Dear Ryan Adams

Dear Ryan Adams,

You broke my heart.

Twice.

Both times were in Memphis, TN.

Let me explain.

There was that first time in 2004. That time was special. That time I rode down in Lindsey’s old silver PT Cruiser, spending the three hour drive from Nashville eating gas station snacks and feeling the kind of invincible you can really only feel when you’re 18.

All I could think about was finally getting the chance to see you live. It had been three years since Gold came out, and I don’t know how else to say it but to tell you this: I felt my life change when I heard Gold. I bet it was similar to when you first heard Paul Westerberg sing; like finally there was a soundtrack for your soul.

I entered the New Daisy Theater on Beale Street that night excited, innocent, in awe. My friend and I settled for a spot just to the left of center stage. There was some opening act that I can’t remember because I was barely listening anyway. I was too anxious to see you.

At some point during their set, I looked to my left, and there you were: sitting on an amp with your chin in your palm. My adrenaline rushed through my whole body. I could feel my pulse in my ears. My heart swelled and swelled until I felt it split wide open.

There you were.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe your heroes are just people.

That night went on to blow my mind. Lindsey and I danced and screamed and sang every word.

The next 5 years were a blur of seeing you every chance I got. There were multiple shows in Nashville, Indianapolis, Chicago. There was even the single best concert I’ve ever seen in my life with the Cardinals one night in St. Louis. There were a few autographs, too, though I’d never really had the courage to talk to you.

But then came that second time in Memphis. That time was not special at all. That time I rode down in Tim’s old white Nissan Maxima, spending the three hour drive from Nashville eating gas station snacks and feeling the kind of hopeful possibility that you can really only feel when you’re 23.

I walked up to the venue hand in hand with my future husband. I noticed the buses were lined up to the left of the building, and on a whim I decided to wait there for a bit. All I could think about was finally getting the courage to talk to you.

At some point, I looked to my left and there you were: walking towards the buses with Brad Pemberton and Jon Graboff. I decided this was my chance.

“Ryan, I love your music so much, and I just wanted to say that it really means a lot to me,” I barely stammered.

“Oh,” you said and rolled your eyes. “I don’t really like doing it, but Brad makes me.”

And then you just walked away.

My adrenaline rushed through my whole body. I could feel my pulse in my ears. My heart hardened and hardened until I felt it shatter just like broken glass.

I entered Minglewood Hall that night downtrodden, embarrassed, with my cheeks stained from a million hot tears. It was March 2009 and you’d just gotten married and clearly didn’t want to be there. I think you never spoke a word to the crowd and played half-baked and sped-up versions of your songs but I can’t remember because I was barely listening anyway.

I don’t how else to say it but to tell you this: I felt my whole life change that night. I bet it was like that time you heard Paul Westerberg had said that someone should knock your teeth out; like you were never going to be able to hear his music in the same way ever again.

You just rolled your eyes and walked away. 

Sometimes it’s hard to believe your heroes are just people.

The next 5 years were a blur of so many other shows. Multiple Avett Brothers, Old 97’s, and Todd Snider concerts. But never you again. It just hurt too much.

But I never stopped loving your music, and it never stopped meaning a lot to me.

And everybody knows, you can’t hold a grudge forever.

So tomorrow,  I’m giving it another shot in Indianapolis. I’m hoping the change in location will be on my side.

I want to dance and scream and sing every word. I want you to blow my mind again. Can you do that?

Please, Ryan?

Sincerely,

Tara

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Watched two more Best Picture winners– 1947’s Gentlemen’s Agreement and 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog was just gorgeous. Gentlemen’s Agreement was really good and tackled such a hefty topic particularly for 1947 (anti-Semitism), but did read a little dated.
  • Cooked an unhealthy but utterly delicious classic comfort food for my weekly recipe- Homemade Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Started and finished book #2, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, which was absolutely hilarious, heartfelt, sweet, and wonderful. I have the biggest crush on her.
  • Had another fabulous weekly date with Tim.
  • Wrote and took photos every day.
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