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KISS Concert 2012 – Adam Lambert Live (VIDEO)

May 20, 2012

By Juneau

Copyright KISS 180 FM Boston

I wanted to post my report from Boston’s KISS108 Concert last night, but I was simply too wiped!! The day began with a drive to the airport to pick up friends who had flown up from Washington DC for the concert, getting ready (oh the drawn-out ritual of Glamberts prepping for a concert!), making the 45-minute drive down to Mansfield, then six hours of nonstop sonic bombardment, jumping and screaming, reuniting with Glamberts from all over – easy to spot in their black-and-yellow accoutrements – followed by dinner with eight fans and hours of dissecting the show, our favorite Adam whatever ever, etc. Finally, the drive home, with “Trespassing” blasting on the car stereo, turning my Mini Cooper into a one-woman party bus barreling up Rte. 95. I wanted to jump online the minute I got home, but the wifi had inexplicably slowed to a sloth-like creep. Must have been my Internet angel telling me it was time to stop for the day.

So, without further ado, here’s my report. The weather was perfect for an open-air concert. Clothing retailers must be wondering about the sudden run on neon yellow garments and accessories. The color was much in evidence, along with fan-club dogtags and assorted skeleton keys, Infinity and Eye of Horus pendants, yellow wrist bands and glow sticks. Props to Adam’s design team! That hue really pops out. From our seats, we could see bright yellow dotting the 20,000-person venue.

@ashleydzerigian: 20,000 in attendance (photo by @isaacthecarp)

A large crowd had assembled by the time Adam came on at 5:50PM. His was the final act of the first half of the KISS Concert program. Every time Adam’s name was mentioned by a DJ on stage, the crowd erupted. DJ Matty Siegal introduced Adam again, as he did so memorably two years ago. This time he pumped up the crowd by telling them “this guy is HUGE. He sells millions of records.” He mentioned American Idol, which drew a particularly loud cheer from the overwhelmingly young crowd. Like every Glambert listening, I groaned inwardly. Wish he had talked instead about Adam’s glorious vocals and how “Trespassing” looks like it might be #1 album this week…then again, teens maybe could care less about sales stats.

Suddenly, the band was just there on the stage. (Maybe it’s just me, but I would love to have seen them engage the audience a little more, y’know, wave to the crowd to show how excited they were about playing for them.) Adam strode onstage, resplendent in a dark leather vest, pants and chunky boots, perfect rock god styling that managed to look sharp and tattered at the same time. A dark T with a brilliant colored Native Americanish design, well chosen to look great both under the vest and solo for when Adam peeled off the vest (fast learner, that Adam).

Adam opened the set with a rousing “Trespassing” followed by “Kickin’ In”. The songs sounded fantastic. This came as a revelation to me because I had NEVER heard a band sound good before in the Comcast arena. The volume is always pushed past the limits of tolerance, with the bass pounding so heavily that everything else is obliterated. Wow, I marveled. With proper audio engineering, you can actually get a rock band to sound great in such an acoustically unforgiving environment. Props to Adam’s perfectionism.

And then, my happy bubble burst. As the band launched into “Shady”, the bass frequencies suddenly got cranked so loud that the giant arena speakers buzzed. The higher frequencies were blotted out, while the drums and keys cut through with the blunt force of a pneumatic drill. We could hear Adam go uncharacteristically off pitch, with the backup singers struggling to stay in tune. The huge audience that had been clapping and rocking out to the first two songs began to lose the groove. From where I was sitting, you could see the crowd energy lose coherence. People started sitting down. The fans of course knew all of the songs and did their part, dancing, singing along. The next song in the set was “Whataya Want From Me”, and without the overwhelming bass, the familiar and well-loved hit helped Adam regain focus. But the audio issues resurged with “Naked Love” and persisted through the rest of the set. The combination of poor sound balance and the unfamiliarity of the songs on “Trespassing” made for a less than rousing finish.

Although I’m as eager as Adam to introduce his new music to the world, I’m wondering whether “If I Had You” might be a better way to close these radio concerts. The reality is that the majority of teens, who are the primary target of these shows, get most excited about the hits they already know. Getting people to rock out to a song they’ve never heard before, over a crappy sound system, is not effective marketing.

But enough kvetching. On the positive side, Adam looked spectacular, and the visuals, projected on three jumbo screens, were thoroughly satisfying. Watching Adam, eyes sparkling, smile and swivel his hips delivers a rousing jolt of happiness that is a rare and precious gift.

Photos from KISS108

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Set list
Trespassing
Kickin’ In
Shady
Whataya Want From Me
Naked Love
Never Close Our Eyes
Cuckoo

The entire 30-minute set via U-Stream, capped on Vimeo by @GaleChester. Thanks to a better audio feed, the sound problems are not as evident on this stream.

KISS108 Backstage interview w DJ Matty

8 Comments leave one →
  1. kaceyalum permalink
    May 20, 2012 9:50 am

    Can’t wait for the Wilkes-Barre Concert on May 25th!!! Wahoo!!!

  2. May 20, 2012 10:34 am

    J.,
    Thanks for the concert write-up. It’s too bad about the sound. And you may be right about playing something that the audience knows. (Most people still hate listening to things they don’t know at a concert,and I was that way until Adam).
    Even with the problems, he’s doing great. My feeling about this album is that I’ll be happy if it’s huge, but I’m not going to stress about it. Adam gets to do what he loves, and we get to watch him do it.

  3. dorihb permalink
    May 20, 2012 10:39 am

    I was watching the ustream and the sound issues were evident unfortunately – my entire feed was commentjng on it, especially funny comments at the end expressing condolences to the sound guy: “R.I.P sound guy” and the like. Glamberts are a riot. 😀
    Having said that, Adam still sounded great, so cool to see the crowd getting into it.
    Can’t wait for Tuesday – Philly concert. We’re planning on an informal pre-concert get-together. Hopefully there will be no sound issues, but not getting my hopes up. I was priveledged to have gone to iHeart radio showcase & they even had Adam’s mike not loud enough – we could hear Adam OK, but the band was still too doninating. When will they figure this out?!
    Anyway (want to end on a positive note) – it was a fantastic show for a lot of (former?) non-fans; thanks for the re-cap. Lots of new fans will be made of this. Someone commented they wanted Adam to be so big that people will pretend they always liked him from the beginning. <333

    • May 20, 2012 2:21 pm

      “Someone commented they wanted Adam to be so big that people will pretend they always liked him from the beginning.”

      I love that!! And we original fans will have to strain mightily not to crack huge, smug smiles and say “I told you so!” Have a fantastic time at the Philly show. – xoxo J

  4. buffy522 permalink
    May 20, 2012 3:39 pm

    I saw your tweets Juneau and I was watching the ustream and following the fun on twitter. I was grateful for the utstream and it was going so well. I half expected Adam to just frickin’ stop the show and get the sound right. He is such a perfectionist about that! I don’t know if it was his crew or the venue that screwed up, but I was really settling in for Shady. Everyone seems to agree that there is just a “stop” at the end and needs a peppy close. I would be good with IIHY. It sounds like he may be trying to work the whoas of Naked Love into that, but probably not. I love Kickin’ In but it isn’t working for these shows yet. Maybe he just needs the track on that one.
    Anyway, feelin’ like the wasteland down here in Texas with no shows anywhere here or the south or southwest at all that I’m hearing. But I whined about that during the GNT list and then they started popping.
    So a few more shows and then QUEEN!

  5. May 20, 2012 5:38 pm

    i always like it when i can say “I told you so” it makes me feel smart problem is i never get to say it so i hope this happens

  6. el Kat permalink
    May 20, 2012 7:48 pm

    Those singers again …..

    Remember, at one time Adele had only one hit, and when she sang the other songs from 21 people didn’t know them. 21 million albums later …..

    Sound mix on outdoor concerts is invariably crappy. I’m sure as these concerts go on he will fix the arrangements for maximum sound, best ending, better mix.

    I agree, as much as he wants to move on to Trespassing, IIHY would be a great one to end on !

  7. Susie permalink
    May 20, 2012 9:45 pm

    Thanks for your great report…I was there and I, too, felt the sound ruined some of the set, but he was wonderful just the same. I was more annoyed at the empty seats, and reflected after seeing every single seat filled for Enrique and Flo Rida, that Adam, indeed, has a long, long way to go.

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