Ryan Adams is one of my favourite artists, always consistently good (although sometimes needs a little editing) on both record and live. What has made Ryan stand out in the past are his maverick tendencies and edginess to his performances. Whether with a full band or acoustic you are never entirely sure what you are going to get but in the main he has delivered. So Ryan Adams of 2015 is clean sober and recently separated from his wife and we wait with anticipation for what we are about to receive.
The stage is festooned with all sorts of crap from stars and stripes flags to stuffed tigers. It’s a five piece tonight with an added organ to the usual mix of guitars, drum and bass. What follows is an immaculately performed set by a tight band of some great songs. But, it’s all a little one paced set to a medium tempo with little light and shade and no real standout moments. The songs kinda blend into one with the occasional guitar solo thrown in although even these feel restrained.
The set covers most of his career with a good chunk from his two classic albums Heartbreaker and Gold with ‘Come Pick Me Up’ and ‘When the Stars Go Blue’ raising the bar above what has been set for the rest of evening. There’s minimal banter with the crowd although a heckler is given short shrift and there’s an amusing improvised song about Indiana Jones but there’s no real energy either on or off the stage. He is joined on stage for a couple of songs by support act Natalie Prass who's easy on the eye and easy on the ear and they harmonise well together.
It’s a difficult gig to summarise with the songs all skilfully delivered by a great set of musicians but it felt a little soulless. It’s ultimately disappointing and this one won’t live long in the memory so let’s start a campaign to get Ryan back on the booze and getting laid to get his mojo back.