July 22, 2007

Ryan Adams melts the collective face of Santa Cruz

Ryan Adams was back in fine form last night in Santa Cruz, playing a relentless three-hour electric set and rocking the plaid pants and a Celtic Frost t-shirt. The show at the Catalyst Club was general admission, so I was most excited about this show (the other ones to come this week are all seats); my favorite kind of show energy comes from a packed-in standing audience.

I knew it was going to be a good night when we ducked into the club bar hours before doors to use the restroom. Thanks to our fearless reconaissance, we got back into the stage section and were able to see part of the soundcheck before a member of our contingent got the willies about being caught and we scampered out — we saw mostly noodling and some of Cold Roses. But it was clear even from what we saw that Ryan was loose and happy and in fine form and we were stoked for the show.

The show was so long and my company so lovely that I am having some trouble remembering the setlist, but highlights for me included an absolutely scorching, riveting, insane version of “I See Monsters” (if I need one mp3 from this whole show, it’s gotta be that one), “Dear Chicago,” “Please Do Not Let Me Go,”and I think “Let It Ride” all the way at the end (to the point, well-done, never get tired of that song). I couldn’t hear the banter, but according to someone else he “played a 5 second song about Teen Wolf (why are you so sad?), joked about Neil’s fancy pants and cracked a few Matlock jokes (always on time).”

A picture of the setlist had some awesome titles included like Ming Dynasty, Egyptology, Beautiful Sorta Mellow Yellow, and Frozen By The Naked Witches (I am so not making this up) but the set we actually got sounded like this:

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals
2007-07-21 The Catalyst
Santa Cruz, CA
What Sin
Please Do Not Let Me Go
Dear Chicago
Goodnight Rose
Cold Roses
Beautiful Sorta
Bartering Lines
Magnolia Mountain


Pearls On A String
Peaceful Valley (video here)
Trouble On Wheels
Arkham Asylum
I See Monsters (video here)
A Kiss Before I Go
Oh My God, Whatever, Etc
Dear John
The End
Blue Hotel
Wild Flowers
Band Introductions
Let It Ride
Easy Plateau (a little bit of my video here)
I Taught Myself How To Grow Old

You can stream the show here

On our way over the hill to the show, we were discussing what era Ryan was our favorite, and what kind of show we wish we could have seen in incarnations of years past. The three of us in the car were apparently all rockers at heart, and the consensus went back and forth between Love Is Hell, Rock N Roll and Demolition if we had to pick just one era to see live.

On the way home my muddled mind was going over the show as I watched the yellow divider lines on the highway flick past, and I felt satisfied with the set because it was kinda the rocker Ryan coming back out in the jam-country he’s favoring lately, if that makes sense. He was on it, in his element. Playing that electric guitar with reverence and fire. Even though there were some prolonged jams, which (last night at least) I lack the attention span for, he took the rocker vibe, blended it heavy in with the Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights material, and just let it ride all night long.

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  • Personally, I vote for 2000-2001 when Whiskeytown was in its final stages and Ryan was out on the road with Chuck Prophet & Kim Richey.

    I saw WT play the Cat’s Cradle on New Year’s Eve in 1999. It was a great way to spend Y2K.

    Steve — July 22, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

  • here she is…

    rustafarian — July 22, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

  • He’s coming back to Glasgow in December. Hurrah!

    lism. — July 23, 2007 @ 2:44 am

  • Hmm mine would be more recently 2005-2006…

    2005/06/03 – Northern Lights, Clifton Park, New York and 2006/10/11 – Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway were both amazing shows with insane setlists….plus that three night stint at NY Town hall was pretty damn cool

    and on the subject of Ryan I think you might like this guy: http://www.myspace.com/rockyvotolato
    one of the best albums I’ve bought this year

    Ament — July 23, 2007 @ 3:07 am

  • i still say my favorite ryan era was “the sweetheart revolution” times of late-2001, early-2002. great setlist. rockin songs. not as jammy as today. but definitely more upbeat and fun than the “heartbreaker” stuff (not that thats not great). anyway, the sweetheart revolution was playing the stuff off “Gold,” but also alot of the stuff that later came out on “Demolition” or didn’t come out at all. just check out some of these setlists on answeringbell.com

    lewislfowler — July 23, 2007 @ 7:27 am

  • I don’t why people slam Rock N Roll. I love that record, it feeds my impression of the NY downtown scene in the waning days of the post-9/11 Strokes era. Actually I slammed Rock N Roll when it first came out because it wasn’t Love is Hell, but it has grown and grown on me in the years since. Love Burning Photographs and The Drugs Not Working.

    Anyway, sounds like a great show at the Catalyst Club, glad you saw him recharged.

    lbc — July 23, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  • ah that’s too bad the Santa Cruz show is one of those rock shows and the SF show isn’t gonna be one.

    Regardless, this gets me kinda excited to see it and I hope my recording comes out okay.

    Dave — July 23, 2007 @ 8:18 am

  • Saw the Berkeley show last night and wasn’t impressed. Too many repetitious, jam songs that sound like he and the band are just robots fed punch cards with the notes to every rock’n'roll, bluegrass, country, Grateful Dead song and then asked to spit it back out again. Nothing particularly wrong with the songs or the performance except a distinct lack of any soul or humanity or credibility. Too many songs that sounded exactly alike strung together one after another. By the time he did decide to pick up the pace a little, it was too late. The Berkeley crowd seemed asleep, proven by the occasional belligerent shouts that were less like encouragement than simply a means to ward off drowsiness. The sound was muddy and silibant at the same time. No encore. No enthusiasm. Couple this one with the meandering mess of the Palace of Fine Arts show and I’m done. Ultimately, I’ve never liked the Grateful Dead and that’s what Ryan seems intent on becoming. I have no energy to buy album after album packed with filler to root out the one or two good songs. Until there is a Whiskeytown reunion, I’m done.

    Anonymous — July 25, 2007 @ 11:41 am

  • “Nothing particularly wrong with the songs or the performance except a distinct lack of any soul or humanity or credibility.”

    wow, I couldn’t disagree more…I guess it’s a good thing for the true fans that you’ll be avoiding his shows in the future.

    In my book, it was the best RA show I’ve seen so far, and I’ve seen a lot. The band was grooving together, Ryan was in great spirits, and it was a stellar show.

    Wish I’d had the chance to meet up, Heather!


    Laura — July 25, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

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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..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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