Concert Review: Ryan Adams at Northrop Auditorium – Minneapolis, MN – October 13, 2014

Published by Joe Stadele, 10/16/2014.
Photos courtesy Joe Stadele.

Ryan Adams Minneapolis ©JSP2014 (10)“Sorry we got lost trying to find the stage,” Ryan Adams apologized as he and his band, The Shining, took stage. “For real, we couldn’t find the fucking stage! This place is like the g**damn Death Star!” (In Adams defense, the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium can be confusing to navigate, especially with its soundproof doors.). With a quick laugh to break the ice, Ryan Adams and The Shining aimed to please with the lead single (off Adams’ new self-titled album) “Gimme Something Good.”

With a set as unpredictable as the stage banter, the show was lengthy on Adams’ catalog and short on new material (in part, due to the stage banter). The band was impressively cohesive, playing Adams catalog with precision while also leaving enough room for jazz-like improvisation. “Peaceful Valley” approached into jam band territory as the band took turns building and releasing guitar parts. The Shining transformed the quiet “I See Monsters” into an epic rocker. Adams and his producer/guitarist/vocalist Mike Viola harmonized gorgeously during “Cold Roses,” “A Kiss Before I Go” and “Easy Plateau.”

All along, Adams’ voice was front and center. “New York, New York” took on an intimate vibe as the band quietly accompanied Adams’ acoustic strumming. The lead man gave his cohorts a “party” break, as he grabbed his lyric book and moved to upstage microphone decorated in white lights. With a ninja-like assist from roadie, Rocky, Adams propped his lyric book up on a chair as he sung an intimate “English Girls Approximately” and “Wrecking Ball.” Growing horse towards the end of the set, Adams pushed his voice one last time for a crowd pleasing cover of none other Bryan Adams’ ” Run To You” and show closer, “Come Pick Me Up.”

Admittedly, it was great to see Adams put an end to the snarky Bryan Adams – “play “Summer of ‘69”’ comments accompanying shows over the years. In fact, he has embraced it head on; Not only mimicking the cover art of Bryan Adam’s Reckless on his new self-titled album, but covering the Canadian musician in recent shows. Monday’s rendition of “Run to You” was no different; welcomed with applause, laughter, and a bit of awe.

Ryan Adams Minneapolis ©JSP2014 (18)“There’s going to be a lot of human being moments tonight in the show. It’s going to almost be like I came out here like a regular human being and just wanted to fucking play some music for some friends,” Adams joked as he strummed the intro to “New York, New York” on his acoustic guitar. The jokes were aplenty as Adams’ free association jokes thought curated the show. One joke transformed from asking a fan what’s happening on the news feed, to asking what Dairy Queen thinks, to drinking milk from nipples and how he loves almond milk…and he has little bras for all of his almonds. Self-aware, Adams said, “That joke is worse than any Aerosmith concert, like ever.”

Running up against the clock, unfortunately, the band had to cut the set short of four new songs, including “Shadows,” “I Just Might,” “Rats In The Wall,” and the unreleased “The Door.” Despite the cuts, Ryan Adams & The Shining put on an incredible show, leaving the crowd wanting more. As one concert goer said, “Here’s my review…Ryan Adams is hilarious. The end.”

Opening the night, music veteran Butch Walker put on a strong performance, offering up a similar style set to that of Ryan Adams; strong on music and jokes. Walker even joked he had met Adams on the Grindr app. With Adams taking on drum duties, he and the Shining came out on stage to help Walker round out his set on a rocking note.

Gimme Something Good
Let It Ride
This House Is Not For Sale
I Love You But I Don’t Know
Stay With Me
I See Monsters 
New York, New York
A Kiss Before I Go
Easy Plateau
English Girls Approximately
Wrecking Ball
Cold Roses
Peaceful Valley
Oh My Sweet Carolina
Run To You
Come Pick Me Up

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