Thursday, February 23, 2006

What a Pathetic Display

The Ryan Adams concert on Tuesday night could euphemistically be described as ‘different’ and undoubtedly as 'disappointing'. I was certainly looking forward to seeing Adams, who, if not quite a ‘hero’, is definitely a musician I regard extremely highly. Last year’s trio of albums '29', 'Jacksonville Nights' and 'Cold Roses' emphasised the artist’s prolificacy but also showcased a rare talent for producing incredibly moving, melodic and tender country music. Earlier albums, 'Heartbreaker' and 'Gold' are truly superb too. Tuesday at Bristol’s Colston Hall was awful though. Adams played for almost three hours but a refusal to adhere to a set-list for artistic reasons along with, shall we say, a tendency to behave with a certain eccentricity led to a rambling, disjointed and unsatisfactory event. Too often Adams started a wonderful song only to halt after a minute or so because something or other wasn’t quite right, on one occasion because he realised he had two cigarette lighters in his rear pocket and felt he had to walk off stage to deposit them with a road crew member. He incessantly talked gibberish and spent minutes between songs mumbling and murmuring, moaning and sighing. He indubitably has problems and issues but spending twenty quid and a whole evening being forced to voyeuristically witness them was not what I anticipated or desired. And neither did the other punters: I have never heard so much heckling and disquiet at a gig. A few folk walked out in exasperation and I sympathised. Amid the debris a few moments of clarity and beauty rendered the evening a not total disaster but they were few and far between. 48 hours on, I can reflect calmly on a fairly appalling effort. However, at the time it was like watching a car smash.

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