This was always going to be a special show. Announced less than a week in advance, most of the sold-out crowd likely found their tickets online through a secret pre-sale code that weaved its way through music-minded social circles. Ryan Adams was long slated to headline Red Rocks on 6/20, but an additional Monday night show at the 700-capacity Fox Theatre in Boulder seemed destined for a unique experience with the notoriously reclusive singer-songwriter.
The rocker did not disappoint as he made his way through the two-hour set by connecting directly with the Boulder crowd, combining colorful humor and storytelling with a scorching set of alt-country-folk-rock songs. At one point, during banter with the crowd, Adams began ad-libbing a song about ‘Mr Duct Tape’ in reference to a piece of tape that had fallen off his old, re-worn jeans, an exercise lasting over 3 minutes and resulting in a pretty solid live number – a temporary glimpse into the mind of one of this generation’s most prolific and respected songsmiths. The remainder of the set was riddled with classic Adams favorites like “When the Stars Go Blue” and “New York, New York” as well as some highlights from his days with The Cardinals (Magnolia Mountain, Cold Roses) with a handful of songs from his new album, Prisoner, sprinkled in. The aesthetic was nostalgic and kitschy, with cathode ray tube monitors stacked center-stage in between two comically large Fender amp replicas, accented with a handful of powerful canister spotlights for true rock ‘n’ roll effect. There was no encore, but it was Monday night and nearly midnight so the crowd shuffled out satisfied and ready for bed. Overall, the show was a stellar (forgive the pun) and intimate affair, capping off another nearly perfect night in Boulder.