RYAN ADAMS, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 19 Sept 2014


Many years ago I got into trouble for leaving a Ryan Adams concert during the penultimate song and failing to report that he’d brought Noel Gallagher on for the grand finale. I’ve honed my craft since and am proud to be able to write that I saw Johnny Depp playing guitar during last night’s encore.

Appearing unannounced beneath a hat and sunglasses, the actor played with fluid movement during encores of Danzig’s Mother and a new Adams original, Kim. He was a surprising cherry on top of an already impressive show, with the occasionally unreliable singer-songwriter hitting his personal jackpot of being emotionally overwhelming during songs and hilarious between them.

“I like to play this song last because I am very sure it’s the only one you like,” Adams said before Come Pick Me Up, from his classic solo debut, Heartbreaker. But there have been so many to love since then. Without a hit single to his name, you may leave his shows wishing he’d done a personal favourite but the selection on offer rarely fails to satisfy.

Am I Safe and Stay With Me, from his self-titled new album, sounded good enough to join the regular cycle for the forseeable future. Elsewhere he deconstructed some oldies, sending Easy Plateau and Peaceful Valley spiralling off on a long instrumental tangents, and debunked the traditional band introduction segment, with everyone playing a deliberately woeful solo. There was no need for a Hollywood guest to prove that he’s on A-list form.