With the stench of sweaty teenagers, mediocre musicians and Rigsy's utter contempt (see MGMT review) still in the air at the Ambassador, Dublin was all the more relieved to enjoy one of the gigs of the year.
Wearing a school uniform and now trademark specs, Ryan Adams and his band The Cardinals took to stage to the backdrop of a massive Cardinals statue, stuck in between two neon Cold Roses symbols, hanging with all the importance of the Stations of the Cross.
'Cobwebs' was a perfect opener, with it's thumping drums and crescendo of croons. A mammoth set of 26 songs followed, each song getting a special live spin fans of his recorded work really need to hear.
'Goodnight Rose' lasted nearly ten minutes; the usually slow 'Crossed Out Name' and 'Off Broadway' were transformed into punk classics while 'I Taught Myself How To Grow Old' featured Ryan solo, with nothing more than a heart of trampled dreams and a voice so passionate it was tear jerking.
'Let it Ride' and set closer 'I See Monsters' sounded huge, the latter given an extended jam - proper, old fashioned rock 'n' roll. No pretence from these fellas, no silly talk in between songs or even laughs - just classic hard rock.
Old tracks like 'When Stars Go Blue' and 'La Cienega Just Smiled' received the biggest plaudits on the night while 'Wonderwall', as conventional as it is, was simply spine tingling.
He only spoke once before the encore to introduce the band, and with such a talented collection of musicians we're reminded of Neil Young's Crazy Horse. For sure, some tunes are just as good as anything Young wrote back then and it would come as no surprise if thirty years on Adams considered with a similar respect.
High praise indeed, but going on the mood of a satisfied crowd leaving the Ambassador, thoroughly deserved.
Review and pic by Pauric Keenan