That Time Ryan Adam’s had a Demon Tambourine Man at the Palace


Last night’s show at the Palace Theater was the second time I wet myself in public. Nobody around me had the slightest clue. I never got up to leave through the whole show either. Ok, the pant wetting was mental. And more of an emotional freak out which if I have a shred of “Belieber” level fandom in my body I know it was screaming uncontrollably and crying the whole night. And no, we don’t need to go over the first time I peed my pants, sorry.

Ryan Adam has been on my top 3 artists to see live for over ten years now. Through some of the hardest times in my life including lost family members, divorce, and near homelessness there was always Ryan. In the moments I couldn’t find the words to express my joy and sense of peace with the world, there was still Ryan. Everyone has an artist or two who was there through it all for them I think and this man was that for me. Music unites people, and Ryan for the last 20 years has managed to find the raw spots in our emotions through song. I won’t claim to “know Ryan like a friend” but you can’t help but feel you know the guy’s soul after hearing him for a few tracks. His stop in St.Paul last night went by too fast, but it is one I won’t easily forget. So let’s discuss the show itself now that we know Andrew pees his pants.

For those of you who do not know this Ryan has Meniere’s Disease. Those of us shooting knew this from the get go as any flash photography can cause a seizure in those afflicted with the disease. However being this is news to many one of Ryan’s crew came on stage and share the information before the show got underway. If you were at the show I give you props for this moment the entire crowd did as requested and checked their phones and shut off their flashes. After the informational moment the stage began filling with fog and from the corner of the stage emerged a demon like figure. Many being as confused as I was, I tried to use my camera to see what the character was up to without success. Turned out this creature was none other than Ryan’s hype man and tambourine player. Well played Mr.Adams.

Ryan’s opening three songs were a mix of throwback and his most recent released album, Prisoner B-Sides. Hearing Ryan circa 2001 play To Be Young in the flesh was the moment the crowd and I woke fully. It’s a great song showing Ryan’s guitar talent, and the full band’s admired jam ability. I don’t know off hand but I know these songs are 3-4 minutes each. Live that stretched to 5-7 and I think I was annoyed by them ending even then. Luckily the next songs up after a jam session were favorites. New York, New York, When the Stars Go Blue, and a couple of Ryan’s selections of the Ryan Adams & The Cardinals tracks including Let It Ride and Cold Roses.

Following a fitting light show of blue star like beam scattered all over the theater during Stars Go Blue the full band moved further into yet another moment on my bucket list, Ryan and the Unknown Band went into full jam mode for a series of songs. I feel I need to make mention though first, Ryan’s humor is priceless and while the band tuned and prepped before their jam session he improved. A song which was about nothing more than… catching his breath and how the first 8 songs went. I don’t have enough talent in me to write a chorus in 2 weeks, he did it in 2 minutes while being sarcastic and commentating himself.

Jam session over, trademark Ryan pulled out the spotlight and acoustic songs. To Be Without You was a favorite of mine from this part of the show. As expected fans present were silent and attentive for the entirety of the show, and it was even more evident when Ryan played solo for a time. From my seat I could hear all conversations stop and my always searched for “Oh man memories” moment came to us all. Words of “we are like a book and every page is so torn” echoed through the silent auditorium.

The crowd following the band’s exit from the state to my surprise then began filing out. While those of us who knew better, or just had checked previous setlists of Ryan’s shows this year, stayed for the pending encore. Most nights Ryan does 1 song but we were gifted three I am happy to say. Appropriately as the band’s appointed demon tambourine man, one of their encore choices was I See Monsters.

Suffice it to say, the show for me and very clearly some teary eyed fans around me was a much needed time of breaking from reality. Everything from the personal message and request of no flash photography for Ryan, to the fans in silence, even the demon man appearing on stage at will all made for a personal show where it wasn’t “Ryan Adams the legend” but a man and his band doing what they love. If you have never seen Ryan live, get to a show ASAP. If you’re in the Minneapolis and St.Paul area and never been to the new Palace Theater, go there. It’s the ideal venue for a show like Ryan and I have yet to be disappointed by a show there. In closing and as I have said for artists previous, thank you Mr.Adams. It was a pleasure and a privelege.

Recommended “Get To Know Him” Tracks: Wonderwall(It’s better than Oasis, not sorry), My Sweet Carolina, When the Stars Go Blue, Come Pick Me Up, Let It Ride(Ryan w/The Cardinals), New York New York

Setlist: Gimme Something Good/Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Outbound Train/Everybody Knows/Stay With Me/Two/Anything I Say to You Now/IMPROV SONG/Doomsday/When the Stars Go Blue/New York,New York/Magnolia Mountain/Cold Roses/Let It Ride/Juli/My winding Wheel/I Just Might/Am I Safe/Prisoner/To Be Without You/Shakedown on 9th Street ENCORE: I See Monsters/Invisible Riverside/Do I Wait