LIVE REVIEW: Ryan Adams @ Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA 2/18/12
The Walt Disney Concert Hall‘s sensitivity to acoustics is a great venue for all types of music, but it is ideal for singer/songwriters such as Ryan Adams. The no picture taking rule and the silent environment where you can hear a pin drop shines a bigger light on the artist on the stage. This was the last date of a two-night stint at the acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall, and in fact the last date of his North American tour before embarking on a spring European tour.
The previous night’s opening act of Val Kilmer dressed as Mark Twain will be a hard act to follow, but the audience seemed delighted when Garry Shandling walked onto the stage. The comedian proceeded with his shtick for about 15-20 minutes. Shandling made sure to face the back once in awhile to include us in the cheap seats, most interestingly informing the crowd how he and Adams met through Twitter and telling the audience that if anyone tweeted him during the show, they can have his pants. Unfortunately most phones do not get signals in the inner sanctum of the concert hall so we didn’t get to see anyone claim their prize.
Fifteen minutes later, Ryan Adams walked out onto the stage met with applause from the eager audience. Unfortunately as we aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the hall, I don’t have pictures to share, but this was how the stage was set up:
Adams started off his set with a haunting rendition of “Oh My Sweet Carolina” the acoustics of the hall becoming Adams’ backing band, enveloping and echoing his sound with its silence. Adams went through most of the songs from the new album, (I was bit disappointed that he didn’t play “Kindness” as it was a personal favorite of mine) also including a few Cardinals songs like “When Will You Come Back Home” and “Let It Ride” which was met with appreciative applause. Adams even snuck in “Dancing With The Women At The Bar” from Whiskeytown.
Just like Shandling, Adams made it a point to switch to different sides of the stage to face different parts of the crowd, making sure everyone felt included. He closed with crowd favorite “Come Pick Me Up” and immediately played a cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver” as an encore closing the two-hour set. The highlight for me was the banter in between songs, where Adams joked about the fact that he could hear everything on stage including a girl’s (which he assumed was on a first date) constant whispering. Also, his charming impromptu song creations such as singing about “People with Tourettes” after a heckler kept shouting out song names and one about his cat.
When you go to a concert, you expect a good performance from the artist, but it’s an added pleasure when they interact with the audience and show a bit of their personality. I walked out feeling like I got to know him a little better.