Last Thursday night, Ryan Adams treated London fans to an exclusive acoustic playthrough of his new album, Prisoner, ahead of its February 17 release.
The event took place at Rough Trade, an independent East London record store.
Although it was an ideal setting for Adams—a lover of vinyl and an avid record collector—the intimate setting meant that only a couple of hundred fans were able to attend, leaving many more queuing by the door in hopes of a last-minute cancellation.
Picking up from his self-titled 2014 release and the string of EP's that have followed it, these new songs seem to be a continuation of a theme that doesn't look to be slowing anytime soon for the 42-year-old.
"Here are some songs about my feelings," a seated Adams whispered to the crowd before opening with "Do You Still Love Me?"
The announcement and song that followed set the tone for a dynamic and emotional set, fueled by the raw nerves of his recent past that have clearly inspired these songs. So much so, that when speaking to the audience about an interview from earlier that day, he suggested a few hours of electric shock treatment as an alternative to breaking down the specific meaning behind the tracks on this record.
With "Tightrope," "Breakdown" and "Outbound Train," Ryan seemed to be coming into his own (especially the latter), entirely using the intimate space of the venue to full effect during the track's powerful chorus. With a scheduled time of 45 miniutes, it seemed he was about to bring the show to a close. However, he continued to play for another 40 minutes, which included the remainder of the upcoming album (minus "Shiver and Shake") and the as-yet-unreleased "Was I Wrong"
By his own admission, the songs on this record focus on dark and moody themes. On the closing of a chilling performance of the album's title track, Adams said, "God, these songs are fucking bleak" before adding, "I made a deal with Robert Smith. Just give me your leftover stuff, and I'll just sing it in a slightly Southern accent." It's an agreement that's so perfect, it could actually be believed.
Adams' shows are usually topped off by a heartfelt cover, and this was no exception as Adams took on Bruce Springsteen's 1993 hit, "Streets of Philidelphia." You can see the performance in the clip below.
Ryan Adams, Rough Trade East, London, January 26, 2017, setlist:
Do You Still Love Me?
Was I Wrong
Still a Cage
To Be Without You
Rats in the Wall (1984)
16 Days (Metal Version)
Streets of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Prisoner will be released February 17 via Pax Am/Blue Note/Capitol. For more informarion, visit paxamrecords.com.