<b>COMPANY PERKS:</b> Ryan Adams (right) and guitarist Mike Viola were the guests of honor at Sonos' private hump day pizza party.
Aly Comingore

Whatever jag Ryan Adams was on last night, it started around lunchtime. A little before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the fine folks at Sonos invited Adams over some pizza and beer. And, like a good tech-savvy gearhead, he obliged his hosts with a few acoustic tunes in exchange. He joked about how shitty his music is to BBQ to, and then he left us with a little nugget I’ve taken to calling “Why Doesn’t My Phone Work With It,” an off-the-cuff jam about wanting to throttle your Sonos device. Somewhere between point A and point B, Adams soundchecked, hit the comic book store, and apparently smoked a hell of a lot of weed, because by the time he got onstage at the Arlington around 9 p.m., he was on fire.

Like most godhead musician types, Adams has a sense of humor that is sarcastic bordering on harassing and ridiculous bordering on insane. But if you stick with him, he will dazzle you with his wit. Or a least make you chuckle when he slips into his weird Muppet accent. Needless to say, when he took a break early on in the set to introduce his band, before he “got too stoned and forgot to,” I fell a little bit more in love with him.

And none of this is meant to discount the music, which on Wednesday shined mostly by virtue of Adams’ new songs, but also bobbed and weaved all over his back catalog. (It stands to mention here that he also played for well over two hours.) As for highlights, “My Wrecking Ball” was a quiet little revelation; “I Just Might” built until it felt like it was going to topple over; and, as promised, “The Door” gave us Adams hitting a high note that “would silver the pubes of the guys in Tears for Fears.”

And what about The Hits? Well, “New York, New York” made an early acoustic appearance; “Peaceful Valley” was perfectly stretched out and jammy; and “When the Summer Ends” felt like Adams goofily trance channeling The Replacements. All that said, the night’s highlight came in the full-circle moment of creation that was “Change the Boat,” a nonsense riff turned bonafide groove about boating and voting, based on something somebody in the crowd may or may not have yelled between songs.

Instead of an encore, Adams kind of narrated the band’s imaginary exit and re-entry. Then he capped the night with a cover of Bryan Adams’ “Run To You,” making for the best drop-the-mic moment I’ve seen in years.


1. “Gimme Something Good”

2. “Fix It”

3. “Dirty Rain”

4. “Let It Ride”

5. “Stay With Me”

6. “New York, New York”

7. “Trouble”

8. “Easy Plateau”

9. “My Wrecking Ball”

10. “Shadows”

11. “I Just Might”

12. “I Love You But I Don’t Know What to Say”

13. “The Door”

14. “Oh My Sweet Carolina”

15. “Am I Safe”

16. “Rats in the Wall”

17. “When the Summer Ends”

18. “Peaceful Valley”

19. “Change the Boat”

20. “Kim”

21. “Dear Chicago”

22. “Magnolia Mountain”

23. “Run to You” (Bryan Adams Cover)


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