By Rachel Belle
Two things about Ryan Adams: 1) He's kind of a mess. 2) I love him anyway. I liked him before 2006, but I've loved him ever since. That was the year he blessed me.
I was sitting in the very last row at the Moore Theater while Adams chain-smoked and guzzled beer, struggling to get through his own set. Lyrics were forgotten, songs halted halfway though ("I already played this? Oh man, I wish I remembered that . . . I really like this song"), and at one point he stumbled offstage to "get an injection." But then I sneezed. I sneezed from way, way back in the all-the-way-in-the-back last row, and somehow, through his alcohol, injection, and cigarette haze, he heard me. He immediately stopped singing and in the sincerest of tones said "Bless you."
Adams claims to be squeaky-clean and sober these days, so I don't know if the Bob Mould tribute show Adams did last fall at Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall was as tumultuous or blessed, but it was recorded: 2,500 copies of "Heartbreak a Stranger" and "Black Sheets of Rain" will be available on vinyl Saturday--Record Store Day--at the nation's independent retailers. If you love Ryan Adams, this is truly a blessing.