A handful of shows loom historically large enough to warrant detailed discussion in “Losering” — especially June 8, 2005, which was the last time Ryan ever played in his old hometown of Raleigh. Hope springs eternal that he’ll come back to play Raleigh again someday, but that seems less likely the more time goes by; so 6/8/05 at Meymandi Concert Hall is what we’re left with. I reviewed the show for the News & Observer and took fairly detailed notes, which I relied on (plus memory) to recount the evening’s events in Chapter 16. But I hadn’t actually heard the show since the night that it happened, until recently happening across a recording on the Internet Archive.
The audio quality is pretty decent, yet it doesn’t fully convey what a strange and disjointed evening that was. You do get a sense of how much between-song wandering about the stage Ryan did, as his voice comes and goes depending on his proximity to an open microphone; but that means a lot of his manic babble happened off-mike, reduced to an inaudible murmur here. Still, listen closely and it’s possible to hear most of what’s described in the book: Ryan apologizing “in advance” to someone in the audience who yelled out an I love you early on, his cracks about being the clown he ordered and playing for an “audience hologram,” barbs at Robbie Fulks and Billy Corgan, bassist Catherine Popper commanding him to get out of her space and some excellent versions of songs from the just-released Cold Roses.
There’s also plenty I’d forgotten about, most notably just how ragged the closing five-song stretch with Caitlin was. Despite the had-to-be-there quality to it, however, I still think that raggedness fit. It was a wonderful moment. I wouldn’t change a thing.