Teenage Cancer Trust review

ryan adams

Ryan Adams

Royal Albert Hall, London

By The Fly17 Apr 2013
London’s Royal Albert Hall is full to the rafters for this first instalment of the 2013 Teenage Cancer Trust series, which raises money to help young people living with cancer. As Ryan Adams’ first full band show in years, it’s hardly surprising that this gig is sold out. What’s more, the brilliant Beth Orton is supporting.

Orton strolls onto the stage and bluntly introduces her first offering, ‘Someone’s Daughter’. Delivered with the same poise and pitch of the album recording, it’s a real treat. And, while the rest of the set is a little underwhelming, she pulls it back at the end with a sweet and swooping rendition of ‘Central Reservation’ and a cover of The Five Stairsteps‘ ‘Ooh Child’.

Thankfully, Adams is on top form tonight. Backed by a ‘supergroup’ (Noel Gallagher’s words) of global musicians, Adams seems relaxed and at home in the “huge electric ladybug” (his words). The set is a dreamy collection of impeccably-performed songs from his back catalogue, and pleases both hardened fans and newcomers. He opens with ‘Dirty Rain’ and ‘Ashes And Fire’, both recent songs which pack a similar punch to his older classics (such as the beautifully tender ‘My Winding Wheel’ and ‘Why Do They Leave?’).

The electric guitar makes an appearance for the awesome ‘Fix It’ and an inspired, reworked version of the lyrically rich ‘Nobody Girl’ (“Well the night plays games / And the people, they come and go…”). But it’s a stripped-back, solo version of ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’ which receives the biggest response. The band return to nail ‘Do I Wait’, a clear highlight for many (along with a new, improvised song – ‘Loaf Of Bread’, a tongue-in-cheek response to a brazen heckler).

And what Ryan Adams gig would be complete without a spellbinding bout of ‘Come Pick Me Up’ – proving the perfect ending to the ‘fake encore’ (they didn’t leave the stage, just hid behind the mic stand for a few seconds). Welcome back, Ryan.

Laura Williams THE FLY

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