“It’s Hot in Here” NYC February 12th
Updated with Videos for Each Song
Adam sets the Highline Aflame
Photo by Xena II
More exclusive concert photos in Juneau’s & Xena’s NYC album Read also:
The Glamrock Eagle Has Landed by Juneau
Adam Lambert Conquers New York……….
…..and the hearts and libidos of hundreds in a tightly nested audience at the Highline Ballroom. There are moments in your life, seared into your memory, multi-sensory videos to replay without ceasing in an effort to feel the moment again. This concert is one of them and for so many, the best live rock performance on a small scale, on any scale ever seen. Like so many Adam events before, we will seek any source to relive that experience, another provocation for the obsessed, another reason to carry on indulgently, no apologies offered. Some might lose patience with us, others will nod with that knowing, perhaps patronizing gesture. We do not care.
Professional editorialists viewed the mosh pit style performance from the airy balcony. We are no more than fifteen feet away from a waist height stage, surrounded by our best Adam girlfriends and my daughter. We convened to celebrate this event when good fortune befell five with winning tickets, so ten came and the eleventh on chance. She met a generous woman with an extra ticket.
After Ryan Seacrest’s disembodied voice announces rather redundantly where we are –
“Let the Games Begin!”
The stage is quite brightly lit, allowing deep contrasts of light and dark – the videos utterly fail to transfer the images accurately.
Adam off stage putting on his game face, can hear Allison rocking the room, the J-Pop pixie who surprises each time her lived-in voice takes flight. Asymmetrical look, with a single sleeved black top over a short white and black skirt. Her long fuchsia/red/magenta mane whips across her face as she swings her head and body around. Her coltish demeanor, untamed, strained the bit to let loose and away she went…taking the audience on a wild ride with her. We rode all the way home, where this pixie-chick ended her set with “Killing Me Softly” – Allison, you killed the song and the audience, perfect finish. My eyes closed to savour the final notes, she left too soon.
This setting is perfect for Allison, her easy self-deprecating humour when she stopped soon after starting “Scars” to find her key, added to the intimacy of the club atmosphere and she needn’t beg forgiveness from this crowd, we’ve embraced this tiny vixen already.
Allison’s band is a perfect foil to keep her barely grounded and the audience tilting with her. Her team is so engaging, they augment and support her performance in every way, including esthetically. Female drummer and bass player, older brotherly keyboardist and the sharply modeled guitarist – a magnet for Xena II who disappeared later and was found chatting with him and his lovely beaming mom. He’ll be throbbing thousands of hearts wherever Allison performs. Love the Emo Look boys with smiling faces and happy dispositions, simply affecting a fashionable look without the attitude. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I listen to Allison regularly and say so. My playlist is random and I am often startled with her voice, then stop to listen when so much else is background. Allison is the pepper in the cream sauce.
We’ll be watching for Allison to come to our town, buy the tickets and enjoy another wild ride with her and her band.
Adam Lambert the Tabasco! Red hot & spicy.
The audience is beyond warmed now – Adam need only step out of the shadows for the overheated geyser to erupt in cheers and shrieks. The set-change seems interminable, yet no one dares vacate a spot that will disappear in a flash.
Many performances are entitled “An Intimate Evening with Mr. Big Star”, however none can equal the intimacy of Adam Lambert’s Highline Ballroom performance and it was obvious from the moment we spied the glow from the wing preceding the divine Mr. Adam Lambert striding in on his long, slim legs in skinny trousers. We were about to be Entertained, stimulated, elevated and struck down in surges of humanity responding to nothing less than performance art, thickly applied.
Where others cast shadows, Adam casts light, humour, camp, drama, love and an über sexuality he uses to tease and taunt, in a performance usually reserved for clubs. So comfortable in the spotlight, “backstage Adam” sets his foot in the light and the character is complete. He is at home, the rock star stage with the classic array of characters, wise and wonderful Monte as Adam’s sparkle-kissed, yet older brotherly guitarist, Kewpie doll lipstick to match the new foxy red bass for Tommy, drummer Longineu elegantly seated until his break-out moments when his drumsticks draw intricate light swirls and vertical movements with his manipulations, dreads swinging, synchronizing our heart beats with the music. On a larger stage, perhaps Longineu’s platform could be moved forward or higher into the light so we can better appreciate his artistry. The virtually hidden keyboard master – the below stairs orchestra?
Great silvery snowflakes landed on the shards of glossy obsidian hair, and if hair can be described as dangerous, this is it. Ice crystals highlight Adam’s dramatically drawn eyes- dusty residue of Australian opals pressed onto them, cheek bones burnished to reveal silver specked bronze. And blue/black lips compete with the eyes – where to look, where to look?? The mouth? the eyes? Utterly overwhelming – yet more to come as he hasn’t sung a note or moved an inch – yet. We all stare and stop breathing – what are we in for this time? He affects a pose, lips curled, “dare you” look.
Adam has made up his presentation as the commedia dell’arte Scaramouche character – yet exaggerated and even true to the operatic character’s costume, fully dressed in understated black, the better to keep the face and in a supporting role, his hands in view. What a tease – fully bare fingers to the knuckles, protectively covered hands and wrists – neoprene with those screwed-in spikes to ward off the evil spirits or overly familiar hands? We shall see. Will this Scaramouche do the Fandango for us?
Distractions abound. The jacket is subtly imprinted with silvery wings and a few glinty rhinestones, but contrasts the glammed out mask of this sly, witty and sometimes wicked character he performs. The jacket is playing with some popular Kradam fan imagery – right Angel Baby? Symbolic and prominent, an amulet to remember Alexander McQueen, a feather shaped silver pendant is bright enough to signal ships, warning of a dangerous rocky shoreline ahead, the siren’s voice yanking us toward the danger. Lying mid-chest it balances some of the sparkle in the face and brings our eye down and rather than the usual belt buckle, which for this performance would be overkill. Ha! Everything about this performance is “over”- the top, -sexed, -loaded, -heated, -too soon.
No need for body-hugging costumes à la Johnny Weir, Adam remains amply covered as no one would vouch for his safety should he show up in spandex or neoprene. Jacketless with sleeveless t-shirt we can handle and he did appear hot enough to toss the jacket, alas no such luck for the sight of a bare, sunbeamed & freckled arm. The spiky wrist protectors a barrier to disrobing, although had he wished to have help removing the wristlets, volunteers would have been plentiful.
We wonder at the creative process in play. Obviously, the music is first, but does the costume inspire the accoutrements and face? Or does a character come to mind that is then assembled with the relevant parts? Perhaps if one were to meet Adam someday, this question might be asked, to explain to us his creative character development process. Or, maybe it’s just not that complicated. Still, we would ask.
The fuse is lit – it’s more like the Olympic flame, happening across the continent. Adam on the small stage is invincible and with “Music Again”, he performs within a circle of perhaps a yard and so close to the edge of the platform, his boots are out of our sight. Perfect introduction, so infused with meaning, he uses the words to speak to us lyrically and the feeling we all know, is mutual. Adam establishes two connections with the audience – the performer/character for each song and then the guy who talks to us in between and let’s a broad smile, sometimes a laugh escapes “I’m having so much fun!” It has been almost a year and yes, our lives are infused with music again, 24/7. Along with so much more, laughter, joy and joie de vivre.
Love Adam on a small stage – “So You Think You Can Dance” finale, New Years Eve performance. This was the best yet and if I believed I could anticipate what we were about to witness – I sorely underestimated what flared-up that night.
“Let’s see you dance that beat!” as Longineu pounds percussion. Adam breaks out the dance club fun with “If I Had You”. Now the audience is fully engaged in the game, as he dramatizes the words with his movements – stepping forward, reaching into the audience, Adam has begun to sprinkle fuel on the small flame licking his feet and lighting the edge of the stage as he moves across it. His eyes and hands signal individuals in the audience – “If I had you….” and flying sparks land on the crowd.
Good heavens, what are we in for if this is just the second song?
Small dance break, Longineu steps up his efforts, as Adam emphasizes each beat, alternating hip movements, still within his tight circle, gestures are conservative by his standards, yet more than we see today with most performers who appear almost totally self absorbed, while Adam is performing in our midst, not above, not below, we are all together on the same dance floor. We are living the definition of dancing with abandon.
Amused by the screams and shrieks, he smiles broadly to us, dances away, angel wings swaying on his back, the dangerous black swan. Huge smile when he turns back toward us “you get it!” Oh, we get it, he knows it and he’s about to push us as far as we will go – surprising us all. He teases with tidbits of his accoutrements showing.
There is something conspiratorial happening. “Stick with me hon, I’ll show you a good time. Never mind anyone else.”
“Having Fun?” “Like my Lipstick? It’s not lipstick, it’s cold here in New York.” A little humour bridge and everyone’s in on the act. Blots his face with a huge towel and to the disappointment of some, reminds us he’s going to need it – Longineu’s “parum pum – boom” the exclamation mark. Adam at his HBIC best. “Oooo a cape!” as he spots Gloria’s “Katy Perry cape”
Audience sings along reflexively – we need a call back “you’ve given us all”, “don’t give up”, “you never let us down”. Adam’s tight circle opens more, all he feels is evident in his voice and face.
Adam’s fusion of music, words, gestures, facial expression present him as fully engaged for each number he performs. Most other performers would simply appear overwrought, but Adam can saaaang. It’s the voice, first and foremost, the rest a crowning glory and what makes him a star entertainer – finally one who is dramatic, sexy and fun. Operatic drama with kick-ass rock and roll sexiness.
This is all we want from you Adam Lambert. Perform like this and we don’t deserve a scintilla more from you. You make it so obvious there is no place you would rather be at this moment, but singing perfectly personal music, with a great band, on a stage virtually surrounded by fans who love to play your game with you.
The crowd is beginning to flare up “What are you on about?” he asks feigning oblivious innocence. “I see some blue eye shadow, I see some fingerless gloves.” He politely acknowledges the efforts of his fans to present a pretty face to him and we blush and sigh “awww”. The shy debutantes? Hardly, but we are taken aback when Adam notices. Glad I stopped in at Sephora before the show.
At “strut, strut”, a lithe body with powerful tensile strength to bend, kneel, kick and lunge moves. And let the crotch circles begin! “Feel the Fire within” he sings to us, with the traditional polishing of the mic stand. “I don’t want to be solo”. No worries there babe, we’ll order more limos.
“Ring of Fire” arm movements, he draws the band members into our game, singing to them, flirting as he leads us around the stage – Tommy, Monte, Longineu, back to Tommy. Breaking out of character twice to share a fleeting grin, unconsciously revealing the fun he’s having, high kicks shake off some adrenalin before ending.
If only we had the room to strut for him, we could perform a Rockettes’ kick line worthy of Radio City Music Hall.
Proving he’s in the moment, Adam points to the woman so overcome she passed out moments earlier, and he gets a sing-along chorus, “We are the sure fire winners”. That’s our anthem for the evening! Our theme song – truly we are the winners – we’re here, thank you. “Where did all the pretty boys go?” For us, there’s only one and he’s right here. He might well wonder about that.
He has brought the full expression arsenal with him.
Face animated with the exaggerated features, if there’s a body part that moves, he’s moving it and if there’s a part that needs emphasis, well it’s almost redundant to hand it over, we can clearly see it for ourselves “The heart of the flame”.
Down to his knees, kicks up. He turns around, turns back and big smile “I’m back, that was so much fun, let’s do it again!” Scaramouche reveals his wit, as the star villain of the pantomime, we can see all the action with him and play along with every scene. It’s our inside joke as we are part of the performance, like the panto audience warning the innocents. There is another audience seated above in the “gods” can they see it? They can’t feel it.
Eyes closed, he loosens up, pulling out the character during the prelude. The audience is quieted to sway and absorb the mood. In silhouette, Adam conducts with his back to us.
As always, he moves our attention to each band member for their moments to shine and they sparkle in the spotlight. A melodramatic performance worthy of a Puccini death scene, the mask serves to emphasize his facial expressions.
“Hold ya till you’re truly amazed” – claw gesture straight out in front of him, prompted hours of debate among the group as each claims they were the one to whom Adam sang. We are the characters in the FYE video, Scaramouche has brought us the Ringmaster – absent the jet neoprene coating, which tonight would cause seven hundred people to faint dead away, requiring the sprinkler system and every paramedic in the city. Quick flash laugh with us – “having too much fun?”
Emphatic, extended-play crotch circles, dark pouty lips – aahhh! He goes on so long, he breaks out laughing – we all know how ridiculous we can get.
Erotica unleashed on the stage, strippers could take a lesson in how to walk seductively, let alone show off the accoutrements.
Adam states the obvious “it’s hot in here” and asks that we “take the hand of someone next to you”. I took DD’s & held her hand on my shoulder – this could do it, send her swooning. I was warned and ready.
Monte deftly works his solo, Adam makes these songs work insanely because he can pull-off the voice, the expressions, the arms, the moves so perfectly.
Work it people!!
Adam sings these songs with the passion of the true believer.
Tommy approaches with backsteps and with a fistful of Tommy’s hair, twist, push, Fever opens with a vamping Adam. A few notes in, bodies start moving in unison. A living dream – Adam totally camped and overstated, any shackles of restraint thrown aside, moving in for the kill, we dance together until we’re spent. No pharmaceutical or alcoholic enhancements needed. Dervishes whirling ourselves into an ecstatic state and there are bound to be visions from this place. Anyone, anyone not dancing throughout this performance has no soul. I can see Juneau and we each create wide circles around ourselves, as people avoid getting their toes pinched. Move people!!! He’s insisting, ordering us to dance.
I am confined to sautés when I want to jeté, pirouette and strut straight ahead to the stage, the epicenter of the bonfire, I’ve stripped off my sheer black lace blouse, setting off glints of sequins from the camisole I’m wearing. Their metal hot to touch.
Those sinewy Salome moves from head to toe, belly dancer perfect – does he practise these? At night, in front of a full-length mirror, brush in hand? Not a single false move throughout.
This is “Fever” as it should be experienced – sweltering dance floor, Adam hauling us up on the stage with him and allowing the beat of the music to connect directly to our bodies, bypassing the mind or any filters. Heartbeats, breathing in sync, pounded in time by Longineu. We’ve given over and there is no going back now, Adam’s the puppeteer pulling all the levers and all the strings. Still standing, he swoons in the heat, sweat-soaked hair hangs limply over his eyes and we slowly return to a state of consciousness – we’ve just finished a marathon in tropical heat, he cools us slightly with the calming finale.
God bless the Lady Gaga and whatever muse of sexy dance music inspired this song. To the powers who decide such things – it is imperative that “Fever” be the next single. It is the background music of my life.
New voice – by now, Adam has us tethered and ready to crawl through the fire to follow him anywhere he takes us – to the hedonistic underground club in the FYE video, Alice’s delirious world? Inhibitions continue to shed, ours and his as he tests our resolve to hang on as he pulls us to the edge of the hole. His left hand gets passionate with Tommy’s bass, perhaps protecting our nerves from his real target. He underestimates us tonight. We are up for anything he wants.
All self-respect has vanished in the bonfire, Adam can do anything with this audience, now begging to be included in whatever way he can think up. He is the Dominator of FYE and does that imagery resonate here.
The combination of Longineu’s drums and Monte’s wailing guitar, rather than sooth the savage in us, encourage it.
Pause to smear the lipstick, then the eyes, pulling it all down to the ignition point for the fire and leading to an orgiastic frenzy to close. I am compelled to run from a burning building, parched, hot, dry throat.
It’s all Iddish With Adam
In the stage world Adam creates, there is no top over which to go – any top has been blown off as each performance gets higher. In Freudian speak, Adam releases the ridiculous in our Id, bypasses the conscientious Ego and breaks through the moralizing Superego. This reaction is so visceral, so base, we aren’t aware, simply acting on some pleasure instinct we all own but rarely if ever, enjoy in a crowd.
As one who has lived her life with Ego and Superego in charge, always suppressing instinctual reactions, this abandonment of any filters is a shock.
And whom does Adam see when he connects with the radiant, stupidly delirious, mostly female faces shining up at him? Is he even aware of the age and sex of his acolytes when he shamelessly exploits, then rewards our adoration? Does it even matter? After this performance, I would say it doesn’t matter as he could not have given more without inviting a raid by the morality police and with that very touching moment, perhaps he dodged a bullet.
In interviews, Adam talks about flames, dancers, costumes for his concert performances. This seems unnecessary now, he’s the incendiary force on his own. On this night, by the time he’s through with us, any perceived container to keep Adam in line, has been blown to glittery powder.
He picked us up, he held us tight, twirled us dizzy, licked us all over with his voice, tossed us in the air, then threw us to the ground, begging for more!!!!
“Thanks for playing along” Adam calls as he walks off stage. Are you kidding? Thank you for bringing the game to play and showing us how it’s done! Scrabble it’s not. I can imagine that it will take hours before he can come down from that high, even if he wants to, don’t know about Adam, but I don’t.
At that moment I couldn’t escape quickly enough to the waiting limo, to a wordless, soundless cocoon devoid of external sensations, to save those just soaked through the skin, ears, eyes, to enclose myself and “save to the hard drive” the what-the-hell-was-that experience. And a cigarette.
This is just how hot it was in there! The Adam Effect
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