Ryan Adams began a three-consecutive-night run that also included both Greek theaters at the Granada in Santa Barbara on Thursday night, June 1. Fans of the rocker thus caught a thrilling show in the most intimate venue of Adams’s wild week and got a long look at one of contemporary music’s most compelling performers. Playing in front of a pyramid of old-fashioned television sets and flanked by banks of Marshall amps, Adams powered through a 22-song set that dispensed with an encore in favor of fitting in more music before the night’s hard curfew.
Adams wields an extraordinary array of originals, highlights of which included “Prisoner,” “When the Stars Go Blue,” and a transcendently jammy “Cold Roses.” Adams has also managed to convert his most famous cover, a version of “Wonderwall” by Oasis, into a kind of religious experience backed by just guitar and keyboards.
Of course no Adams show would be complete without some kind of audience-interaction incident. At the Granada a woman engaged the star by asking him to encourage everyone in the audience to stand. After pointing out that the Granada is a “theater with seats,” and that the woman was likely blocking the view of someone perhaps too high to stand comfortably, Adams spun out a wild fantasy about Marilyn Manson, Maury Povich, and Rhoda Morgenstern that ended with the punch line “But I missed the whole thing because I was in summer stock.” Like him or not, there’s no one like Ryan Adams.