|10/15/02||Ryan Adams||Set List (working on order):||Previous|
|Vic Theater||Intro by WXRT's Marty Lennartz||Next|
|Oh My Sweet Carolina|
|Sweet Lil' Gal (23rd/1st)|
|To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)|
|The Fools We Are As Men|
|<Ryan plays along to Madonna "Like A Virgin">|
|My Winding Wheel|
|When The Stars Go Blue|
|<Attendee Aaron sings along to Minor Threat "Filler">|
|Ryan Cello / Violin musical composition|
|Call Me On Your Way Back Home|
|The Rescue Blues|
New Song Debut :
|English Girls Approximately|
|Come Pick Me Up|
1:30 a.m., in the alley after the show, with crowd of 15 watching:
|Monday Night **|
|Rock Critic Review:|
|Ryan Adams has a big mouth that suits him best when he's singing. The man talks big like rock royalty at the not quite ripe age of 28, presenting himself with the smug swagger of a young Bob Dylan, the x-factor mystery of Gram Parsons and the troublemaking attitude of vintage Paul Westerberg. Add a touch of tortured artist syndrome and the whole package can be insufferable. But if Adams were any more middle of the road he would be a dotted yellow line, and although Adams aims for the impact of those aforementioned iconoclasts, at his best he's a mere pretender. Fortunately, as far as pretenders go, Adams is not half bad, but his rise to prominence has been hindered by a trail of empty bottles and several proudly brandished black eyes, both figurative and literal. Though ostensibly promoting "Demolition," his disc of polished demos, Adams was hardly on target at the Vic Tuesday night, the first of two sold-out shows. Who knows what he was on. "Note to self: don't take drugs before the show," muttered Adams in the middle of a ridiculously self-indulgent performance that found the restless and reckless singer comically unfocused and rambling. With a grand piano gracing the stage and a few acoustic guitars around it, the evening looked set for something special. But while Adams eventually did get around to playing some stripped down songs, those fans that paid expecting to hear music were surely disappointed. Those that paid to watch Adams goof around, however, were surely elated. A hyperactive train wreck, Adams played around with an R2-D2 radio, trying to tune in a jazz station. He told bad jokes from a $2 book he bought on the road, and propelled a remote control car around the stage. And all this took place not between songs, but the other way around, Adams' antics only occasionally interrupted by music. What little he played was gorgeous, ranging from the sterling "When the Stars Go Blue" and "My Winding Wheel" to a reverb-laden solo rendition of "To Be Young." But these musical moments were few and far between. Adams was more likely to toy with a moody, piano-driven cover of the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" or prompt the crowd to sing along with a scratchy LP of Madonna's "Like A Virgin," which he spun on a record player on stage. Later, Adams' invited a fan to scream along with Minor Threat's "Filler" while he hopped off the stage to get a drink. Either Adams was going though the motions of self-destruction or embarking on the real thing, but either way the exhibition was as sad as it was funny. Maybe next time he'll get around to fulfilling some of his untapped potential instead of sabotaging it.|
Critic Review Chicago Sun-Times
October 17, 2002:
|As a cultural lightning
rod, Ryan Adams is no Eminem. But he is a deeply polarizing figure among
rock fans, who either love or love to hate him. His proponents call him a
roots-rock wunderkind, his detractors say he's a self-obsessed enfant
terrible, and to judge by his Tuesday gig--the first of a two-night stand
at the Vic for which every ticket was long since sold--both camps are spot
on. His current tour supports his third solo album,
"Demolition," a disc drawn from several informal sessions Adams
recorded over the previous year and a half. It's supposedly intended for
completists only, and that's a
misconception; "Demolition" boasts the strongest songs and most immediate performances that Adams has recorded in years. Almost entirely absent of the middle-of-the-road mush that padded last year's Grammy-nominated "Gold," the new disc even finds Adams indulging in irascible rock that recalls his old band, Whiskeytown.
Unfortunately, he played none of those new rockers Tuesday. In fact, he offered just two cuts from "Demolition." Both were highlights. Lushly backed by violin, cello and a steel resonator guitar played by his burly, bearded stage tech, Adams opened the set with a rich version of "Tomorrow," and later turned out a take on "Dear Chicago" that nearly matched the breathtaking beauty of the recorded version. (The latter tune, with its closing refrain, "I think I've fallen out of love with you," supposedly closes the book on the romantic obsession that fueled "Heartbreaker," his 2000 solo debut.) An Adams fan would say Ryan's choice to mostly ignore "Demolition" proves only the depth of the Adams catalog, offering as evidence his dirty-blues revision of "To Be Young"; faithful renditions of the melodic weepers "Oh My Sweet Carolina," "Come Pick Me Up" and the unreleased folkie tune "English Girls." A critic could counter that the same choice suggests Adams hasn't licked his chronic inability to separate songwriting wheat from chaff. That flaw flummoxed both "Heartbreaker" and "Gold"; yet onstage Adams plowed through such sappy claptrap as "Sweet Lil Gal" and "Amy," the sophomoric "Sylvia
Plath" and the simply gooey "When the Stars Go Blue." By no means was Adams all sad-sack seriousness, however. Sitting at the piano, he devoted great chunks of time to reading from a joke book. His impromptu comic riffs zinged Toby Keith and Keith Richards, imagined Joe Pesci as Han Solo, and debated the merits of Warren G vs. Snoop Dogg. But oddest of all were his antics spurred by a turntable perched onstage:
Pulling from a stack of records, he spun Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and jammed along on guitar. Later he cued up Minor Threat's "Filler," yanked a fan onstage to shout the lyrics, then jumped down himself and joined the crowd for a drink at the theater's back bar.
Questionable set list and goofball shenanigans aside, the gig answered a few things for certain. Among them: Adams is a remarkable vocalist; whether warbling falsetto in "My Winding Wheel" or yodeling the Hank Williams chestnut "Lovesick Blues," he showed himself a worthy heir to the velvet-voiced country-rock martyr Gram Parsons. The Williams cover also displayed his skills as an interpreter--chops that Adams earlier flashed in reinventing the Stones standard "Brown Sugar" as a slow, intense piano
blues. Anders Smith Lindall is a locally based free-lance writer.
|Fan Review by David Sadowski:|
I've read several reviews from Ryan's current short tour, and it seems
like some rock critics are a bit confused by it. Yes, they like the
"seriousness" of the music that gets played, but they decry the
gentle-natured goofing around that he does in between. This has led
some of them to say that he's self-indulgent, or, even worse,
Nothing could be further from the truth... last night's show at The Vic here in Chicago was marvelous, and thoroughly enjoyed by the sellout crowd.
Before fans were let in to the venue, where the main floor had been
retrofitted with reserved seating, Ryan was out in the alley, playing with a remote control toy car which later tooled around the stage at one point.
Despite having been billed on tix as a 7:30 show, the start time was changed to 8:30. Tegan and Sara, 20ish twin sisters from Canada, opened with an engaging 45 minutes. They've been described as folkies, but one played an electric while the other had an acoustic. They have nice tunes and seem pretty charming. I plan on buying their record at tonight's show. During their set, Ryan came out to play lead guitar on a couple of their tunes.
After the break, Ryan came on for an excellent two hour set, very much the same setlist that people in other cities have heard. He moved back and forth between guitar and piano, played sometimes alone and sometimes with a few others. In addition to the violinist and cellist (who played on a half-dozen or so songs) guitar tech "Chief" played on a few, as did Tegan and Sara.
These were excellent renditions of many of Ryan's best tunes, mostly, it seemed from Heartbreaker, but a few each from Gold and Demolition. (I'll post a setlist later.) Ryan and friends played very quietly, with much less volume than the opening act. In general, the fans were very quiet and respectful, but we were near the bar at the back of the hall, and that wasn't completely quiet.
The audience actually dug the wild and crazy stunts, Ryan playing along to Madonna's "Like a Virgin," then bringing up a volunteer to sing along to "Filler" by Minor Threat (who the hell are they?) while he jumped into the audience and walked over to the back bar for a drink.
Yes, his between song banter and antics were silly and goofy but that, and his talent, are all part of the charm. The performances were to die for. He even had nice things to say about Wilco (as well as the Mekons and Bloodshot Records).
One special highlight was AMY. I don't know if he's been playing this one in other cities on the tour (Dear Chicago, also about Amy Lombardi, got a big reaction here naturally) but if he's going to play it anywhere, it might as well be here, where she lives.
The shows on this tour are not to be missed. If anyone can still
scrounge a ticket, I say GO, by all means. By show's end, 99% of the crowd were still in their seats... hardly anyone left early despite what you might've read.
Someday, after people have heard the recordings, these shows will be appreciated for what they are... forget what the critics have said, and GO.
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