Gig review: Ryan Adams

American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. Picture: Contributed
American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. Picture: Contributed
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“I LOVE you, Ryan,” hollered an excited female voice midway through the show. “I love you too,” came back the North Carolina troubadour, “and I apologise in advance for all the songs I’ll write about it later.”

Ryan Adams

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall


It was that kind of show and he’s that kind of singer: approachable, amusing, entirely at ease with the sense of hopeless romance he projects through much of his music.

Here he came backed by a four-piece band, casually dressed in ordinary Joe jeans, T-shirts and plaid shirts, yet often it seemed as if Adams was the only man on stage, his low-key acoustic country ballads holding more plaintive weight than some of the twanging, mid-paced rockers he dished out. Highlights from this year’s 14th, self-titled album were My Wrecking Ball, a song which opens on the resonant line “nothing much left in the tank / somehow this thing still drives”, and Shadows, which climaxed with a head-back guitar solo of stadium proportions.

These sat alongside signature tracks like Rats in the Wall and the time-honoured New York, the mournful Why Do They Leave? and the heart-stopping Hammond organ ballad I Love You and I Don’t Know What to Say. He serenaded a security guard with his own song to an amusingly stony response and denied the whole go-off-to-come-on-again encore shtick (“an encore’s where they come down the street to get you in the bar and you say, ‘the steak can wait’”) in favour of conducting the whole crowd in humming the same note.

Erratic but mostly adorable best sums up the singer, the songs and the show.

Seen on 25.09.14