I was at the second night, and it now stands as the greatest gig I’ve ever been at. Ryan himself appeared on stage with a half-empty bottle of red wine, staring blearily around, as the crowd grew quiet. He stumbled over to a piano, sat down, and started to play. When he opened his mouth, the entire audience went deathly silent. It’s impossible to describe those first few seconds. Even now, almost 5 years later, the entire concert is etched in my memory. But those first few seconds….
He played “Sweet L’il Gal”, a song from 2001’s “Gold”. On CD, a nice song. But on November 28th 2002, a crowd of a couple of hundred people had the closest thing to a group epiphany I’ve seen. And for over two hours, through two encores, and eventually the venue security forced to turn on the lights and escort Ryan off the stage to make him stop singing, the crowd was taken from piano to guitar, and back again; some sparse backing vocals; several humorous (and rambling) anecdotes; and the most perfect representation of an artists work I’ve ever had the privilege to witness.
Listen to “Sweetest Decline”, his cover of Beth Orton’s song, and one of my favourites, from the the first night….
“So, anyway, there I was, just sitting on your porch, drinking in your sweetest decline, your sweetest decline….
What’s the use in regrets? They’re just thing we haven’t done yet….What are regrets? They’re just lessons we haven’t learned yet….”