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With his reggae red, yellow, and green electro-acoustic guitar, Ryan Adams instructed 1334 Balboa Theatre attendees to “Put on your helmets and prepare to rock with a fury like you've never seen,” before kicking off with “Oh, My Sweet Carolina.”

Adams’s stripped-down repertoire included a solo piano version of “New York, New York” and several nods to his Whiskeytown days, while heartfelt new songs from Ashes & Fire wooed the crowd. The Easy Tiger was, however, not without his acerbic tongue: "Here's another summer anthem for you to take to the beach," he conceded in a burned-out drawl, before playing “Dirty Rain.”

The audience chamber offered everyone the same high-quality aural experience, paving the way for immaculately heard crowd banter. Like a seasoned stand-up comedian, Adams subdued the hollering masses. The highlight of the night was an improvised death-metal rendition of “Two,” in response to a concertgoer claiming that the original version was played at his wedding.

  • Concert: Ryan Adams
  • Date: October 11
  • Venue: Balboa Theatre
  • Seats: Row O, seat 111
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