Gold(en) Age of Ryan’s Arcade

Last Updated on June 27, 2021

Ryan Adams – The Orpheum, Vancouver, BC – October 7, 2014

This arcade show was Meh.

Video games began to gain momentum in the late 1970s with games such as Asteroids (1979) and became widespread in 1980 with Pac-Man. Ryan Adams began to gain momentum in the late 1990s with Strangers Almanac, continuing this momentum as a solo artist with 2000’s Heartbreaker before fading away in recent years.

Ryan tried to bring that momentum back Tuesday night at the Orpheum in Vancouver, but the monitors on the Asteroids and Pac Man vintage video games on stage read “Game Over”.

The only songs that were good where the few where he played harmonica and acoustic. One of them was the one and only encore song, “Come Pick Me Up” where he was joined on stage by Butch Walker (opener) on electric guitar. The other was “New York, New York” also on acoustic, but at a slower tempo than normal for this Gold track that could have been released in 1985 ((730,365 days – 16 Days)/365).

There could have been a “Dear Chicago” but instead, Ryan decided to improvise and make up a song as he went along. “Order #4” was about ordering a slice of pizza (possibly Chicago-style deep-dish). As amusing as the song was, he could have passed on this stupidity and maybe there would have been time for one more classic Adams song.

Everyone is now aware of the other Adams song, “Run To You” which is now part of his shows on this current tour. The song ended the night before the one song encore. The other Adams will be touring in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Reckless. Maybe Bryan can return the favour. There was nothing special about his supporting cast of Pac Men, not even a hint of “Pac-Man Fever”.

The songs performed from 2005’s Cold Roses did not work without the Cardinals and should be retired from future shows. I saw the Cold Roses tour in 2005 on the same day that the album was released. There was musicianship then, none of it on display Tuesday tonight. Not even gamesmanship.


Gimme Something Good
I See Monsters
Let It Ride
Stay With Me
Dirty Rain
Am I Safe
A Kiss Before I Go
New York, New York
Cold Roses
Peaceful Valley
Everybody Knows
Run to You (Bryan Adams)


Come Pick Me Up


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