A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Jan 26, 2008

Ryan Adams at the Elsinore

Photo Credit: artolog

Last night I went with a couple of friends from work to see Ryan Adams at the Elsinore Theater in Salem, OR (admittedly the photo above is from a show earlier in the week).  The Elsinore Theater has been recently remodeled and it looks really good.  It has this kind of faux-roman thing going on with columns and so forth.  Kind of a weird deal is they have a drinks concession but you can't take anything into the theater.  There were gigantic lines for drinks and I didn't really feel like pounding a beer so I could catch the beginning of the show.  We ended up taking our seats in the balcony.

I had a number of problems with the Elsinore and this is where they begin.  The seats in the balcony are incredibly small.  My knees were firmly planted in the wooden back of the seat in front of me.  Also, it was apparently of critical importance that everyone sat in the exact seat listed on their ticket.  As a result, people were constantly standing up and groping around in the dark trying to figure out where they were supposed to be, which was incredibly annoying as I was trying to concentrate on the show.

Another strange characteristic of the Elsinore is that it seems to be exclusively staffed by elderly people - like in their 80's.  I found this to be incredibly funny, but it also contributed to the annoying seating situation as they kept asking us "kids" to move around as they tried to figure out what seat we should be in.

As far as Ryan & the band's performance, it was pretty great.  The sound of the show was kind of rocky for the first five songs or so but Ryan had his vintage ES-335 kickin' and it goes without saying that he is an absolutely phenomenal guitar player.  He was playing through some Fender amps I think and he just had a great tone, as did his guitar player who I think was playing an SG.  Ryan Adams just oozes talent.

Of course, Ryan Adams also kind of attracts hecklers and last night was no exception.  He did a good job of dealing with it for the most part.  He was affable and witty.  At one point he quipped "they think they can heckle us because we're just a bunch of easy-going guys who like to jam.  Also, I have a volatile past."

My one criticism of RA would be that the show was a little jammy at part, especially during the last song of the show "Easy Plateau" which was probably a 12 minute jam that really wasn't that interesting.  Some people like that kind of thing but it just kind of turns me off.

Standouts of the night included a great creepy version of "Off Broadway" and a great vocal version of "Pearls On a String" which featured the incredibly tight harmony vocals provided by the Cardinals.  The harmony vocals throughout the show were especially fantastic.  I appreciated that RA played two sets with an intermission that let him play right up to when the theater had to close up shop.

Also after they played the whole band came out front to sign CD's and talk with folks.  I didn't really feel like waiting in the long line, but I was watching from the side and RA was incredibly gracious, letting people take pictures with him.  Of course, he was smoking the whole time which caused one of the octogenarians working there to say "I don't know what makes that guy so special.  They shouldn't put up with that."  It was just hilarious.