Ryan Adams (with band) @ Royal Albert Hall, London for Teenage Cancer Trust

 

  • Ryan’s first show with band in over four years
  • Benmont Tench on piano, introduced by Ryan:  “We’ll be playing some songs from Heartbreaker tonight, but this man is a real fucking Heartbreaker.”  Don Was on bass, Cindy Cashdollar played pedal steel, Jeremy Stacey was on drums and, naturally, Ethan Johns was on guitar.
  • I’m not sure how long the band have been playing together, or if they ever will again, but they sounded tight as fuck.  Like this was their thousandth performance with Ryan, rather than the first.
  • I liked how the new songs were tweaked and given a new personna.  Do I Wait was played electric and had this great Crazy Horse vibe to it.  Don Wass nailed the double bass on Invisible Riverside and Tench did this beautiful little water fill thing on Dirty Rain.
  • The old songs were brought back and given new life, too.  Nobody Girl was an unexpected treat and Ethan pulled off this fucking incredible solo at the end of it which totally rocked.  Even Fix It was enjoyable, and I loathe Cardinlology.  I think Ryan funked it up a little with his solo.
  • They played a couple of new songs from the proposed Autumn album.  Where I Meet You In My Mind (possibly) was a beautiful track with a pretty little riff. It reminded me a LOT of early Dylan with Ryan doing a kind of soft talking blues thing where the words almost run into each other over the lines
  • The other, more a 50’s diner or a Twenty-Nine sound. Think it was called Shadows, or In The Shadows Again. He introduced it by asking us to “imagine you are a vampire and you’re driving across town to kill this werewolf, or something.” About sums it up.
  • Sometimes I’m not sure if the improvised songs are truly improvised. Like last night, as he often does, he mis-heard a call from the audience as “loaf of bread” which, naturally, led to a three minute ballad called Loaf of Bread. The band picked it up almost immediately – which was either because it wasn’t truly improvised or they’re really fucking good. I did kinda like the line “our love turned to rust, I always told you I like to cut off the crust.”
  • It wasn’t all band and he did a couple of solo songs too, including the most magnificent performance of English Girls Approximately I think he’s ever given. His vocals were superb, and I think their impact was greatened by some deftly understated guitar.
  • I think I expected a bit more from the setlist. Too much Ashes & Fire and not enough Gold or Whiskeytown. I thought there might have been a bit more variety than at the acoustic shows the last two years. But that’s being picky, because this was a really, really great gig. The band were incredible and the new album sounds promising on the evidence of the two tracks showcased here. Praying these guys play with him again.
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