San Diego, photo credit: morgan emmery
Ryan Adams and his ever-revolving cast of Cardinals touched down in southern California this past weekend for a three night run beginning in Anaheim, moving down the coast to San Diego and ending last night at the Hollywood Bowl in a joint show with Neko Case and Willie Nelson. As I avoid most things Disney, your Drunkard only took in the House of Blues’ San Diego show and Hollywood Bowl gig.

Saturday’s show was classic Adams fare: accidents, bad jokes, a multitude of genre exploration & blending, banter, full-on band jams, and solo piano chordings. The sound in the room was excellent and only matched in volume by the obnoxious San Diego audience. Ah well. I’m no curmudgeon, but this crowd seemed as if they were at a frat party, paying little, if any, attention to the folks onstage. No matter, the band went on blasting through cuts off the majority of Adams’ solo catalog moving from honky-tonk to Sonic Youth styled atmospherics coupled with a cover of the Dead’s “Wharf Rat” which would prove to be a preview of things to come the following night.

Last night’s show back home in L.A. at the Hollywood Bowl was not classic Adam’ fare. Here, following Neko Case, the audience was treated to what at first appeared to be a kinder, gentler Ryan Adams. Little (for him) banter, no start-stops in songs, a fluid set list, etc. This all changed when towards the end of his set the Dead’s Phil Lesh sneaked unannounced onstage for the last three songs, two of which were Grateful Dead covers, “Wharf Rat”, and a beautiful and spirited rendition of the Dead’s “Stella Blue” off the Wake of The Flood album. Apparently Willie Nelson will be covering this on his upcoming Ryan Adams produced album next month. The band exited the stage and Willie and family were on within fifteen minutes, but that’s for another time in another post…

MP3: Ryan Adams :: What Sin (blues-jam demo)

+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional Adams MP3s.

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