This is huge, people.
We are let’s-save-money-by-getting-take-out-and-watching-Netflix-at-home kind of people.
But one of Andrew’s friends/clients gifted us with tickets to see Ryan Adams in concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, so we used this perfect opportunity to wear nice clothes and go out together.
First of all …. I had no idea what to wear. Yes, it’s Ryan Adams so I could wear jeans and a t-shirt. But it’s also the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Where the L.A. Philharmonic play occasionally. I ended up doing a business-casual look and didn’t make a fool of myself. I’m not all that stylish, after all.
Plus making the effort of getting a little more dressed up made the evening a little more special somehow.
Second of all … we were *almost* late. Andrew didn’t realize that it’s the kind of place that if the ticket says 8p, you actually have to be there a little before 8p to be seated. Plus we live in L.A., were driving to the downtown area on a Friday night. It took us more than an hour to go about 20 miles.
But, we made it; we were seated; and then the opening act showed up (I didn’t realize that you could have an “opener” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall).
The venue is “in the round” … meaning that the stage is in the center at the bottom of the building, and the seats are on all 4 sides. Which means that “back stage” is actually a door that goes under a section of seating.
So the lights go down … and there’s just a little table in the center of the stage with what looks like some kind of drink and a few books. No instruments. No monitors. No microphones. I really couldn’t figure out what was happening….
… and then from off stage you hear this old-man-southern-voice singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” … slightly drunkenly. A really low rumbly voice… and slowly it gets louder as the singer stumbles on to stage….
For the “opening act” we were treated to about 45 minutes of a tipsy Mark Twain monologue (he explained he was a bit drunk because he had a cold and his friend William Dean Howells prescribed brandy).
It was strange and funny and completely unexpected.
I loved it.
Once the act was finished and “Twain” stumbled off stage again, the announcer called him back for a curtain call: “Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Val Kilmer!”
WHAT? Yes. Exactly my thoughts. And then Andrew said, “Oh yeah, I thought it sounded a bit like Doc Holliday from Tombstone.”
Which reminds me: Val Kilmer. Yeah, so … straight at 8 some guy shambles out singing “Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot” in a Twain disguise (white suit, shaggy wig and mustache), spouting observations (“What kind of name is Rudyard?”) and bon-mot asides (“I have been drunk before, but this is a masterpiece!”) and generally attempting a gently caustic, occasionally chuckle-inducing impersonation of Samuel Clemens for 30 minutes. After which, the house announcer revealed it was the former Batman.
Then intermission … and on to the main event.
I am not a HUGE Ryan Adams fan. I mean, I like everything of his that I’ve heard. But I’m not the kind of fan that can recognize a song by just the first couple guitar strums.
But I really (really) enjoyed the concert.
I adore music. I love talent.
And this show was JUST Ryan Adams and whatever 1 instrument he was playing at the time…..
Very bare bones, very intimate…. He did a bunch of his standards (kind of country, acoustic guitar-y), plus an ad-lib song about his cat on the piano (man, that guy loves his cat), and a couple covers (including ‘Wonderwall’ as his encore).
I always forget how much I love music – just because Andrew always has SOMETHING playing. And it is usually not anything I would choose or have even heard of.
But with the opportunity to just SIT AND LISTEN in the dark theater for a couple hours…. totally reminds me how much I love the magic of music. (Sidenote: I have an Associate’s degree in music. So I know just enough to understand what a songwriter has to do, but not enough to do it myself).
It was just such a lovely night to see live music, in a NICE setting (not a warehouse that smells of spilled beer and pot) and spend time with Andrew….
Seeing Ryan Adams in concert plants a seed of inspiration to:
- Quit my job and write music. Whenever I hear a GREAT songwriter it makes me want to write songs myself. (Note: I have never actually written a song)
- Get a piano! Now that we have a house we actually have a spot for it. Obviously, I’m going to need a place to write my songs.
- hang out with our friend Justin Hunter … because man-oh-man does Ryan Adams remind me of him! Build, hair, speech pattern…
- Practice my clever banter to entertain fans in between my songs. For when
- Spend more time just sitting and listening to music. I am such a multitasker I never do this
- Punch people in the face. Particularly people who yell what they think are clever things at the performer but are really just idiotic. Or people that TAKE PHONE CALLS in the middle of a song. Ugh.
- Listen to more James Taylor. For whatever reason, Adams’s acoustic set reminded me of Taylor.
- Go to the theater. The concerts that Andrew usually goes to are at houses or in warehouses and you just show up whenever. The concerts at the Walt Disney Concert Hall remind me of going to the theater. 5 minute warnings before curtain and if you’re not in your seat you’ll have to wait before they’ll let you in.