July 27, 2007 - The Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA
review and photos by Nate Manning
Ryan Adams is one of those performers where you are never quite sure who you are going to see. Is it going to be the punk/rock “full of piss and vinegar” Ryan? Will it be the sarcastic, admonish-the-audience Ryan? Or the more mellow songwriter that is there to play, really play, and for the audience to listen. All three “versions” of Ryan are certainly entertaining to watch and to listen to, but given the artist’s most recent album, Easy Tiger, and the night’s venue, the latter of the three would seem most likely.
Foregoing the normal banter and storytelling typical of previous shows, Ryan and his band played for almost an hour before he addressed the crowd other than a “Nice to see you again” as he walked on stage. Different from previous shows, this was a band performance--not just Ryan with a backing band he’d put together. Instead of taking center stage in front of the band, Ryan chose to play back with the other members, arranged in a straight line across the stage. Several people in the back of the theater asked “Is that Ryan on the left or right?” Perhaps this configuration was to focus on the songs and the delivery by a band, which is definitely the feeling one got from this show. Ryan played material from previous albums as well as songs from the new album. Songs such as “Cold Roses,” “Caroline,” “Blue Sky Blues,” and “Easy Plateau” resonated with the evening's quite diverse audience.
One bit of attitude did show up--and rightly so--about an hour an half into the set. There was a lull for a minute as the band got some issue taken care of on stage and, as Seattle audiences often do, the crowd began to yell song requests and other directives. It wasn’t overly obnoxious, perhaps a bit, but was enough for Ryan to man a bullhorn and say “If you’ll have 5 seconds of fucking patience, we’ll start the next song!” This of course garnered applause from the audience--presumably from those NOT yelling song requests.
Overall, the show was great--longer instrumental portions, some new material, some older, and a chance to just listen to a band deliver material that they felt like was worth listening to. And, if someone misses the snotty, punk/Americana Ryan, Whiskeytown records and other solo material is available at your local record store, as this was not that kind of night.