Thursday, August 3, 2006:
Nashvillians are serious about their music. I knew this in theory before arriving, but now I have undisputed proof.
Dan and I attended our first Music City concert at the most iconic venue in America--the Ryman. The Mother Church they call it here claims to have the best acoustics in the world second only to the Mormon Tabernacle. So, when folks pay for a show there, they expect to get one. We got one from Ryan Adams, my favorite musician. As a member of the former band Whiskeytown, he was a pioneer of the Alternative Country movement in American music.
At the show one front row audience member tossed an open bottle of liquor onto the stage. It bounced around spewing liquor on Ryan Adams, and he was not impressed. He stopped playing, pulled a candy bar out of his pocket, and started eating it. He stood there while his band stopped and said, "I don't need this." Spectators started booing, and screaming "Kick him out!" Security guards found the perpetrators and escorted them down the aisle. As they were walking down the aisle, the girl sitting beside us told us to lean back because she planned to spit her drink through her straw at the disruptors. We leaned back, but she wasn't fast enough. They were whisked out of the building quickly.
As soon as they left, and the audience was still cheering, Ryan and the Cardinals started back up again. Not 15 minutes later, Ryan stopped again. Apparently a drunk fan in the front row was taunting him verbally and physically. He yelled, "You wanna come up here and say that to my face?!"
Again, the audience was pissed that this disruptor was cutting into precious Ryan Adams time. They chanted to kick him out. Again, the Ryan Adams waited until his disruption was removed before he continued.
The concert was amazing, and not just because it was the most anticipated concert of the year for me. He really put on a great show mixing easy sing-alongs with new tunes, danceable beats with slow ones. The entire show (audience and performer) was great until the last song. His last song was reminiscent of a Wilco concert I attended recently. Ryan moved into an experimental ending to his last song that lasted way too long. It was painful at the end, after the novelty wore off.
After his too-long experimental ending, he walked off the stage, the house lights came up, and security came out onto the stage. No encore? No encore. How disappointing....
I have to continue reliving our concert moment for a long time since this was the first and last concert we will be able to attend for a while. We were so hopeful that music options would be so available in Nashville that there would be a lot of free options. There definitely aren't as many as we wish. However, the Derailers are doing a free show this Saturday night that we will definitely attend.
This place is a trip. You gotta come visit!