Concert review – Adam Lambert at Six Flags New England
Last week, I wrote about Adam’s performance at the KISS Concert in Boston. Although many fans were in evidence, it was one of those sprawling radio promotional events geared to Top 40-listeners. Adam seemed uncomfortable, and coupled with sound problems, he didn’t quite connect with the crowd in the ways we know he is capable of.
What a difference one week makes! I attended the Six Flags concert yesterday, teenage daughters in tow, and was treated to 45 minutes of pure magic.
When I arrived at the venue – a grassy clearing and picnic grounds surrounded by forest at the edge of the huge amusement park – a few hundred hardcore fans crowded the area in front of the stage, while this year’s Voice victor Jermaine Paul warmed them up with covers of 80s hits. As season one Voice champ Javier Colon took the stage, the audience grew slowly, but the energy was low. There hadn’t seemed to be any buzz about Adam out in the amusement park. Was Adam going to be looking out at a cluster of “same old” fans surrounded by a sparse penumbra of drive-by listeners?
I needn’t have worried. By the time Colon exited the stage, the crowd had swelled to fill the football field-sized venue. The air reverberated with people chanting Adam’s name. The New England afternoon, warm and humid with the promise of summer, thrummed with anticipation.
Then, teenage girls started screaming. They had caught sight of Tommy in the wings. The screams crescendoed as the band took the stage. There was a very pregnant delay (technical issues off stage?) before Adam strode out, eye-popping (when isn’t he?) in that by now familiar black vest over a never-before-seen black tank emblazoned with cheeky yellow dollar signs, and something new and exciting: denim cutoffs that left his shins enticingly exposed above the combat boots. The crowd roared like a Boeing jet and we had lift off!!
I love, love, LOVE that Adam kicks off each show with “Trespassing” (rather than his current single). It’s high energy, gets the crowd clapping and dancing, drips with attitude and delivers his mission statement. “Kickin’ In” and “Shady” are the perfect follow ups to keep cranking up the crowd energy. With every performance you can hear the band settling more and more into the groove. Adam picked his back-up singers well; their voices blend beautifully with his and lend a “goin’ to church” vibe that I’m sure was a conscious choice on his part, in keeping with the funk/soul/disco spirit of the album.
Although Adam struggled to get the on-stage and in-ear feed balances right on the Six Flags stage, those problems were not evident to the audience. The mix was excellent, the bass frequencies delivered with enough volume to get our innards stirring without muffling the rest. Adam’s voice cut through beautifully – people in the audience were in a euphoric trance absorbing the vibrations.
Having got the huge audience in the palms of his hands, Adam slowed it down with “Whataya Want From Me.” It was a moving sight to see the crowd singing along, arms swaying, cheers rippling forth at “Thanks for lovin’ me.” With the audience now primed to get more personal, Adam segued into the mystical gyrations of “Chokehold” and “Broken English” before lightening things up again with “Naked Love” and – to an appreciative roar – the familiar pounding beat of “If I Had You”, with the crowd pogoing en masse at the chorus. (Adam, tell me the truth! Did you read my KISS concert post?) Then came “Never Close Our Eyes” and “Cuckoo” to close the set.
What was most noticeable to me was Adam’s growing ease with being unscripted and playfully interactive. His banter was looser, and he dealt with the sound problems openly. When Adam sang a vocal riff to test his mic feed, he spontaneously turned it into a call and response with the audience, which climaxed with high wails and vocal flourishes that left the audience laughing and applauding.
I was ecstatic to see an audience that not only was large (Six Flags said at an estimated 3,000, it was the largest opening-day audience in the park’s history), but was made up mostly of young fans, skewing female but also with visible numbers of men. I imagine that for Adam it was the best of both worlds, to see loyal Glamberts in front of the stage, while beyond them stretched a vast field of fresh faces.
And because I can’t help myself, I would like to offer another suggestion. Please, Adam, think about adding “Outlaws of Love”, perhaps as the encore that the Six Flags throng begged for last night. No other song on the new CD showcases your voice as purely and stirringly. “Outlaws” is the emotional bookend to “Trespassing”, a song that transcends the personal to position you as an artist in one of the great social struggles of our time. My 14-year-old daughter, a child wise beyond her years, remarked upon hearing it for the first time, “That song will never play on the radio, but it’s going to be huge.” Sing it, Adam, sing it without fear.
Whataya Want From Me
If I Had You
Never Close Our Eyes
More coming soon…
Kickin In (by AdamsBonBon)
Broken English – Tommy’s solo
More videos on AdamsBonBon’s channel