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One Year Ago: Adam Will Be Adored in Britain

March 21, 2011

It’s astonishing to think that just one year ago, Adam was introducing himself to Asian and European audiences on a promotional tour. The occasion inspired Xena to delve into the British roots of Adam’s music. Adam of course returned to the British isles at the end of 2010 for four shows that sold out almost faster than fans could hit the “buy ticket” button. This was an all-time reader fave, and we’re happy to give it to you one more time.

Originally posted 18 March 2010

By Xena (with more editorial kvetching by Juneau)

Get out your brollies, hang on to your spotted dick, you Brits!  – the Adam Lambert Meteor Shower is approaching to take the Isles with a Glam Rock offensive.

Adam embodies the best of what Europeans admire about Americans.  The courage to challenge the status quo without even trying, bold and optimistic for the future and endearingly modest, candid and unpretentious.  But Adam is bringing you a thank you gift.  He has absorbed decades of British musical and cultural exports and drew inspiration from the well-rounded entertainers to whom he grew attached.  Musically and stylistically,  you will recognize some of yourselves and your own cherished stars – updated with contemporary sounds and a range of eclectic styles from soulful ballads to euro electro-pop dance music.

We should have known what was to come when Adam chose Bohemian Rhapsody as his audition song – it takes some kind of masculine bravado to bring Freddie to the judges, then follow-up with gentrified hand kisses!

Adam conquered Japan, as my Samurai sister predicted.  Britain is next and Adam will be embraced for his talent, showmanship and self-deprecating wit.  The British, especially the English, have a fondness for the unique, the eccentric , the one-of-a-kind treasure like Adam Lambert.  While it’s not on his itinerary on this trip, we can surmise that someday he will be invited to a Command Performance just as Lady Gaga was to perform at the Royal Variety Performance Benefit Concert at the Blackpool Opera House on December 7th.  HRH Queen Elizabeth II already has the black sparkly gown and real diamond, sapphire, emerald, ruby glitter.  Not to mention the perfect hair accoutrement for an Adam Lambert performance, a diamond tiara! Ooff!

Waves of new music and new sounds have emerged from the big cities and small hamlets of Britain, fused from a long, rich cultural history from Celtic through Mediaeval, Elizabethan, Romantic, Regency, Edwardian all the way up to the legendary explosion of liberated arts – the 1960’s.  While America was fighting a war and young men were either being called-up or taking themselves off to Canadian exile – across the pond was Cool Britannia having a great big party!

Every single aspect of society broke open as the Brits threw off the last vestiges of war life deprivation and turned on the lights, bought some sugar and baked some cakes.  London England, Carnaby Street in particular became the centre of youthful fashion and as skirt lengths rose, so too did colour. New combinations – startling red with purple, orange, school-bus yellow.  Thanks to the wispy hair quality of the English Rose girls, those of us with thick, rich wavy hair suffered the process of hair laid out on ironing board for “treatment”.  Today, Adam’s blessed crown of versatile cheveux need not suffer such indignities.

And the men!!  Gorgeous dandies in purple velvet long coats, long lace cuffs drop from the sleeves.  Skinny legged trousers and …. the boot!  They wore jewelry – vintage – hats & hankies, the haberdasheries thrived.  To balance the Rococo curlicues below the neck, a wreath of long curly hair framed the face.  Think Lord Byron. Think Robert Plant. Think Adam Lambert.  The music, the style, the presentation.

When it comes to men dressing up with mega accoutrements, Elton John comes to mind, Freddie Mercury of course.  I already wrote of Adam as the 21st Century Beau Brummell after his New Years Eve sartorial inventions, breaking with some conventions, keeping others.  The original Beau changed menswear in Britain permanently and they have been in trousers and tailored jackets since.

American music, rockabilly, rock and especially blues arrived on the docks of Liverpool to be picked up by the likes of Long John Baldry and formed the basis of The Beatles early repertoire.  Risk-takers, cocky and bold, nothing stopped their evolution as they progressed rapidly through experimentation and ever more complex music and styles.  Beatlemania was as much a lifestyle as an expression of joie de vivre by a post-war generation and it was universal.

David Bowie, Adam has acknowledged as high on his list as a muse and expressed a desire to collaborate with this Godfather of Glam on songwriting.  Adam absorbed British music almost by osmosis early in his life with a former DJ and audiophile Dad providing a musical atmosphere in which he thrived.

Maybe not Dad’s favourite, Bowie was nonetheless embraced by young Adam, along with others of the 1970’s and 1980’s stars who paid as much attention to the esthetics of their presentation as they did the music and many of these of course hailed from….guess where?  Completely different notions of male/female, masculine/feminine appearance and performance captured in one person, with the lines blurred so certain exoticism emerges, eroticism as well.

Adam’s ability to perform soaring anthemic music brings comparisons to the late, outrageous, flamboyant, sexy and gay Freddie Mercury.  Seeing and hearing Adam in the finale of American Idol, performing with the remaining members of Queen, it was easy to imagine Adam singing Mercury’s hits with the attendant costumes, struts and thrusts.  Not in imitation of course, but in homage to Mercury.  Another esteemed predecessor – the original Whole Lotta Lover, Robert Plant – provided the inspiration for Adam’s epic performance on American Idol, which he changed up with his leather-sheathed, smokey-eyed, Salome dance on the tour. Adam now fully inhabits WLL, branding it with his own authentic stamp, from the smoking hot Highline Ballroom version to the luxurious bluesy jam session that knocked out the audience at Fantasy Springs.

Again I express my frustration with current commentators who view Adam’s on-show attire as daring or new – perhaps by today’s meager standards – when he is recalling those who came before him in the Sexy Rock Star genre of male performers, gay or straight.

Adam as a spark for scandals?  The British thrive on scandal!  Their tabloid press is unlimited in its zest for juicy stories – worse than any he’s seen in the U.S., but they are not taken so seriously with their liberal use of satire, unlike the earnest or sarcastic gossip we get.  We are confident in Adam’s  ability to stay centered and laugh them off.  Adam’s quick wit will serve him well should any barbs be thrown in his direction.

The unabashed vital and youthful Australians tripped over each other with almost embarrassing zeal to show their attraction to the affectionately nick-named “Lambo”.  Didn’t they just have all of us crying with laughter?  After he admired the sparkly silver leggings on an female Aussie radio host, she presented him with the pair that he subsequently wore in Japan, possibly scarring the beholders’ retinas permanently.

We in North America have grown tired of the perpetual prefaces to “Adam Lambert”.  We expect “openly gay” or “runner-up” to be unnecessary in Britain and much of Europe.  On a continent with topless TV weather girls, who really cares?

A larger-than-life personality, who recalls previous and current home-grown entertainers  iconic in the galaxy of British stars, we have no doubt Adam will be embraced and leave you all wrung out with a trail of rhinestones to follow him home.

I do wish Absolutely Fabulous was still being made – Imagine Edina and Patsy getting their Lacroix knickers in a knot over Adam!  Dipped in sequins, feathers, Alexander McQueen, Champagne in hand, emerging from the limo, teetering along in the Louboutins to meet him backstage before the show.   Eddie chattering and fretting with Patsy dumbstruck, toothy grin, eyelashes fluttering.  Adam smiles and gives each of them one of his signature hugs and whoosh! They’re down.


Adam Ant Prince Charming

Bowie Blue Jean

Freddie Mercury In My Defence

Xena Princess Warrior is co-author with Juneau of the book On the Meaning of Adam Lambert

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