Ryan Adams / Middle Kids – May 26 2017 at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne.
Back in 2015 Kokomo went to a Ryan Adams show at the Forum, like he always does. In fact Kokomo hadn’t missed a Melbourne show since Adams had first came out to tour Gold, and that’s including the rare RRR rooftop one. Tonight was extra special for Kokomo, as #4 on his ‘Celebrity Pass’ list Jenny Lewis was supporting and although she made eye contact with our hero, nothing worthwhile eventuated.
Ryan Adams and the Shining – On Fire
Adams and his then backing band The Shining were also on fire. The only thing sullying it for the room was some wasted heckler calling out the dullest shit all night. Everywhere people were groaning. Dismay was palpable. Shhh’s were thrown this guy’s way to no avail. Adams mostly ignored the guy and just kept knocking it out of the park. His song choice was akin to that thing European chefs do when they kiss the tips of their fingers and joyfully toss them up into the air. We’re talking House Is Not for Sale, La Cinega Just Smiled, Stars Go Blue, Let It Ride, Sweet Illusions, To Be Young. It was epic. Lewis even joined Adams for BVs on Oh My Sweet Carolina.
By the end Kokomo was bursting at the seams, full of the kind of excitement that can only escalate by being really quite wasted. Kokomo had seen some bad Ryan Adams shows (old St Kilda Palace 2005, Forum Night Two 2009) and some truly great ones (Forum 2001, Regent 2012, Forum Night One 2009). Tonight was already the best by far. Adams announced that this was to be the last song. Oh shit. Kokomo was jazzed.
As you may know by now, KoJo likes to take a look at setlists online before the show. This would have to be, just HAVE to be Come Pick Me Up. This is Kokomo’s number one Heartbreaker jam. But Kokomo didn’t want to spoil the surprise for everyone else. It wasn’t his place to reveal the satisfying Hollywood ending. So for the first time that night Kokomo opened his mouth and “Yeah play…. that last song!” involuntarily came out.
The Humiliation Begins Here…
Unfortunately, it was one of those moments when things had suddenly gone quiet for some reason. Adams froze. Time stood still. He turned towards Kokomo, clearly a good 80 degrees and 10 metres away from the site of the dumb shit heckler and opened fire. The Forum’s spotlight and all-knowing eyes of Mordor turned towards Kokomo. Adams said many nasty things, one of which was Kokomo must have some sort of forehead billboard tattoo that broadcast an inability to pick up babes. Wrong: Kokomo has only one tattoo and it says “It’s Party Time”. Adams threatened violence: “I’ll break your nose, bro”. He said this would hurt.
He went on for about another 2 minutes. This was an eternity under these circumstances. Kokomo’s buddies were shocked. “Please just make it stop” they muttered. Kokomo tried to interrupt. “It wasn’t me!” was one response that came to mind. “But I have all your albums! I paid for them, and I mean all of them!” was another. “Hey bro that’s the first thing I said all night bro!” was what Kokomo probably shoulda said. But the words couldn’t form. Kokomo was crushed. It was like being dacked at school assembly. By your idol. It only got worse.
The finale and apology…
When Adams returned for a finale bow with the band, possibly buoyed by someone backstage saying to him “Geez that was a bit rough, bro”, he apologised….towards the initial heckling douche, positioned as we’ve already discussed at least 80 degrees and 10 metres off Kokomo’s by now frozen feet. This fucker hadn’t earned shit and he got all of Kokomo’s contrition. The cherry on it was Kokomo already had a ticket to the following night’s show. Now what the fuck was he going to do? Kokomo was gonna go and keep his goddamn mouth shut that’s what.
Ryan Adams a Fight or Flight Trigger?
Adams then became a trigger of flight or fight response in Kokomo’s day-to-day. When his kids demanded another Taylor Swift song in the car and Kokomo felt like blowing his fucking brains out, he’d try to put on Adams’ versions of Bad Blood or Wildest Dreams. But this just caused Kokomo physical pain deep inside his chest, while his children just bristled and escalated at the chicanery.
And so it came to this Margaret Court show and sure as shit Kokomo wasn’t gonna go, no fucking way. Kokomo was happily off to see an Australian band play to no one when an SMS came through from his good buddy offering a freebie. Mrs Jones thought it would be good for her beloved Koky to get out in front of his fears, like when someone with arachnophobia gets a bucket of tarantulas tipped over their heads. And Kokomo can’t resist a free ticket, it’s just not in his nature. Kokomo went. With a couple milligrams of anti-anxiety medication downed he was able to get out his front door and directly under Adams’ microphone.
Growing up Kokomo’s mum taught him that if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. So when pressed, Kokomo will say that the opening song Do You Still Love Me (err, no) was pretty great, as well as any of the other songs mentioned earlier. The Dead-Ish jam songs, well…..they were really, really tight. Kokomo learned another valuable life lesson: You can still like a few songs of some guy’s music despite some serious A-Grade, pants down public humiliation. Kokomo forgave.
XoXo – Kokomo