Adams charming and fun
There’s a lot of modern-day folklore surrounding Ryan Adams. He’s grumpy, he’s dark, he’s depressing. If you believe the rumours, he’s thrown people out of his shows for talking, drinking or asking him to play Summer of 69.
But going on last week’s outing at The Civic in Auckland, that is all rubbish.
Adams has been here before, a couple of times. And always with a band and a new attitude. This time there was no band; just the man, a guitar, piano if he chose, and that voice.
It should have been a true hallelujah moment, edge- of- your- seat hushed beauty, as Adams marked his return to the stage after years off struggling with the debilitating Meniere’s disease. But he ruined that. He ruined it by being in a chatty, charming, engaging mood.
More than the music, he was fun and the banter was almost better than the songs. He retold recent tales of hotel jackhammers, gym outings with a man who resembled ‘‘Robert de Niro as a hawk’’ and sang an utterly brilliant song about his cat.
When you strip away the myth of the man, you are left with something quite brilliant. Of course he is a wonderful song-writer, but alone on that stage it is Adams’ voice that stuns.
With the opening lines of Sweet Carolina ringing out in the theatre, no-one dared move – all that could be heard was that voice and the squeaking of its owner’s chair.
That reverence stayed the same over the next two hours as the one-time bad-boy of alt-country journeyed through his extensive back catalogue, right back to the song 16 from his Whiskeytown days, through to last year’s return to form Ashes and Fire.
He got lively for English Girls Approximately, he stripped it back for New York, New York, he induced goose bumps with Come Pick Me Up, he finished on Alice In Chains’ Nutshell.
Adams was a man in perfect voice, who wanted to have fun and seemed genuinely happy to be back on the stage singing the songs people adore. It seems it might be time for a new folklore to be written. stuff
FOLKLORE: Singer Ryan Adams thrilled audiences with his unique voice last week.