Ryan Adams @ The Union Chapel, London
Belle Piec says a little prayer to Ryan Adams, who returned to London on Friday evening for an intimate show at the Union Chapel...
Arriving at the Union Chapel tonight, I find a queue the length of Compton Street and a security guard, who greets us all with the warning of no photography - or else the ‘artist’ will leave the stage. It would seem tonight's Ryan Adams show is highly anticipated from several different perspectives.
Once inside the gorgeous old chapel I dash quickly to the bar/kitchen to grab a delicious brown mushroom quiche (all proceeds going to the homeless crisis in London), then enter the main area to find a coveted pew with a view - not too blind-spotted by heads or already reserved by jackets or bags (man that pisses me off!). The Chapel’s gothic ceiling arches and stained glass rosette window eventually greet me at the centre, six rows from the back.
Ryan Adams takes to the stage to thunderous applause, wearing a cool leather jacket emblazoned on the back with what looks like a Stooges LP cover. "Are you ready to rock your face off?" he says ironically, assuming the mouth organ over his head and sitting down with his acoustic.
The concert kicks off with ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’, a classic from the brilliant Whiskey Town album Strangers Almanac. It's a gorgeous opener and gives an indication of the stunning journey he's about to take us on.
Sitting there, all alone, under his flop of brown hair, looking small and uni student like, you can’t believe your ears for the brilliant music coming from him. The small tea lights that surround the chapels middle arches, flicker and twinkle like stars as his harmonica aches straight through your heart like the howl of an old steam train rattling through America’s deep South.
Every word he sings, you can just feel that they have lived on everyone’s hearts at one time or another; he finds a way to put words into those dark & light filled moments all the while driving them home with superb guitar melodies.
‘Why Do They Leave’ comes off like a lusciously blue tune of desperation and need. Even more heartbreaking is 'Please Do Not Let Me Go' from Love Is Hell Part 2, whose lyrics wrap around you in a melancholic, cathartic hug; “Red suitcase full of clothes, washed up on a shore of memory.”
His voice, his harmonica, it’s all like coming home. Thank you Ryan, thank you.