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  • Rich Kassirer

Concert Review: Ryan Adams live and well

Ryan Adams at Bank of America Pavilion.
Ryan Adams at Bank of America Pavilion.

If the Grateful Dead were young upstarts on today’s music scene they probably would sound a lot like Ryan Adams did last night. The sometimes mercurial singer-songwriter Adams has shown both on his plethora of albums — solo and with his backing band the Cardinals — that he can play, and play well, in a variety of styles, from acoustic neo-folk to alt-country to rock. While I’m a relatively new fan and have not heard the full range of his catalog, I know him well enough to know that if you go to a Ryan Adams show expecting to hear a certain sound or certain songs, you could well leave disappointed. Luckily for me, that wasn’t an issue last night at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.

Adams and his band were fresh off a Canadian tour opening for Oasis, an odd pairing, but one, Adams said, went off well with the bands getting along well. Adams was in fine spirits, jabbering on with the band between songs, acknowledging “I Love Yous” from the audience. I don’t have a setlist yet, but I will keep an eye open and post one when I find it.

Right from the start, the band was in full throttle, fully electric and full force. His sound mixed ’70s-era rock — the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, electric Crosby, Stills & Nash — with his modern-day alt-country influences. Songs like “When the Stars Go Blue” balanced beautifully between eras, sounding neither dated nor derivative. A cover of Oasis’ “Wonderball” was slowed down and stretched out to wonderful effect. Adams covered a lot of ground, playing songs from a wide variety of his albums as well as a new tune, each treated with guitar-driven power that built to crescendos and melted into quiet with care. Even his more acoustic numbers were beefed up, but they never felt overabused. And solos, and there were many — from spacey Dead jams to Allmans-esque harmonized dueling guitars — didn’t overstay their welcome with most songs clocking in at around 4 minutes.

In all, a great night of rock music, like you’ve heard and never heard before.

For more pics, click HERE.

The setlist (courtesy of Ryan Adams fan site): 1. Off Broadway 2. Bartering Lines (Super Heavy) 3. Goodnight Rose 4. Cobwebs 5. Everybody Knows 6. Why Do They Leave 7. Magick 8. Two 9. Please Do Not Let Me Go 10. Come Pick Me Up 11. When The Stars Go Blue 12. Wonderwall 13. Fix It 14. Easy Plateau Break 15. Let It Ride 16. Games 17. Cold Roses 18. A Kiss Before I Go 19. Peaceful Valley 20. Dear John 21. Shakedown 22. Sinking Ship (live debut) 23. The Color of Pain (live debut) 24. Magnolia Mountain 25. Beautiful Sorta 26. I See Monsters

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