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Concert Reviews:
Ryan Adams offers a good kind of weird at the Fillmore
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- "I don't know what's going on up there," Ryan Adams told fans at one pint of his show Sunday night, Nov. 9, at the Fillmore Detroit, but's super (expletive) weird down here 00 in the best way possible."

That, of course, was good news for all concerned.

It's been a few years since Adams has played Detroit proper, and his willful idiosyncrasies and occasionally taciturn nature has long made him a buyer-beware proposition in concert. But in support of his fine new self-titled album, Adams was in jubilant, wise-cracking form despite his acknowledged "depressing songs" -- and fully engaged throughout the 24-song, two-hour and 10-minute show.

Adams was so present, in fact, that he even noted the color of some fans' cell phones and, when one woman shouted for his perennial favorite "Come Pick Me Up," he launched into a discourse about how he and his four-piece band had a plan for the night that included playing the song for the encore -- though he did assure her that she'd here it. And woe was the guy who shouted for "Dear Chicago" about 40 minutes or so after Adams and company had played it; "Welcome to the show!" Adams declared with a genial laugh.

Musically, however, it was a sublime night as the T-shirted Adams -- who played drums part of Butch Walker's opening set -- offered a wide career snapshot with an emphasis on the twangy Americana that's his primary stock in trade. Flanked by oversized amplifiers, vintage video games and a stuffed tiger sitting by the drum riser, Adams led his group through songs both compact ("Gimme Something Good," "Let It Ride," "Stay With Me," "A Kiss Before I Go," and a couplet of "Rats in the Wall" and "When the Summer Ends") and expansive, with stretched-out treatments of "Magnolia Mountain," the trippy "Easy Plateau" and "Cold Roses." Adams introduced "Shadows" with a discourse about lunching at the Cass Cafe and played a solo acoustic version of "My Winding Wheel" "so the group can go smoke weed."

He also vamped a bit about being "from the future," and when a fan shouted for him to "play something from the future" Adams and the band came up with something on the spot.

There were plenty of other highlights throughout the show, including "Dirty Rain," "This House is Not For Sale," "When the Stars Go Blue," "Oh My Sweet Carolina," "La Cienega Just Smiled" and "I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say." And there was a sincerely fun moment to close the night; aware that the show was running long, Adams told the crowd that the Fillmore was allowing him to finish the set but that he wouldn't be doing the usual walk-off before the encore. In lieu of applause, however, he asked fans to form a snake with their hands and make hissing sounds -- and received full compliance in response.

That actually made for a more appropriate bridge into the promised "Come Pick Me Up," with Walker joining in, and it's safe to say anyone leaving the Fillmore felt Adams' show was well worth staying up late a little late for.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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