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While the Jagger show boasted its share of celeb types, the real cognoscenti knew that the evening's true rock breakout was the remark-able Adams.
RYAN'S HOPE. JAGGER? NOPE.
On a Gala L.A. Rock Night, Hipsters Scramble
To Catch Shows by Mick, Ryan Adams
Tinseltown hipsters were out in force for a pair of major events last night. Once and future Rolling Stone Mick Jagger marked the release of his first solo album in some eight years, Goddess in the Doorway (Virgin) with a special, heavily hyped, invitation-only performance at the El Rey Theater. Meanwhile, on the Sunset Strip, highly touted Ryan Adams was appearing at the House of Blues to play songs from his critically praised Lost Highway album, Gold.

The plan, of course, was to hit both venues in order to catch a glimpse of classic-rock's past and future in one night.

The reality was showing up a half-hour past the stated 7:30 p.m. start time for the Jagger show and being confronted with a scene out of Day of the Locust, with paparazzi and TV camera crews jockeying for position, as celebrities like Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath were ushered past the red carpet. From the moment we arrived—only to discover the fire marshals had cut off the list—we realized more invitations had been sent out than the theater had room for, so we cooled our heels and waited for someone to recognize us.

After a couple of attempts to secure a wristband and head into a back door, we looked at our watch and saw we had a half-hour to catch Adams' scheduled 9:45 p.m. set and headed for Sunset Blvd.

And while the 40-minute Jagger show, being taped for the Nov. 22 ABC-TV prime-time special, boasted its share of celeb types, like Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Salma Hayek, Laura Dern and Fred Durst, the real cognoscenti knew that the evening's true rock breakout was the remarkable Adams.

Further, if you were looking for the 21st Century equivalent of Exile on Main Street, you would have been closer to that great album's spirit at the House of Blues. The unprepossessing, flannel shirt-clad ex-Whiskeytown frontman wowed the capacity crowd with a set that touched on the common ground of country, R&B, soul and funk that forms the cornerstone of that bastard child, rock & roll.

Highlights included The Band/Van Morrison yearning of "Answering Bell," the Stones-like raunch of "Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues," the Memphis-gospel-tinged soul of "Touch, Feel & Lose," which brought down the house, and his chilling take on Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues," from the recent Lost Highway Timeless tribute album.

It may well be sour grapes—Chris Connelly gets in while we don't?—but if rock & roll history was on display with Mick at the El Rey, it was being made by Ryan Adams this night at the House of Blues.

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