After playing an exclusive Sydney show last year (disappointing all us Melbourne fans in the process) Ryan Adams redeemed himself with a stunning arena show.
Security was tight (understandability), so it took a bit longer for fans to enter the arena — as a consequence, many of us missed Middle Kids support slot and Adams’ show started approximately twenty minutes late. It was good of the venue staff to start the show late to ensure that everyone was in the venue before he hit the stage.
Adams opened up with ‘Do You Still Love Me?’ from his latest album Prisoner. It was a dynamic start and the perfect choice for an opener. A few songs later, he played his major hit ‘Gimme Something Good’ from his self-titled album from 2014. The song was made for live performances, and it is a treat to hear it live.
There was something magical in the air when he performed ‘When The Stars Go Blue’ — it wasn’t just the mystical blue stars he created with his lights behind him. Though the song is beautiful on the recording, it transformed into an atmospheric wonderland live. Though his entire set was incredible, this track stood out as one of the best musical moments from the night. The best part was that the crowd remained quiet throughout, there wasn’t one utter of chatter, and you could've heard a pin drop.
This silence continued during his performance of his ‘Wonderwall’ cover. Though the crowd were warned before the show that Adams has a condition that causes vertigo when he sees flashing lights, four people tried to start a sea of stars with phones and lighters. It was cringy, and luckily it didn’t impact Adams’ condition. If you ever go to his shows, don’t do this, no matter how much you’re feeling it, you don’t want to be the person to blame if he stops the show because you exacerbated his condition.
A standout for the night was Adams’ on-stage banter. Though he didn’t talk too much at the beginning — probably because he knew he was on a time restriction due to the set time changes — but once he started chatting to the crowd. Adams’ showed his appreciation for the crowd's silence when he was performing. He noted that an entire arena was quieter than a bar he played in Byron Bay. At the end of the concert, he had some inspiring words against the hateful bigots — one can only assume that part of his speech was directed at Margaret Court and the controversy over her comments against marriage equality during the week.
There was no encore due to the time restraints he had, but he closed up his set with ‘Cold Roses’ and ‘Shakedown on 9th Street’.
With the stage adorned with vintage televisions sets and a toy cat, lions and tigers, the show was everything I expected it to be and so much more.