"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


last night in live music: ryan adams

My weekend was some kind of crazy. And busy. On Friday night, I got taken out to a Very Nice Restaurant for a Very Nice Dinner. It was fun; the restaurant has a Silk Road theme and both the food and the company were excellent. Saturday I started moving my stuff to the house in the burbs, where I'm housesitting for the next month or so, and then ran a whole bunch of errands. Then Sunday, after church (with some fine preachin' from Rob "Jeopardy!" Marus), lunch, and more hectic moving-stuff-to-the-edge-of-the-earth (more on that later), I met up with some friends to see Ryan Adams at the Charlottesville Pavillion.

It was a great show. I'd only seen Adams in a festival set, so it was pretty cool to see the real deal. They played 25 songs straight through, then a one-song encore. (Presumably the encore would have been longer, but someone thought it would be funny to throw a beer at one of the techies onstage, so they stopped after "This is It." Oh, well.) The venue is fantastic. You're outside and it's about 20 degrees cooler at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains than it is in the city. Such a pretty evening for a show.

The set featured a LOT of songs from Cold Roses (the title track was amazing) and Jacksonville City Nights (which I've thought was a little cheesy, but "The End" and "A Kiss Before I Go" sounded great live), but he got a couple from Heartbreaker and Love is Hell in there, too. Adams may be slightly unstable, but there's no question that he is a fantastic songwriter and musician. "I See Monsters" alone was worth the drive. As was the very cool breakdown of "To Be Young." The heartbreaking "Meadowlake Street" was just gorgeous. It's the perfect year-after-a-breakup song and last night's rendition was beautiful.

I don't have many complaints, other than that he didn't play a couple of my favorite songs. It was a rowdy crowd, so mournful ballads probably weren't a good choice. "Streets of Baltimore" was a little flat, but then again I just saw Fallen Angel, so nobody seems good enough to cover Gram Parsons right now. And we probably would've been okay with one Dead cover instead of three, but it was a Cold Roses show.

I was really disappointed that there wasn't as much crazy on this year's tour as on last year's, which I missed due to youth camp. Adams talked in funny voices and made fun of blog reviews of his shows, but there weren't any of the playing-records-on-a-turntable antics of the past. Maybe next time.

It was so nice to see a great live show again. I missed live music so much in Congo. And there was a total absence thereof, unless you count the night I stepped out onto the balcony of a hotel room in Rwanda to see what that noise was and discovered that it was a band covering "City of New Orleans." In French. Ryan Adams, you've never subjected us to that. So you can be as crazy as you want to be.


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