The scene was a sold-out Hammerstein Ballroom and the archaic theatre was packed with festive trick-or-treaters whose sole treat they were receiving was a splendid and rocking Ryan Adams show.
The concert featured no opener; it was simply Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, the band he currently collaborates with and who write most of his songs. Adams started playing with The Cardinals in 2005, and has made Cold Roses, 29, and Jacksonville City Nights with them as well has his brilliant new EP titled Follow the Lights. His work before playing with the Cardinals is also brilliant, especially Heartbreaker and Gold.
Adams dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to pursue a career in music. He moved from his hometown of Jacksonville, North Carolina to Raleigh and formed the band Whiskeytown. Three albums later, Adams went solo, and as they say, the rest is history.
The show itself was enjoyable. The strongest songs of the night were “Rescue Blues,” “Shakedown on 9th Street,” and “Down in a Hole.” Ryan Adams as a front man was a bit weak on the banter between songs, as a lot of it was inaudible mutterings and awkward giggling. They had a joke of the night with the guy from The Cardinals who played slide guitar and keyboards, telling a joke that was almost too inaudible to even understand. The words were clear but the part that was supposed to be funny was not. It was also the man’s birthday, so they played him a little ode “Happy Birthday Spacewalk” because of his age.
The show was phantasmagoric both aesthetically and musically. The Hammerstein Ballroom has excellent acoustics. The echoing guitars and drums fostered a beautiful collision with the walls of the concert hall and one could not help but think that the moment was none other than priceless. At the end of the set Adams and the Cardinals walked off the stage to a deserved raucous ovation. The band came out for an encore, and Adams almost seemed to dare the crowd to yell for him to play his song “New York, New York,” which he did not play. Overall, that was the jarring problem with the set list. The man was in New York and refused to play his song about New York. So in order to make up for his lack of playing the song, this article will close with a particularly nice set of lyrics that function as a nice summation of the concert. “And love don’t play any games with me/Anymore like she did before/The world won’t wait, so I better shake/That thing right out there through the door/Hell, I still love you, New York.”