Ryan Adams – March 5th – Olympia Theatre Dublin

To say I was looking forward to the gig would be an understatement. Having been lucky enough to catch him live 5 or 6 times in the past I knew that it was either the cliched moody rocker or the more relaxed jovial Adams, tonight it was the latter that showed up but more about that later. First off was the support act, the fantastic Natalie Prass.

Prass, hailing from Richmond Virginia, took to the stage with her new band (their first show was only 5 weeks ago in Whelan’s) and delivered a very strong set of quirky, melodic country pop from her eponymous debut album on which she was joined by a denim-clad Ryan Adams for 2 tracks on guitar. Her set was warmly received by the crowd and her kookiness shone though, especially on one of her tracks that was dedicated to a miniature Godzilla doll. If you enjoy alt-country with a touch of humour I would highly suggest checking out her album.

Shortly after 9.15 the house lights dimmed and its showtime. Kicking of the night with the opening track from Adam’s 14th studio album, imaginatively entitled Ryan Adams, is the anthemic stadium stomper Gimme Something Good. Without saying a word between songs, we were treated to a collection of gems, both old and new spanning the last 15 years of his career. Blasting through tracks from his time with The Cardinals (Let It Ride) , from his 2011 album Ashes & Fire (Dirty Rain) and a Tom Petty-esque Stay With Me from his new album, Adams started to warm to the crowd a little and you can tell he was beginning to enjoy himself on stage. Shortly after a beautiful rendition of “Dear Chicago” Adams drew possibly the largest cheer of the night by proclaiming ‘I wish I could play here every night of my life’…. Such is Adams popularity here in Ireland; I don’t think we would have a problem with that.

A solo version of My Winding Wheel was accompanied by the crowd singing backing vocals. New York, New York brought a stripped back, reworked version of one of his best loved tracks and most popular track. Peaceful Valley was a bit of a long, overdrawn jam that for me was the only downside of the night before launching into a cover version of one of the support acts tracks ‘Your Fool’ after that out came Prass for a hair-raising rendition of “Oh My Sweet Carolina” from Adams debut album ‘Heartbreaker’ on which you could hear a pin drop.

One thing that people don’t realise about Ryan Adams is just how funny his onstage banter actually is, all evening we had been treated to antidotes about throwing rats from third floor windows, how he and his guitar played had the same drug dealer but they didn’t know each other at the time, electrocuting a praying mantas with electric nose hair trimmers and how when he was younger he set out to see how many albums he could write in the key of E minor but that was until he found “Mr Capo”. Just as the applause died down after ‘Oh my sweet Carolina’ one member of the crowd called out for something from Adams first band, Whiskeytown, Adams, as sharp as a tack possibly “misheard” this request and questioned “What the hell is Rescue Clown?” to which the crowd burst into laughter before Adams launched into an on the spot, totally impromptu “NEW” track called Rescue Clown.

A gorgeous version of La Cienega Just Smiled from Adams 2nd album Gold mesmerised the crowd before launching into a thunderous version of Trouble from his latest offering. A haunting, reverb-laden version of the track “I See Monsters” from 2004’s Love Is Hell Album leads us to the last track of the night. Accompanied by Prass on guitar and Vocals, Adams launches into a stirring rendition of “Come Pick Me Up” has the Olympia on their feet, singing word for word. As the last Chords are strummed, guitars are thrown by the wayside and this being a Ryan Adams show…. what a way to finish a gig than by having a sword fight on stage!! Overall…. an amazing experience from a truly unique, prolific and multi-talented artist.

Set List –
Gimme Something Good
Let It Ride  – (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals cover)
Stay With Me
Dirty Rain
This House Is Not For Sale
Dear Chicago
Everybody Knows
My Winding Wheel
Magnolia Mountain  – (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals cover)
New York, New York
My Wrecking Ball
I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say
Peaceful Valley  (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals cover)
Your Fool  – (Natalie Prass cover)
Oh My Sweet Carolina  – (with Natalie Prass
Rescue Clown (improv)
La Cienega Just Smiled
I See Monsters
Come Pick Me Up  – (with Natalie Prass)