The Sage, Gateshead
Tuesday 14th February
"It's Valentines Day, so if you're here that must make you a bunch of sad bastards." It seems Ryan Adams isn't going to win any awards for witty repartee this year but, to be fair, he's not far from the truth. Either you've come to Ryan's solo acoustic show because you're a miserable loner with no love-life worth speaking about, or you're currently on the most misguided date of your life. Wasting what's supposed to be the Most Romantic Night Of The Year on an evening of maudlin acoustica about break-ups, ruined relationships, ex-girlfriends and general heartache? It's not exactly flowers, chocs and rampant all-night sex, now, is it?
Surprisingly, given that he's currently Mr
Lindsay Lohan Someone and his fabled Doherty-esque inability to turn up, that doesn't seem to put him off. Kicking off promisingly with a spirited run-through of Cold Roses' "Let It Ride", it's soon obvious the set-list has been junked from the start. As Ryan begins leafing distractedly through a folder full of songs, riven with indecision, the urge to shout "just f---ing play something" is almost too much.
There's a fine line between being endearingly inept and a total bloody shambles. For most of tonight, Ryan, cutting a lone figure on the sparsely decorated stage, and sporting the kind of '70s game-show jacket not seen since Bob Monkhouse carked it, walks it like a tightrope. Which way he falls is anyone's guess.
For every song played, there's a five minute interlude of hopeless dithering, head scratching and self-deprecating banter. It may all be warmly received, Ryan distractedly telling stories about various relatives, the joys of long-haul flights and ruminating over how to inveigle himself into '80s chart pap singer Billy Ocean's affections, but a more vocal and less sycophantic audience might have torn him a new asshole by now.