Gig Reviews

Ryan Adams – Olympia – 11-09-17 – Live Review

Ryan Adams – The Olympia, Dublin, 11th September – Review by Killian Laher

The question with a Ryan Adams live show is always: which Ryan are you going to get?  The temperamental drama queen?  The ‘tortured’ artist?  The alt-country roots hero?  Or a combination of the three?

Before Adams we got a fine support in the shape of Karen Elson.  Elson and band played a fine set of country rock, with heavy emphasis on guitar, though not so heavy as to drown out the other instruments, including a fine fiddle.

Right from the start of Ryan Adams’ set it was clear he was here to do one thing: rock.  He and his band powered through Do You Still Love Me, To Be Young and Gimme Something Good which set the tone.  A fast, bashed-out version of This House Is Not For Sale left little room for subtlety.  His brand of brawny rock called to mind 80s AOR such as Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.  Born In The USA era Springsteen, that is.  This was epitomised by Outbound Train, every bit as ‘blue-collar’ heartland, punch-the-air rock as The Boss in his prime.  In case you were in any doubt, the presence of two banks of keyboards positioned at right angles just like mid 80s rockers such as Dire Straits or dare I say it, Bryan Adams (especially on Stay With Me), spoke volumes.  As Adams himself sang “it takes it two where it used to take only one”.

When it worked well, it soared.  Doomsday and Prisoner showcased fine guitar work, the latter beginning on acoustic guitar before graduating to electric.  The quieter end of Adams’ catalogue was not neglected, with rocky versions of When The Stars Go Blue, Dirty Rain and a somewhat overwrought I See Monsters.  But too often it was a night of few peaks, there was a sameness to the set which prompted your attention to wander.  Not everyone was impressed, some found over long versions of Cold Roses (which featured a Doors-style keyboard solo) too much to take and left long before the end.  Those who did missed crowd-pleasers New York, New York and Come Pick Me Up.

What turned out to be the final song of the evening, Shakedown on 9th Street saw the introduction of dry ice, so much dry ice it completely obscured the view and set off smoke alarm, hastening the end of the gig.  Truly one of the more bizarre endings to a concert.


Do You Still Love Me?
To Be Young
Gimme Something Good
This House Is Not For Sale
Outbound Train
Love Is Hell
When The Stars Go Blue
Anything I Say To You Now
Broken Anyway
I Just Might
Stay With Me
Dirty Rain
Invisible Riverside
Cold Roses
I See Monsters
Haunted House
To Be Without You
New York, New York
Come Pick Me Up
Shakedown on 9th Street

Categories: Gig Reviews, Gigs, Header, Music

7 replies »

  1. Excellent review for a strange sounding gig. So did you get the alt-country roots hero mixed with a dash of Morrison? “Two banks of keyboards positioned at right angles” was well spotted.

  2. Was not impressed at all, not once did he interact with the crowd, would have been nice to give us something to keep us engaged, he was hell bent on throwing out 24 songs one after another, they all just rolled into one and sounded the same. So many people left or lost interest .The ice was ridiculous, you barely heard him saying goodbye (did he even?) but you definitely couldn’t see him!

  3. Played in Belfast and was fantastic! Certainly we got Ryan The Rocker, not the Alt king, but the music was class. The ‘fog’ at the end was a bit much, but not a sinner left before the end?

  4. Great concert – I like the workman like approach without monologues. Ending was class and avoided annoying encores. He came he sang he left – what more can you ask for.

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