Adams, Ryan : Dublin Olympia Theatre: Sunday November 16

He is one of our era's most exciting, talented and vital artists. Or, at least, he should be

Tonight [a]Ryan Adams[/a] has been kidnapped and replaced with an exact replica. He looks like [a]Ryan Adams[/a]. At times he sounds like [a]Ryan Adams[/a]. But he has none of the wit, the off-hand swagger or the seductive charm of the real Ryan

Adams. And he doesn’t have the tunes either.

Not so long ago, [a]Ryan Adams[/a] was one of the most electric, magnetic and

effortless front-men on the planet. With ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Gold’ in the bag, he had the songs and the craft to rival [a]White Stripes[/a] or an ‘Exile On Main Street’-era [a]Mick Jagger[/a]. But while he was growing into his role, he got bored – he was essentially the beardo’s favourite when he just wanted to be a rock star. So he wrote ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’, his stab at the first great rock album of the 21st century, and here is touring it pitching himself somewhere between [a]Morrissey[/a] and [a]Kurt Cobain[/a]. Only dressed like [a]Elvis Costello[/a].

But it’s clumsy and poorly realised. [a]Ryan Adams[/a] only plays tunes from the new

album and ‘Love Is Hell’, the record his label only deemed good enough to release a couple of EP’s from. Really, for the most part tonight is more [a]Bryan Adams[/a] than [a]Ryan Adams[/a]. [a]Ryan Adams[/a] angers because the songs are poor. He’s punching way below his weight. Songs like ‘Is This It’ and ‘1974’ are throwaway and average. He used to write them in the morning, play them in the evening and forget them by that night – and those songs were better. Only once does he surrender and allow glimpses of what he’s capable of. Ironically, it’s when he gets rid of backing band The Killers and plays ‘I See Monsters’, a hair-on-the-back of the neck song. When you’re this good, why fight it. It’s like watching David Beckham slowly chiselling off his right foot.

Paul McNamee