Music review: Ryan Adams, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Ryan Adams may be a bit chippy but his extraordinary voice can hold an audience spellbound, writes Fiona Shepherd

Ryan Adams, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow ****

Ryan Adams has been waiting a long time to play in public, and is only now making a cautious but comprehensive comeback from allegations of sexual misconduct and manipulation made by his ex-wife Mandy Moore and other female musicians.

In 2020, Adams issued an apology for his behaviour, kept his head down and threw himself into recording, releasing a whopping four new albums last year as well as extending his repertoire of covers albums with his takes on Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, Springsteen’s Nebraska and Oasis’s What’s the Story (Morning Glory)? Classics all, but Adams has the nerve and the chops to deliver.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Ryan Adams – vulnerability and piquancyRyan Adams – vulnerability and piquancy
Ryan Adams – vulnerability and piquancy

Only the latter band were referenced in this bumper set but there was a tantalising glimpse of possible next steps when he closed the first half with a double whammy of Iron Maiden tracks, including a sonorous folk pop rendition of Wasted Years.

His Springsteenesque phrasing came into play when he swapped acoustic guitar for a piano rendition of his own New York, New York, keeping his back to the audience.

Even with the lamplight low, Adams’ talent was undimmed. His voice is natural yet extraordinary (the closing note of The Rescue Blues so true and beautiful) and his capacity to deliver a heartbreaking lyric supreme.

For all his chippiness, he remains one of those rare artists who can hold an audience spellbound for hours with only voice, guitar and the occasional squall of harmonica, travelling seamlessly from exposed confessionals to groovy blues and from introverted fusspot to a warm accommodation of the delighted crowd.

English Girls Approximately was followed by Scottish cover emotionally, as Adams aced Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me) – like many of his own songs, he imbued his simple rendition with a carefully calibrated balance of vulnerability and piquancy which was destined not to be forgotten.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.