review from The Herald, 16 Febraury 2006
Ryan Adams, Carling Academy, Glasgow
Some ninety minutes into this largel solo, uniformly indulgent set, something finally connects Ryan Adams with his muse and hitherto concealed talent, and a version of 'Rescue Blues' emerges that provides the first satisfying moment of a particularly arid event.
A mixture of mid-70s Rolling Stones and peak period Elton John, it is one of a handful of songs in Adams' repertoire where he manages to emulate, or even, surpass his heroes.
Reaching this point, however, is a slow tortuous process. With an audience willing to tolerate most of his many excesses, the first set is a loose, messy concoction that, on occasion, hints at greatness, but most frequently delivers abject mediocrity.
He promises depressing songs and delivers 'Don't Get Sentimental on Me' and 'Everything Dies.' For someone who has released three albums in the last 12 months to be introducing such new material suggests either a surplus of creativity, or more likely, the lack of a good editor.
The show appears to comprise mainly half-baked musical ideas supplemented by rambling, mumbled monologues about car sickness, pies and the odour eminating from his socks. In the right hands, it could be intimate and amsuing, but here is grates. Breaks are required for smoking, drinking and phone calls, when the real interval arrives it is something of a relief.
The second half begins with more dallying before he is told in no uncertain terms to by at least one heckler to play some songs. This seems to act as something of a wake up call: a move from guitar to piano and the appearance of some his best material makes for a marked improvement, albeit with insufficient conviction to retrieve the situation or fully re-engage an audience willing to accept whatever scraps oif quality and value they can from the ticket investment.
The polite applause in an anticipation of an encore is sadly reflective of what has gone before – an obtuse, random show that is more endurance than performance. Those charged with imposing the venue's 11p.m. curfew were repsonsible for one of the few tasks of the evening performed with a degree of conviction, otherwise Adams would probably still be playing.