Ryan Adams At Roseland

Standing in the Roseland mezzanine looking down on Ryan Adams lurching and jerking beneath the strain of his ego’s creation, I was at once envious and contented: It’s just a few short steps from the Mercury Lounge to Roseland.

Is it enough to come close? To know you have the songs, the band, the chops, and the where with all to make it? Or is there a point, ever — Madison Square Garden? Royal Albert Hall? The Grammy Awards? — when it’s close enough, close enough to there? And what’s the cost? Do you burn bright, then burn out? Or keep a slow and steady flame flickering definitely against a steady gale?

Handing out promo CDs as the exhausted audience filed out into the cold night afterwards felt like a bad episode of VH1’s “Bands on the Run.” One guy yelled “We’re from Texas,” his red leaflets scattered and blowing across the sidewalk. A singer/songwriter stood in the corner with a suitcase of CDs, giving away his dream for free. Band mates railed about “the competition,” elbowing me out of their way. Like sharks in chum-filled waters, folks snarfed up my messenger bag of CDs. (My last one went to an especially assertive — and wasted — older guy in a Bryan Adams “18 ‘Til I Die Tour” t-shirt. Was he lost?)

This morning, the sun spills over Hell’s Kitchen, the pile driver slams it’s relentless, merciless rhythm, setting its foundation deeper and deeper and deeper, one cold hammer blow at a time…

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