Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween at the Hammerstein with Ha...Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
@ Hammerstein Ballroom
October 31, 2007

Holy unexpected show reviews, Batman!

It figures. On any given night in any town in North America, Ryan Adams can be known for donning chain mail and doing his best Danzig impression. But at the hyped-up Halloween night concert in New York City, all the holiday hoopla emanated from a lonely little jack-o-lantern atop the piano, and some costumed people in the crowd. For Ryan, it was just another show. At least just another show for this tour - meaning, a 3-hour plus marathon (I left at exactly the 3-hour mark when he started up yet another ballad).
The sheer immensity of the show felt like a ton of weight pressing down after awhile. And the song selections - about 60% balladry - started to bring on a case of the sleepies. But when Ryan and the band sizzled, they sizzled. The Cardinals are so good by this point, they make Ryan songs their own. And when Ryan and the band back-up guitarist Neal Casal on his lead, you'd almost instantly forget who's the main man up there. While the band knows all of Ryan's material, they excel at the last record they cut with him, Easy Tiger. Like at that fantastic, intimate show at the Hiro in June, "The Sun Also Sets" and "Two" sounded exquisite.
So it may not have been bizarre, goofy Ryan at his maximum, and it may have been like trying to run through mud, but there is no doubt that Ryan Adams & The Cardinals are the cream of their crop. And other cliches. Awwww yeah.


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