Ryan Adams at Summerfest 2016 in Milwaukee

It is going to be difficult to write an impartial review about my favorite musician, Ryan Adams but the following is my best attempt. When I found out Ryan Adams was playing Summerfest, I jumped on the chance to cover his show. I was able to catch a few of his shows on his last tour and it was something to behold. The production and lighting were on point and of course Ryan Adams and his touring band, The Shining, lived up to every expectation I had.

That being said, I wasn’t sure what a Ryan Adams show at a festival would be like. At times, it seems like fest shows leave a little bit to be desired, sets are short, stripped of production, and it seems like sometimes artists have a hard time connecting with the crowds. That was certainly not the case for his show at Summerfest! I was pleasantly surprised to see the gigantic guitar cabs on stage, arcade games, toy tigers, cats and a Dr Pepper machine, naturally.  Ryan Adams and The Shining took the stage and the entire set was flawless. They played songs that spanned his career pretty well, including Halloweenhead, a song that had been requested on the previous tour but that I had never heard live before. The banter between the crowd and Adams and the band was great as always, I love an artists who isn’t afraid to interact. My favorite quote I heard from a friend who saw this line up at another festival this Summer was when Adams called a heckler in the crowd a “Sith Lord”. It really doesn’t get better than that.

All that was missing was something from one Ryan Adams’s other musical endeavors, Whiskeytown, but otherwise I really couldn’t complain. I left the show on cloud 9.

Ryan Adams and The Shining are currently on tour, go see them if you have a chance!


About azuree wiitala

I am a freelance photographer based in Chicago who enjoys live music, shooting weddings, sipping on Coca Cola Classic and bunnies!

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