It’s not that Cardinology and Easy Tiger found Ryan Adams going through the motions, exactly. Both records were moderately surprising commercial successes, drawing on the embattled musician’s long career for songs propulsive and charming. At times, such as “Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.,” they found him at his sensitive best; at others, there’s “Let Us Down Easy” and “Go Easy,” which do just that. Adams himself referred to “Easy Tiger” as a “mellow classic,” but if there was any lingering worry that his recent catalog and long musical layoff has left him fat and happy in a Los Feliz love-nest, you’re going to want to listen to this show. He makes his way through a setlist from his Whiskeytown days to Gold and Love Is Hell through Cardinology, all delivered from the edge of a cliff. A metaphorical cliff. It is the best Adams concert recording I’ve ever heard, which bodes well for his upcoming Glyn Johns-produced full-length. Don’t call it a comeback? (Seriously, don’t.)
Update: In deference to Ryan’s new taping policy (which is: no more taping), I’ve taken this down. The videos are on YouTube.
Ryan Adams in 2007 / Photo by Justin McDougal via Flickr