Ryan Adams' tempered tantrum

Ryan_l_2Everything started out beautifully. Ryan Adams, the ever-prolific alt-country ambassador, was set to play 18 songs for his Yahoo Live Sets performance on Sunday evening, to the delight of 200 or so fans in attendance. The stage was serene, with dimly-lit Japanese lanterns hanging above. The sound was pristine. Adams’ voice was in fine form and his mood upbeat. Kicking off the set with "Goodbye Rose" from his latest album, the critically-acclaimed Easy Tiger, Adams and the Cardinals, his stellar back-up band, tore through the first five songs effortlessly, among them " Wildflowers" and " Blue Hotel." It had the makings of a perfect night.

For those all-too-familiar with Adams’ erratic behavior over the years, you could sense a collective sigh of relief give way to enthusiasm and respect as he jammed on to "The Sun Also Sets," "Easy Plateau" and "Two," and channeled his best Jerry Garcia (Adams even referenced the classic Grateful Dead album Terrapin Station). Hopped up on caffeine (a venti Starbucks iced coffee followed by several cans of Diet Coke), and feeling the love and excitement in the room, Adams started to loosen up, joking in between songs (before taking a bathroom break, he announced, "I don’t want to pull a Fergie"), deriding the songwriting skills of Jon Bon Jovi (Adams took issue with the "Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way’" line in "It’s My Life"), and obliging some downright silly questions from the audience (If he could have any superpower, what would it be? Invisibility, so he could shop in the metal section of a record store undisturbed). And as the evening went on, his quirky behavior, which included barking like a dog every 20 minutes and lampooning his sobriety (" You can take away the booze, but you can’t take away the crazy," he snickered), remained endearing. A good laugh to be had by all.

That was until it came time to play "Let it Ride." No more than 45 seconds into the song, Adams stopped abruptly, then yelled into his microphone, "Turn the lights down or I swear I’m gonna leave… I don’t feel comfortable!" Indeed, when the demand wasn’t met instantly, Adams stormed off, leaving guitarist Neil Casal to apologize to the crowd and thank them for coming.

But as fans began to make their exit, word trickled down that Adams was coming back to finish up the show. And upon taking their seats again, they were greeted with an explanation: Adams simply wanted a cigarette… right at that very second. While the incident prompted Yahoo to issue a statement the following day, explaining that he did finish his set and all was good, it really wasn’t necessary.

Truthfully, this crowd didn’t mind. After all, what’s rock ‘n’ roll without a little residual anger? And what’s a Ryan Adams show without a mild temper tantrum? Would we have him any other way?

UPDATE: Commenter The Dude is correct; the song is called "Goodnight Rose," not "Goodbye Rose."


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  • Slimjimmy

    I’m sorry, but I’ve never understood why music critics, and some fans, gush about his music. I think it’s boring and borders on being pretentious. And after reading about his latest temper tantrum, I think he believes the “hype” about him and thinks he can get away with this. Sorry Ryan, you’re CD’s are destined for the used cut-out bin, and playing small dives for the remainder of your career.

  • Judith

    Having seen Ryan in concert before, it doesn’t surprise me. It isn’t mature behavior but it’s fine by me as long as he came back to finish the set. Who needs a polite Ryan?

  • Kristen

    ha, he’s coming to play at my school this fall and i’ve yet to decide if i’ll go see him. i’ve had such good concert experieces this year with one of the friendliest bands around (guster) that i’d probably be really put off by any of his childish antics. tortured artist or whatever, people pay good money to hear him and shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not he’s going to have a hissy fit.
    i’ll always love “gold” though. well, at least the first half.

  • Raven_Moon

    I think Ryan Adams is a bloody brilliant artist, but honestly the temper tantrum throwing should be left to small children.

  • Snarf

    Ryan’s meds. Too much or not enough? Discuss!

  • Stephen

    haha he should date amy winehouse…

  • Tim Lade

    How is that people can indulge this type of selfish and unprofessional behaviour? I really don’t understand it. Popwatch seems to me that they are becoming more and more okay with this type of spoiled brat syndrome because the person is talented. First they brush off a serious drinking problem Lily Allen has and now they excuse Ryan Adams Diva attitude because he has talent. This is total and utter BS and when are critics going to start taking celebrities to task for their erratic and frankly a%%^&*! like performances.

  • t

    oh please everyone. if you don’t like his music – don’t BUY it, don’t LISTEN to it and by all means, DON’T go see him. if you think it’s pretentious & boring then go listen to whatever it is you think is exciting and true, and leave your whining at home.

  • jv

    I’m so sick of musicians who think that because they are artistic and talented, it gives them to right to behave like children. But we buy the records and the tickets–probably we get some satistfaction in seeing people act irresponsibly–the way we would like to act sometimes, but can’t because we would lose our jobs.

  • Mells

    I’ve never heard of this kid or his music but I don’t understand why fans would put up with such behavior. Seems extremely unprofessional to me!

  • junior

    What exactly is the problem here? He played his songs and the crowd enjoyed themselves, I’m sure. What? We’re upset because he left the stage. Girlfriend wanted a ciggy, so he left to get one. Is that a crime? I think the audience should be grateful. They got a concert and some theater for the price of one ticket.

  • Dawn

    Love the brilliance of the music, love the craziness of the man. A normal level-headed rock star? Uh, no thanks. But seriously, I’m not sure why he couldn’t have just said “Hey guys…I freaking need a cigarette RIGHT NOW. I’ll be back in a few.”

  • Melanie J

    I saw him with his band Whiskeytown in Atlanta. He threw a fit that night as well. I swore I would never see him live again, but I love his music and won’t stop listening to it.

  • Lynny

    There are certain artists that you just expect that type of thing from. I saw Oasis a few years ago and Liam threw a fit and left the stage for a bit, but honestly, I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t. It is almost part of the experience. Difficult artists are interesting to watch if you know what to expect. Ryan Adams is well known to fans to be a bit odd so they weren’t surprised, I am sure.

  • NIx

    Residual withdrawal. Or apparently nicotine addiction.
    Now, if someone has managed to convince him that he doesn’t need to release every damn “song” that pops into his head, his ouevre would be significantly better in overall quality. Edit yourself my boy.

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