Ryan Adams: Redemption

We didn’t see the last time Ryan Adams played Fuji, but we heard he was slightly pissed. Not sure why, but in any case his situation wasn’t helped by the fact that press photographers were limited in what they could shoot and there was an announcement before the set at the Red Marquee saying that flash photos from the audience would be a serious problem.

None of these rock star prerogatives made much of an impact on the show. Adams, who is prolific and somewhat contrarian, delivered a classic rock concert, one where guitar histrionics and heartfelt conviction went hand in hand. At first he seems strangely oblivious to the circumstances, wearing a leather jacket in a tent that was smoldering due to the sun. No one held it against him, and his blend of alt-country and classic rock eventually sucked in people who might not have know who he was in the first place but nevertheless knew what they liked.

So even the slower, more sentimental songs made an impact, thanks to Adams’ realization that he was making a difference, at least for the moment. Every subsequent song drew a more emotional response, and by the time he ended on a purely rock number, the audience was in his hands. He didn’t even seem to fathom it. He stood on a monitor and did the rock star thing in a darkened shed. What could be more cliche? But the audience wouldn’t leave. They wanted more as the crew came out to remove the equipment. They were still clapping when I walked away.