A meltdown? Hardly. As Ryan Adams, with the Cardinals in tow, swung through Minneapolis for the second time in 3 months last Thursday, his appearance was met with mixed reviews. If you weren’t able to attend last week’s (September 27) State Theatre show, chances are you’ve read recaps from Strib critics Chris Riemenschneider and Jon Bream or somehow caught wind of Ryan’s apparent tantrum via an article that has been syndicated by most online news orgs.
While Adams’ previous behavior in the Twin Cities hasn’t always been sterling (in no way can I condone the “lambasting” of Paul Westerberg, but it was 4 years ago – let bygones be bygones), presumed stage-antics aren’t a far-off postulation. However, I reckon the “official” appraisals were undoubtedly a bit left of center. I suppose it doesn’t come as much of a surprise…meltdowns make for good stories, yeah?
Truth – The band only played a total of 15 songs, and didn’t return for an encore. However, it amounted to an hour plus set, and was hardly a half-assed performance. Adams was back in action (an unfortunate skateboard stunt gone awry and had him out of commission with an injuredwrist on this summer’s intimate acoustic tour) and was on form with stunning renditions of old favorites like “Rescue Blues”, “Goodnight Hollywood Blvd” and “Dear Chicago” – certainly crowd favorites. The set was light on Easy Tiger tracks, including only “Two” and “Goodnight Rose”. Though I certainly would have appreciated an encore, it was preceded by a “Thank you! This is our last song.” Fair warning, I say.
Falsity – he was upset with his new sound engineer, and accordingly, “pitched a fit” and stalked off stage. The newly sober Adams was anything but temperamental. In fact, he was good-natured and polite. He joked around with crowd members shouting mumbled requests, and even at one point apologized for the minor sound difficulties – something to the extent of, “We’ve just gotten a new sound engineer. Thanks for bearing with us, you all are so patient and kind.”
Perhaps we’ve just been spoiled. Those of us lucky enough to attend the 450 capacity show at the Cedar Cultural Center back on June 18th (I delved deep into my already depleted funds for these tickets) had our expectations far exceeded. We were enraptured by the banter, jokes, self-deprecation and, most importantly, the spot-on set. Although the same obvious charm didn’t translate completely to last Thursday’s show, his behavior can by no stretch of the word be afforded the classification of “meltdown.” Come on, Jon Bream, play nice.
I recently got a hold of a copy of aforementioned show at the Cedar. It’s a great quality bootleg, so I’ve included a couple of my favorite performances from the night for listening up above.
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