Ryan Adams’s two-hour Saturday show at Los Angeles’s Greek Theatre was a night of muscular musicianship — all extended Heartbreakers-style jams to complement the sensitive singer-songwriter’s trademark heartbreaking lyrics. But the night’s most compelling moment was its quietest one, when in the final moments before the outdoor venue’s strict 11 p.m. curfew, Adams was joined by Karen Elson for a sparse, acoustic rendition of his Heartbreaker ballad, “Come Pick Me Up,” under the stars.
Elson, the famously flame-haired supermodel and ex-wife of Jack White who recently released her Southern Gothic sophomore album Double Roses (her first full-length since 2010’s White-produced The Ghost Who Walks), was Adams’s well received opening act Saturday — and when she blended her delicate croon with Adams’s world-weary rasp during his 2000 classic, it was magical moment that had us hoping these two will collaborate on projects in the future. Perhaps Elson could sit in on those recording sessions with Adams and Liz Phair?
The rest of Adams’s Greek set comprised mostly tracks from this year’s powerful post-divorce album, Prisoner (along with five Ryan Adams & The Cardinals tunes), but another non-Prisoner highlight was Adams’s haunting cover of Mancunian rock heroes Oasis’s “Wonderwall,” which he originally recorded for 2004’s Love Is Hell. While he didn’t overtly dedicate the song to Manchester, or address May 22’s Manchester concert bombing tragedy, his stark, dark remake took on extra weight on the eve of Ariana Grande’s all-star One Love Manchester benefit, where Liam Gallagher was the surprise guest.