In Pursuit Of The Poetic Soul Of Ryan Adams
In Pursuit of the Poetic Soul of Ryan Adams
By Uriah Lee Hamilton
Last day of summer, football Saturday afternoon. A Warm breeze was pushing me toward Ann Arbor like a happy autumn leaf in pursuit of the beautiful poetic soul of Ryan Adams. Lovely charming mood all the way playing Easy Tiger and Demolition and feeling like the universe was kind and smiling.
Exit off 94 West onto State Street and all excited to make my way to Liberty Street and the heart of the College town I love. Kids were milling around everywhere in their gold and blue, gleeful and happy that Michigan is now playing 500 football after a discouraging start. Parking spaces across the street from Michigan Theater in the parking structure are all taken, I have to drive to the roof and still wait for a football fan to leave.
Me and my friend Cassandra start walking around and dig everything and everyone we see. Ann Arbor brings out your gentle Jack Kerouac nature, the part of you that wants to praise everything for it’s sad but beautiful, integral purpose to this existence.
We enter an Eastern clothing and folk art store that is positively charming and enlightening. I can’t remember the name of the store. Perhaps, it is called the Enchanted Sarong. It almost felt like George Harrison was there with us, beautiful carved statues of Buddha and Krishna and Ganesha were everywhere. The sales lady was friendly and helpful and said sweetly, “we’re Om friendly” as we asked about carved symbols for the breath-word Om. The serene incense Nag Champa drifted through the room but it was now time to leave and make our way to the Ryan Adams concert at Michigan Theater.
I purchased my tickets the very minute they went on sale and prayed I had front row despite my tickets saying double A. No Such luck, but I was still happy to be in row 27. As I was waiting for the show to begin, I saw my concert friend Jeremy and got his attention. He looked as happy and as excited as myself and said he had spent a fortune at some cool record store. Jeremy then handed me a beautiful soundboard copy of Ryan Adams at the Gem Theater in downtown Detroit June 20th 2007. Man, how I’ve been longing for that show! I then gave Jeremy a copy of Ryan’s punk rock band the Finger.
Now the lights go out and the music begins. Ryan Opens with Goodnight Rose and closes with Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard. Everything in-between is just magical. The first auspicious sign was that Ryan came out playing guitar! ! In June, he only sang, he didn’t play any instruments, some injury sidelined him. The June Show as a result was more subtle, almost like MTV Unplugged. Subtle but amazing. Last night was more rocking and adventurous with reworked extended arrangements, ala the Grateful Dead. In particular was a long and lovely version of Off Broadway from Easy Tiger. At the completion of Off Broadway, I shouted, “That was gorgeous! ” Of course, I may have added an expletive, all in the interest of ecstatic joy for music.
Ryan told a story during the show about running into a girl on her way to the concert that didn’t recognize him because he dresses like a plumber. My friend after the show said she thought she saw Ryan Adams on the street near the theater. I asked, “Really? ” She said, “I saw someone that looked like a plumber.” I can say, I didn’t see Ryan on the streets anywhere in Ann Arbor yesterday, but I have been known to miss a plumber or two in my day.