Words: Mike Ritchie
When he’s good, as he was at this sell out show at Glasgow’s most posh of venues, Ryan Adams is very good, indeed.
The new tracks from his latest album release – his 14th – seamlessly sat alongside those in his hefty back catalogue making for a 75-minute set where performer and fans had a great time.
With a competent four-piece band, Adams was engaging, entertaining, endearing, pleased with his new songs while clearly delighted to play the oldies with pride. For the encore we even got to vote for Political Scientist or Come Pick Me Up, the cracker from 2000’s Heartbreaker album emerging as winner.
In truth, none of the songs were losers and I thought the new ones – opener, the driving Petty-like, Give Me Something Good, the majestic depth of Wrecking Ball and the glimmering, biting Shadows that got the stadium anthem-style guitar wig-out treatment at the end – sounded better than the album versions.
Maybe that’s because Adams seems to be in an age and stage of his life where he’s happy and determined to please.
He had a gentle romantic air about him (despite Oh My Sweet Carolina not featuring): no more so than on a fantastic version of La Cienega Just Smiled that was heart-achingingly gentle and soothing, played to a hushed crowd. New York, New York, also from the much-loved double album, Gold was glorious and never sounded better. Nor did Why Do They Leave, plaintiff and appealing. They were intense, flowing and vital and he matched these moods in the up-tempo tracks as well. Magnolia Mountain was one that roared out of the speakers, buoyed by a band in full flow determined to show us true soul/country rock.
Adams has always had talent and charisma. At times his demons banished these characteristics but on this outing he was in sparkling form, really living up to his billing as singer/songwriter to be reckoned with.
Mike Ritchie on Sunday, 2.00-4.00pm and Catch Up anytime.