It's ok Ryan Adams, all is forgiven now.
Many months ago I had tickets to see Ryan Adams and the Cardinals in Louisville. It was one of those radio appreciation shows so he shared the bill with a bunch of other folks, but we were there for Ryan. So much so that we gave up tickets to another show featuring Bright Eyes and Gillian Welch that was happening on the same night.
As any fan will tell you a Ryan Adams show is always a crapshoot. Sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he's there, but abuses the audience, the venue and burns out hardly before he even starts. Sometimes though, the man simply nails it and makes all the previous abuse worth it.
This night he showed up wearing a shower cap and a toting a broken arm. I knew it was going to be a bad night, and it was. The same night brought to fruition what wound up being some really bad personal ju-ju that would kick my arse, and nearly ruin my life a few weeks later. Yeah, I blame Ryan for that too.
We made it through that mess though, and thanks be to the grace of music, my wife let me buy tickets to another Ryan Adams show this past fall. The day came and once again the boy crapped out. This time they say a band member got sick and promises were made for reschedulement. Impressed I was not and my love for all things Ryan Adams was nearly lost.
But low and behold the rescheduled day came, and Ryan showed up. And he rocked. The rest, as I said, must be forgiven. The show started with a rollicking "Let it Ride" which set the perfect mood for the rest of the show. The band was spot on and Neal Casal's harmonies were simply magic, as they were for the rest of the show.
Ryan wasn't very talkative during the show (I don't think he said a word until the end of the first set and that was to only say that they'd be back in a few minutes) but what he lacked in fun banter he more than added to in the song selection, the killer jams and his vocals.
The show was billed as the Cardinals, not Ryan Adams & — and it is easy to see why. These guys are a band in the truest sense of the word. They listen to each other, are so completely sonically together that you could forgive someone for not knowing that Ryan is the star. The vocals on songs like "Cold Roses" and its almost a Capella chorus shined like the stars above.