Ma fairytale week with Ryan Adams' music has just gone by. Emotionally speaking, I don't know whether I would have been able to FACE a third consecutive night with such great yet overwhelming music. But he's playing Zagreb after that, so...just saying.
Ryan played for 2 back-to-back nights in my Country. He had only been here just once, back in 2002, but we hadn't known about the gig. 15 years of bad luck is better than none...
On July 11th me and my husband went southwards to see Ryan perform in Rome, then came back to Northern Italy in a hurry the following day to see his second show.
It was VITAL for us to be there. It takes TWO, it takes TOO...
In Rome, in a quasi empty arena, we got the chance of taking a close look at his grudgingly inaccessible intensity, whereas in Gardone Riviera, in the wonderful lakeside amphitheatre of Vittoriale degli Italiani, we witnessed his genius in full display.
In Rome he picked songs from his embarrassingly rich catalogue and played them just like a stage performer who had played live for 20 years.
I was beyond super happy to see him again after our Dublin concert in March 2015.
23 songs. The beauty of them all.
DYSLM, AM I SAFE, WE DISAPPEAR, the newest songs, so powerful and perfect. Do I WAIT, a rare gem. I SEE MONSTERS took everyone in an unreal world.
Then the famous 19'30" PEACEFUL VALLEY made everybody get lost in a maze of incoherent fog.
His attitude. He didn't mouth a single word, neither English or Italian. His Rome set was puzzling, baffling,enigmatic, opaque, cryptic, incomprehensible.
It was complicated for him, for his bandmates and for us.
He seemed shy, tight, tense, fragile, maybe pissed off. Sure not happy. We felt this and suffered.
It looked as if his demons had taken control over everything. Yet it's an effing Ryan Adams show. And we know.
Second show, July 12th: in the hills surrounding Lake Garda on one sunny Wednesday you get this gorgeous open-air amphitheatre to play in. The stage has no back curtain, you can see the lake behind amps and stuffed tigers.
We feel a little uncomfortable but we know it HAS to be different.
We spoke with the Italian tour manager before the show, he told us Ryan was in a good mood. The band had even gone swimming earlier.
Gardone Riviera's concert was perfection on earth.
25 songs, 10 of which were not played in Rome. His band much more confident. Colourful.
Six songs were dutifully performed.
Then, during LET IT RIDE, Satan gestured to stand up. Me and Fay Wallenberg stood up and Fay even tried to make the audience react to the music, but no way.
He then started with STARS GO BLUE but stopped immediately to tell off a disrespectful guy who sat in the front row checking on his phone. He stood up in an assertive way. I felt a little embarrassed and was afraid he would turn RUDE, but he was not. He was right.
At that moment Ryan woke up, got out of his own self and was looser.
From song 10 to 25 we were offered his genius on full display.
His music exploded in the summer evening.
COLD ROSES shifting into I SEE MONSTERS, then returning back to COLD ROSES was simply MAGICK.
Rare gems were also THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE, HALLOWEENHEAD and SWEET ILLUSIONS.
And we had a lot of jokes and fun and laughter and banter.
We got a proper band presentation (nothing like that in Rome).
1. He spoke.
2. He laughed.
3. He cheerfully complained about bugs, mosquitoes, sweat and asked for some anti-insect spray. He then handed the spray to RAA's Penny Lazo.
4. He said GRAZIE (thank you) once midway.
5. He even accepted a fan request and we had an acoustic version of ENGLISH GIRLS.
YOU MEAN EVERYTHING.
He gave it all.
Satan and his tambourine came back on the last song and everybody in the front rows rushed to the stage to dance to SHAKEDOWN.
Ben Alleman on keyboards smiled for the first time in two shows. We were all smiling. )
We were feeling we were taking part in THE perfect concert.
GRAZIE Ryan Adams and the Unknown Band!
Thank you to my husband and to all RAA's friends I could share this experience with!