Halloween in Harlem

Ryan “Grizzly” Adams and the Cardinals at the Apollo Theater – October 31, 2008Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Last Friday, Alison and I ventured to the venerable Apollo Theater to see Ryan Adams and the Cardinals perform what I hear has become an annual ritual for the band, an Halloween Show.  The last time I saw Ryan Adams my senior year in college with Luke at the Hammerstein Ballroom.  I remember the show being good and Adams being really high, though not as ornery as seemed to be his norm back then.  I do not have any musical memories of the show or any whatsoever actually with the exception of some of Ryan’s stage banter.  “Who here likes the marijuana pot?” he asked.  A lot of people at the concert liked the marijuana pot apparently.  He also related that he was going to go to the bar, Niagara, after the show and invited us, his 4,000 newest friends to come with him.  This particularly upset me.  You see, Niagara is on the southeast corner of 7th and A.  I had lived on 7th between A and B the summer between my junior and senior years of college.  I had always thought that Niagara was most definitely not my kind of bar.  As it turned out I could have been drinking with Ryan Adams while he recorded Gold.  Anyway, I’m over it.  Mostly.

So the show at the Apollo.  The theater was beautiful and intimate.  I had known the outside looked great after the renovation, but I had had no idea how great the inside would look like.  Mr. Adams and the Cardinals took the stage at about 9 and played for about an hour and a quarter.  Took a 20 minute intermission and then came back and played for at least another hour.  No encore.  Overall the energy was good.  Ryan could really rock out.  He’s definitely playing much more the way he wants to than the buttoned down style that the record company seemed to force him into for Gold.  There was one big detraction from the first 20 minutes of the show though, which was how ridiculously loud it was.  I’ve never ever heard anything like us.  Although the usher said they didn’t sell ear plugs at the bar like at the Bowery Presents venues, she took it upon herself to rustle some up for us and I am forever grateful for it.  My notes from the set-list reveal the following:

– Okay, so at the moment I can’t find my notes.  I recalled a particularly energetic version of “Shakedown on 9th Street” thankfully absent the falsetto male “Lucy” vocals of the album and a solid, pensive version of “Bartering Line.”  The band also did “Two” which I thought was fine but doesn’t function nearly as well as it did as an intimate duet between Abbie Gardner and Anthony Da Costa who himself has a habit of singing in the style of Adams.  The band also played “Rescue Blues” off Gold and may have played “Harder Now That It’s Over” but that could just be a memory trick.  “Let it Ride” and “Cold Roses” off of Cold Roses also made much appreciated appearances as did “Desire” off what I consider to be the much under-appreciated Demolition.

I’ll update the post if I find the aforementioned notes.

Update:  Partial setlist recovered.  It’s not much but it’s something.

10) Wonderwall

11) Dear John

12) Go Easy

Set Break

13) Let It Ride

14) Desire

15) ??

16) Sink Ships

17) Bow to the Sad Lady

18) Please Do Not Let Me Go

19) Two

20) Magick

21) Cold Roses

22) Shakedown on 9th Street

23) Freeway to the Canyon

24) Crossed Out Name

25) Like Yesterday

26) ??


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