Adams Put on a Restrained, Tantrum-Free Show at the Moore

It could have put you to sleep.

Clearly, a cleaned-up Ryan is a more reliable Ryan, which is certainly a good thing. That reality makes me feel even worse about making this observation: This show was almost too flawless. Though the previous enfant terrible's clearer headspace no doubt played a big part, what impressed me the most were the Cardinals, his long-running backing band. Hell, I'd go to a show just to watch them. Effortlessly improvising while gracefully and methodically warming up the room with each of the set's 18 songs, the five players seemed to be operating as part of the same central nervous system. Witnessing a band communicate so seamlessly was impressive, right down to the atmospherics they conjured to smooth over Adams' multiple tuning breaks.

It was a restrained, tantrum-free affair overall, with subtle lighting changes throughout the set and an affable and uncharacteristically quiet Adams keeping the between-song banter to a minimum, save for a few missives directed at noisy audience members and a brief discussion of the Moore Theatre's supposedly haunted history. The simply dressed stage was augmented by a solitary jack-o'-lantern, a teasing prop that seemed to indicate that we would eventually be treated to "Halloween Head," one of Easy Tiger's more raucous numbers. No diceā€”in fact, the offerings from that record were puzzling. With the exception of the brazenly Harvest-influenced "I Taught Myself How to Grow Old," Adams skipped over most of the album's strongest tracks, including "Rip Off," "Two Hearts," and "Goodnight Rose." The emphasis instead was on the Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights era, which seemed to please the reverent audience but sorta started putting me to sleep. Too bad, because if I had stuck around for the encore, I would have heard him do a cover of Alice in Chains' "In the Hole," which was, by all accounts, stunning. Unfortunately, when it became evident that he wasn't going to share a single track from Heartbreaker, I began losing interest. All that said, I commend the kid for getting his act together, finally.Set list: Games

Please Do Not Let Me Go

Magnolia Mountain

Off Broadway

Cold Roses

Oh My God Whatever, Etc.

The Sun Also Sets

This Is It


Easy Plateau

I Taught Myself to Grow Old


Carolina Rain

What Sin

Dear John


Encores: Blue Sky Blues

Down in the Hole

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