Watched most gigs in Seattle and didn't plan for any gigs in Los Angeles till we saw the line-up for the KCSN Benefit Concert. (KCSN 88.5) Bought tickets immediately. Love the venue at Valley Performing Arts Centre in Northridge. The acoustics are fantastic. We had great seats right at the front.
David Gray opened the evening on the piano with the added lovely sounds guitars, cello and a double bass. Grinned when he noted that he "left England in a rainstorm to come to a rainstorm here." Hurhurhur. I know that beautiful opening song 'Birds of the High Arctic'. But I don't know many of his songs. Don't quite follow his music. Had to google furiously prior to familiarize myself with songs from his latest 'Mutineers' and some key tracks from his two-decade career. I did know that 1998 single 'Babylon', even the lyrics. Heeheeee. The man is a fan and loved the pieces for the evening. He sighed and said the individual sets were too short. Yeah, would be lovely to listen to a full concert. Another time then.
Then it was a different sound with Conor Oberst and his band. Plenty of solo material. Insightful and full of life's reflection, intense in the way his voice sounds. You can't turn away from that voice that commands you to listen to its cadences and melodies. Producer Jonathan Wilson was on guitar and they covered John Prine's 'Pretty Good', joking that when they opened for him, of course they didn't dare to cover that.
Happy to hear 'Landlocked Blues' from Bright Eyes. He switched the lyrics though. You know the line "If you walk away I'll walk away/First tell me which road you will take....So you walk that way, I'll walk this way". He swopped that out for "And there's kids playing guns in the street/And ones pointing his tree branch at me/So I put my hands up I say ‘enough is enough, If you walk away, I'll walk away’/And he shot me dead" Woah. That's a comment all right.
It took a lot for me to walk away empty-handed from the merchandise booth, especially from that ugly Christmas sweater with 'Ryan Adams' emblazoned across the chest. I like the dude, but not that much. Loved the silly stuffed tiger on stage and a standee of one of Ryan Adams' cats atop a massive gag Fender stack. Two arcade machines blinked cheerily- Frenzy and Asteroids. Especially noticed it since I just watched an old episode of Pawn Stars that featured pinball machines Twister and Scorpion. Hahahaha.
Ryan Adams is just as snarky on stage as we remember it. Very enjoyable live. He came on at 10.30pm and finished exactly an hour later. He's got this thing about people shouting songs requests at him on stage. He doesn't like that. One asked for 'Nobody Girl' that wasn't in the setlist. Ryan Adams responded "Would you like to play that?" Instead he played 'When The Stars Go Blue'.
The sound was so beautiful at this concert. Most in the hall stood up and clapped for each musician at the end of each performance. What a fantastic night.