Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ryan Adams Navigates the Death Star

You know it's going to be an interesting evening when you end up sitting on a bar stool next to a DJ from a major Twin Cities radio station and across from a concert promoter for First Avenue. [For those of you not from Minnesota, First Avenue is "the" place to see concerts in the Twin Cities and the bar where Prince shot scenes from "Purple Rain" back in the day.] Listening in on their conversation at a local bar filled with aging-hipsters (and chic Moms) just steps from the University of Minnesota, I realized that I need to see more live music. Between them these two had seen every major show that had come through the Twin Cities in the last two weeks. How do I get a job like that?

Turns out the DJ and concert gal were also headed over to see the Ryan Adams concert. Ryan Adams certainly isn't in U2  or Adele concert realm of superstardom, but he has a storied concert past with his Minneapolis shows. I was curious to see what he would do on stage, and I have recently come to really enjoy his music.
Photo courtesy of Jon Bream

The flow of Adams concerts (at least here in Minneapolis) tend to run on his own time. History repeated itself. It was a Monday night,  and a full house of folks who had to get up for work in the morning—those same aging hipsters and chic Moms from the bar. The clock crept up on 10 pm. Finally 45 minutes after the opening act, Ryan Adams made it on stage apologizing, "Sorry we got lost trying to find the stage. It's like the *@!*ing  Death Star back there!" At last launching into his latest single "Gimme Something Good."

An hour and 45 minutes of music from his new album—appropriately titled "Ryan Adams" in the same font as the 1987 "Brian Adams" album— along with a couple of covers from his days with The Cardinals, a cover of Brian Adams' "Run to You," and some classics. "I See Monsters" was exceptional. He has an amazing voice when he sings. However there was lots of banter about Twitter, apps, guitar tuning, ginger ale, his hair misbehaving, and aging. Adams is at the ripe old age of 40.

A concert-going first for me...no one stood up and danced. Not even those fans in the front row. Maybe we were all tired from a long day and just happy to have Ryan Adams transport us somewhere else for a little while.

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