Ryan Adams treats Sydney to a surprise, intimate show, previewing his new album Prisoner

Last night, American troubadour Ryan Adams treated an intimate room of invited guests at Sydney’s Factory Theatre to what was only his second performance with a brand new backing band. The gig – which was serving as a warm up for their first official performance at the Enmore Theatre tonight – saw Adams and his band perform the brand new record Prisoner in full, with a few old favourites thrown in for good measure.

“These feelings are so raw, if you ate them, you’d get worms” – was a quip from Adams that summed up much of the lyrical atmosphere you’ll find on his new record. Following on from his Taylor Swift cover album 1989, Prisoner is Adam’s own breakup record, with songs about breakdowns (in a song called “Breakdown”) and death making themselves overtly present.

The compositions that accompany these lyrics though are typically impressive – Adam’s unique blend of Americana, Country, Rock, Folk and just about everything in between coming through in every song. Fans of his music will not be disappointed by the new record. And though he admitted to being pretty high (“I can’t be arrested though, because legally I’m always in California”, one of his many enjoyable lines of the evening), his voice was impeccable.

A highlight of the night saw Adams perform a fake saxophone solo, accompanied by the audience (well, we tried), and he followed the new record with three old favourites: “Fix It”, “Cold Roses” and “Shakedown On 9th Street”.

Ryan Adams performs a sold out show at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney tonight, where he plans to perform the new album alongside old favourites (and presumably quite a few more of them), in what will be his first “official” show with his new band. Prisoner is due out next year through EMI/Capitol.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.