In 2002, Ryan Adams came through the Late Show With David Letterman to perform “Starting To Hurt,” a song from his then-new album Demolition. He sounded great but looked absolutely out of it. The performance must’ve stuck with Letterman. Letterman is only a week away from retirement, and he’s saving his favorite guests for this last run of shows. (Tonight, he’s got Tom Waits doing a new song.) Last night, he had eternal flirting partner Julia Roberts, and he also had Adams, now clean and sober. Adams again played “Starting To Hurt” and again sounded great, but this time he looked a whole lot more together, rats’-nest hair notwithstanding. Letterman liked this last performance so much that he wasn’t content to let the song end; he had to get Adams and the band to play a bit more of it after it was over. This is just an extremely gratifying late-night TV moment, the sort of thing that might get you emotional about Letterman’s legacy all over again. Watch last night’s performance, and the one from 2002, below.
We’re never going to see anyone like David Letterman again, are we?