The Line Of Best Fit Radio

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cambridge Corn Exchange 27/09/2006

Sometimes you go to a gig and come away knowing that you've seen something really special....

Last night was the first time i'd seen Ryan Adams, after two cancellations on two previous tours, to say I was looking forward to it would be an understatement. We got to the venue in good time so were able to push our way down to the front fairly easily, and pretty much as soon as we got there Neal Casal came on and did a solid 40 minute set with just himself and his drummer "Reggie" (aka Ryan Adams). I never thought that the first time I ever saw Ryan would be behind a drum kit but there you go... Neal played highlights from his current album, including my personal favourites You Dont See Me Crying & Grand Island. His set really translated well into the acoustic environment and, if anything sounded better than the full band versions on record. Mesmerising stuff.

Twenty minutes later and The Cardinals are kicking off with Magnolia Mountain and following with five more songs from Cold Roses including a barnstorming Beatiful Sorta. The sound in the venue was awesome, with Neal Casel commenting its a really beautiful sounding room. A new song Party Clown followed which was a feel good Stones-esque rocker.

It occured to me during Peacful Valley what an incredible lead guitarist Ryan actually is, and the tone he got out of his guitar was jaw dropping. With Neal Casal and Jon Graboff adding guitar and pedal steel to the mix, the overall sound made my face nearly melt off.

In between numbers a background tape was played with random traffic and nature noises with Ryan mumbling to himself and with his bandmates. Hecklers started shouting "speak up" with Ryan retorting "Sorry cant hear you". I think this tape was being played in response to the constant audience banter that goes on in his shows. He was probably playing it just to piss the audience off - and it seemed to work.

Funniest moment of the night came when the band kicked into an improvised hip-hop jam, with the Cardinals all taking turns to freestyle. It was a "you had to be there moment" but very funny.

Highlight of the night for me was probably Dear John, which is fast becoming one of my favourite songs in the Ryan Adams cannon. The harmonies were faultless and sent shivers down my spine.

After a rocking Please Do Not Let Me Go the band kicked into a 13 song non-stop attack playing a couple of new songs, a Grateful Dead cover and even dropping in some Billy Ocean! Shakedown on 9th Street got the pretty much static audience moving with Ryan and Neal each taking it in turns to thrash out a solo.

They ended with I See Monsters from Love Is Hell and left the stage. No encore. No bullshit - Just two hours of incredible rock n roll.

The setlist in full:

Magnolia Montain
Let It Ride
Tears Of Gold
Easy Plateau
Cold Roses
Beautiful Sorta
Party Clown(new)
A Kiss Before I Go
Arkham Asylum
Peaceful Valley
The End
Dear John
Please Don't Let Me Go
Mockingbird Song >
Dear Chicago >
Blue Hotel >
Bartering Lines >
Games >
21st Century Wars (new)
Shakedown on 9th St >
Franklin's Tower >
Stella Blue >
Bruce Wayne >
Caribean Queen >
I See Monsters

You can view some more of the photos I took here

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