KISS Concert 2012 – Adam Lambert Live (VIDEO)
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.
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.
Whataya Want From Me
Never Close Our Eyes
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