were Here
Judy Garland
Blue Sky Blues
My Winding Wheel
Willow Jane
The Rescue Blues

Another strong start here. 2 more rockers to open. He said before Hallelujah that he has been sober for 7 months, and he’s been playing a lot that he hasn’t played live. Also good comments how he realizes what an asshole he must have been when he wasn’t sober based on what he hears from the crowd at times. “Assholes attract other assholes”

Unfortunately, there was no encore. He did “Rescue Blues,” left the stage, crowd called for one for a few minutes then house lights up. 2 more songs after that point would have made this one of my fav shows of the year.

However, as Marc pointed out, be careful what you wish for as we may have gotten a 25 minute Wharf Rat.

I got good feelings about a sober Ryan now based on this performance. This was the Ryan Adams I became a fan of, and I’m hopeful that next year he’ll continue rediscovering his rock/alt country roots and leaving the dead jams behind.

Other highlights:

- Town Hall is a great, intimate venue.
-First set he had the Ace Frehley boots on, second set the Gene Simmons. How he walks or let alone plays piano in these is beyond me.
-He is equally as strange sober as not. However, so much more focused.
-Crowd was excellent. Dead quiet for the right songs. Only a few idiots, and the obligatory “Freebird” yell.

VIDEO: Final song, Rescue Blues
(more video here from all three nights)

Tagged with .


  • I attended Monday’s show and was absolutely blown away — especially because I too had been at the Beacon show a couple years back. That show was a disaster — it was my first time seeing Ryan and, man, was I disappointed. Thus, I showed up Monday night with serious reservations — which Ryan erased immediately with the first chords of “Magnolia Mountain.” A phenomenal show from start to finish. The band was tight as can be, the acoustics were incredible. Great set list (though, Wednesday’s had me extremely jealous). A memorable night. Best show I’ve seen in years (better than Yorn in Asbury Park by a long shot). Funniest line of the night from Ryan, something along the lines of, “You can take away the booze, but you can’t take away the crazy…”

    kidpags — December 8, 2006 @ 9:24 am

  • glad to hear he’s sobered up and playing better – that’s definitely something he’s needed to do for a while.

    oh, and check out my top 20 records of the year list – I want to know what you think! Are you gonna do one this year?

    Chad — December 8, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

  • when i saw ryan, and note that i drove 10 hours to see him. He was compleatly wasted- i too wanted to kill him. He stoping in the middle of songs to talk to us. But he was funny about it. then after every good song we got intrupted in by his little rants. phil leshe came out on stage for an acoustic jam set of nothings. i as a little dissapointed

    i tryed to spell check this, but nothing came up wrong. but i find that hard to be true…

    Ledbelly — December 8, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

  • I’ve seen Ryan Adams twice, most recently in May of 2005 in Philadelphia. The first time I saw him I loved him, and he was one of my favorite performers at the time I went to see him again. The first set was good, but he was drunk and arguing with the crowd (who were admittedly being jerks, but still) so much in the second set that I finally just left. It’s the only show I’ve ever walked out of before the end. The crowd was getting so tense that I was pretty worried something was going to happen. As it turns out, they booed him off the stage before I even got outside.

    I’m so glad to hear he’s cleaned up. Maybe he’ll win me back as a fan.

    Maggie — December 8, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

  • dem boots are straight dope.

    btw, what a tepid opener in leonna naes (sp?)

    Satisfied '75 — December 8, 2006 @ 4:59 pm

  • yo, h:

    first of all, cool stuff, but RA & The C’s – as he sometimes refers to himself and his band, or at least he’d dones so at Town Hall on NIGHT ONE (THE best show of the trio :)) -have had an intermission since at least Summer of 2005.

    However, on NIGHT ONE (The best show of the trio) he waived it and talked – humourously – through it, as the bootleg also reveals, and the flow was not disrupted in the least.

    NIGHT THREE was like a teaser for a BEST OF release, which I hope he never releases until he’s at least 40 years old.


    Best comments by Ryan during NIGHT ONE (THE best show of the trio) :

    1. Prepare to feel the impact and meaning [said sarcastically, with an emphasis on dry, and more than a dig at those who read too much into sh*t..]

    2. They can take away the booze, but not the *crazy*!

    And, Sean Lennon kicked as*, too.


    -Manhattan Carnivore

    Anonymous — December 11, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

  • oh, i should add, an on & off intermission – nothing static in the least, afaik, iirc, from what i experienced firsthand since seeing him with the cards in 2004.

    -manhattan carnivore

    Anonymous — December 11, 2006 @ 8:24 pm

  • If I ever find the assholes who made Wednesday so short (fucking bro types), I will give Ryan their numbers and hope to hell that he beats the living shit out of them. I felt so horrible for him, watching him try to play the music that is so special to him, while people were mocking him and screaming at him to play songs that they wanted to hear. It was heartbreaking and when he walked off the stage after Rescue Blues, I didn’t feel as jipped as I should have. All I wanted to do was beat the shit out of the people that caused it to happen. Moral of the story: Go see Dave Matthews next time fist pumping, drunk ass, security fighting, pieces of shit.

    Anonymous — December 14, 2006 @ 1:49 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
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