Mystery is essential.
It is also fun.
And the answer to the small mystery of why is this Wilkes-Barre Glam Nation review in this space will be revealed at the end.
But first – Tour 1, Show 1.
“Ohhhh!…Do you know what you got into it…”
Almost two thousand people – me giddy-grinning among them – are on their feet, singing double entendres in perfect show choir unison.
Remixed FYE is clarion-calling the faithful and we are beyond ready. Lights are down, our momma’s not home, and this is a cauldron long past bubbling.
First show, first tour. It’s really happening.
We have endured weekly “I can’t believe I just saw that amazingness” cheering alone from our living rooms. Stumbled our way – not believing we were actually doing something so sanity questioning – to finding each other around the campfires of the internet. Worn out our mouse fingers power-trending polls and tracking down every possible pixel of decent audio. And breathed every breath of the OMG trail from first mic stand grab in 2009 Portland to the seven-minute transubstantiation of Fantasy Springs WLL.
And this is it. First show, first tour. No one to answer to but himself. And us. And we want it.
I am completely aware of being there. And how all across the internet fingers are clicking keys as anxiously as we, awaiting the start gun, are already holding on to the seat backs in front of us.
And then, it’s time.
Band swoops on stage, the roar begins. First chords of Voodoo. And the screams become like airplane engines if what they blasted were high-pitched torrents of “Yes!!!!!!!”
And he’s there.
High on his chosen platform. Back lit so the outlines are like some kind of Mad Hatter against the moon. He’s singing, though the screams are now a steady wall of sound with no spaces – a phenomenon full of heady joy that will tremble the walls of this Art Deco palace after every number tonight.
He slowly, carefully, prowls towards us down the memories of his own portable Feeling Good Memorial Stairs.
And rummaged out of ten thousand clicks of interview watching, as the crowd is following Paula’s excellent advice to “take it all in” and examining every inch of the intricate costume, make-up, and magician’s movements, while bouncing to VooDoo’s not overly familiar spell, one all-important quote from Adam Lambert to Simon and the world is planting inside my mind : “Theatrical is good”.
Oh, my, indeed, it is.
This show is very theatrical.
Not overly so, at all. It’s got kick-ass Rock Star through and through.
But there are full-fire theatrical moments that are as close to scripted play or musical production numbers as a traveling rock concert can get.
They’re like magic nuggets of condensed power interlaced through the world-class Rock ‘n Roll. Characters he can embody and expand. Interactions with the dancers that will do exactly what dancing always does over time – after the body has memorized every synchronized move giving emotions the solid foundation on which to express with just a flicker – and that is to delight.
He may sing the same songs 70 times. Or change up a few here and there, most especially the encore. But even if it’s the same set, every night, it will never be the same show twice.
Because packed inside this traveling jamboree of legend-in-the-making rock show are change-up opportunities that are 100% theatrical.
And if you are lucky enough to have spent time participating in that transforming communal rhapsody known as live theatre you will recognize them as you cheer.
This is what Rock Star looks like now, Earthlings.
No limits, no categories, no snarling poseurs, no fake electro augmentation pretending “catchy” is the new synonym for talent.
This is a show that can grow each time it’s performed.
First show, first tour. No one to answer to but himself. And he’s built an expandable potion that he can brew and flavor whatever way he pleases. That can deliver exactly what he’s always promised: Entertainment.
While still slamming down Pure Rock Star better than any hot rocket frontman who’s ever stalked the stage.
The astoundingly mature restraint of this nuanced accomplishment could floor you if you weren’t so busy trying to not float away in the fun.
He didn’t try to accomplish too much in the short rehearsal time and, let’s face it, not-yet-unlimited budget of a first-time headliner who skipped the opening act transitory step.
But he’s structured a flexible, portable, sizzling, magical container that can go as far as he likes.
By using, among other powers, theatrics.
There is room for nightly decisions to give that night’s exact crowd exactly what it needs, one of his most remarkable skills.
There is flexibility to add storyline, or subtract it. The lasers can adapt to location. They’re atmospheric, not bombarding. There are pencil beams and curly cues. Swirls and long trails.
The pictures that project behind him could change every night, and he probably carefully selected each one. Though, like Paula said, when he’s on stage, all you see is him.
For example, there are apparently moments in the show where he’s wailing in front of a giant neon sign that reads “Hot Sex”. I did not see this sign. I did have some momentary experiences of its message during the 60 some minutes. And it’s hard to miss the opening dancing of Fever is Adam and just the male dancers.
Adam introduces the band by their full names now. Monte is officially music director. Brooke is his choreographer. There are legions of roadies, four buses, two equipment trucks (my hotel room, serendipitously, overlooked them all).
This is grown-up stuff.
This is how pioneering creativity is prospered. Choose what you want to make most powerful and express it fully. He seems to have recognized that trying to make everything happen leads to watery nothing at all.
He no longer needs to set his hair on fire.
He has chosen to ignite his audience’s lives. It’s a much deeper, more satisfying, bolder, bigger fire to start. And it never has to stop glowing its warmth.
The unstoppable, game-changing impact of expert theatricality will unfold over the 70 performances.
But first show, first tour, I was surprised, intrigued and amused to recognize the energetic archetypes that a man known for his blindingly sexy charisma chose to present.
The first image he gives us is not Mr. Hot Rock God. It’s Mad Hatter, New Orleans meets Wild West Magician Medicine Crow.
This really is New Orleans homage. Inspired by Dr. John. The original. (An African American healer, here’s a picture on Dr. John, the singer’s web site, www. DrJohn.org.)
Adam is all bent elbows and spell twining three-foot fringe dangling from his long arms. Jutting emphasis on angles in the cross steps of his careful footwork and fancy feathers plumed off the king-size top hat. (Not the first costume of the evening to remind you how tall he is. And how happy you are about that.)
Buckskins are among the many Native American knowledge bases co-opted by the White Man. Leather fringe flittering was a kind of camouflage. It broke up the solid outline of human form. Like much magic, including feathers, it eventually became decorative.
But this Puppet Master pulling the strings of his dancers causes me just a tiny personal smile. He’s a Shaman! Yes, interestingly, this character has White Man Wampum and firewater blurred aspects that polygot New Orleans has always known.
But he’s a Shaman!
Adam performing has felt like a Shaman in command many times to me. Kundalini rising, respectful energy exchange with his audience. Smiling, happy, pure goodness of delight in being there doing his flat-out best to bring joy to those watching.
But still, always in energetic command.
Sheer, utter, command. As he is, right now, and will be throughout the entire show.
He is combined complete masculine power and sweet, happy puppy giving. Grounded from barefoot toe tip to insouciant sky-high Elvis hair by being fully present. Alive with himself. Yet, he’s clearly there only and completely for his audience.
Half the people sitting in the orchestra will believe he made eye contact with them, several times. Even me. And I’m in the 12th row and know I can’t be seen.
What he’s connecting to is the joyful energy flowing ceaselessly towards him. And that there is no place in that audience he can’t look and make contact.
Light, sweet control. Deft, barely discernable control. Master’s touch. Never lets go. All for us.
He has put out his palm from note one, we are all in it, and he will take care of us until it’s over. Energy, intention, highest good magic.
He is an instructional video in how to use energy on stage. Awake, aware, alive, sparkling. Shimmy shake cutie-pie.
And, then, thrust, pop, yes that really happened, just like you felt it way down inside, alpha male.
The show’s first song may be about VooDoo (a widely misrepresented religion) but it’s not dark. He can’t be dark. He’s too happy to be there. And his intentions for the world are all about peace, love and growth-inducing change.
Still, first show, first tour, lights up, there he is, a Shaman.
The Mad Hatter will take us Down the Rabbit Hole, issuing one of the most unnecessary invitations in the history of stage performance: Come on and follow me.
He’ll shed the fringed jacket to become a sutra seductor in Ring of Fire. And the barefoot temptation then lathers us through what may become the best Broadway Production number known to Rockland: Fever. Adam and the dancers fan themselves in cute unison. But there is no cooling us off.
The first costume change – covered by some still emerging as how far theatre/rock to take it dancing – is another energetic archetype Adam both completely inhabits and inverts. A new silhouette of power, up high. But this time in a long, floor-dusting, form-outlining coat.
He could be a Mage, a Priest, a Sultan, a King. Sleepwalker organ chords slowly build. Heathcliff. Phantom. He’s wearing what could be a cassock, a wizard’s cloak, a prince’s robe.
This is classic leading man stuff. With every twist imaginable.
And continuing evidence that the supremely gifted costume designer knows the importance of showing what the headliner is working with. Including the impact of a flash of long, strong thigh. And broad shoulders. (Expressive, broad shoulders that later can sway the third costume change’s magnificent striped leather jacket as if it had tail feathers)
But now it’s the Magician King’s top coat he’s wearing when he’s sitting on his stool, talking directly to each of us, singing directly to us all. And when a moment occurs, for the first time, that is certain to happen 69 times more.
And that’s when he sings “Thanks for loving me…” in WWFM.
Before he can even get to “doing if perfectly” the audience has roared up its happiness. He reacts. This is big magic. There are almost two thousand people beaming love. And they represent untold thousands more who love this man, his fearless dedication to excellence, and the happiness he creates.
Who want his best. His fullest, strongest, most interesting and inspiring self.
And they don’t get much chance to say this to him directly, personally, nor he to us, and this song, this moment is mutual opportunity for that to happen.
It was splendid. And will only get more so.
Adam seems aware that this is an unique fanbase. In Fever, he wiggled his fingers out to beckon in the entire venue singing he wants to “get all of you alone” and you believe him.
For this hour, this time, he is here for each of us. There is two-way love going on here. But right now, this is his job, this is his responsibility of the relationship. This is where he shows up and holds nothing back.
Our job is to try to stay in our bodies enough to enjoy the energy of so much love beaming around and forget everything but here, now, and the fun.
An interesting choice Adam has made with his show is apparently to become a patron of the arts and promote dance.
The dancers are used like spices. Sparingly, but with just the right flavor. They are not, praise Terpsichore, yet another hack rendition of Pop Star accoutrement number 4: Beat Bopping Bodies.
This is way more genuine musical production than that step-clomp-wriggle-du-jour stuff, that’s almost become a parody, usually with a phalanx of same-size all males, covering up auto-tuned lip synching.
As many of us discussed when Adam’s somewhat less than unique dance numbers hit the internet, Adam does not need ordinary Pop Singer dancing. And that’s not what’s happening now. This is real dancing. Including his.
News to no one, but Adam has got some moves. And over time, he and the dancers hitting those beats together is gonna be big fun. It already is.
And no video has shown just how fast and skilled that fist-pumping interchange he does with choreographer Brooke really is. And at the end of the show! Where did he get the energy.
On one hand, it doesn’t really matter what else is happening on stage. You’re gonna tractor beam him. But the dancers have the potential to both enhance the show and further showcase his originality. The man can dance. And choreography is another way to demo his talents.
And while I am a RL supporter of modern dance, wasn’t expecting dancing without Adam. It is not clear exactly how the dancing interlude moments are going to evolve. Felt a little bit like the times where the dancers are on stage performing without him should be either more original and complex, or just shorter.
But like the band playing without Adam – and Cam, Longineau, and Tommy are great musicians, and, of course it’s always a pleasure to hear Monte Pittman play – there may be more to come. Or less.
As he introduces the show closing “If I Had You”, Adam preaches his message of Put Love First. That “if you are not connected to Love” nothing means nothing. Most especially Rock Stardom.
There has been much to learn about love as an Adam Lambert fan.
He’s an unwilling Pied Piper who only intended to entertain. But has ended up launching dialogues and discussions. And creating a wired fanbase of diverse people with a love of creativity, of joy, of happiness, of peace, connection, community, newness, diversity, and fun, that is no small instrument of intelligence and power.
Right now, on this tour, Adam can use that unwavering support to do anything he chooses.
The shows are sold out. Everyone in the audience wants him to strut his stuff.
Hope he gets to try everything he ever wanted, even if it’s just for a minute a night, to see how it might work. The chance to do that doesn’t happen often. And all his hard work created it. Hope he can seize it and use it as time and tour grind, of course, will allow.
There is so much first tier amazing singing and entertaining going on that he could go crazy nuts, let’s just try this, every once in a while and even if it – like all pursuit of creative greatness must include – splatted and clunked, this audience would still have the time of their lives.
It’s his container, he built it, he can use it as he pleases.
Can’t wait to see it again. For unknown reasons, my seat experienced the worst sound mix imaginable. Echo like a Miley Cyrus track. Band overload. His voice mixed down too soft, and echo echo echo flabby. Like a bad car radio three blocks away. And even without getting to enjoy those clarion clear notes only Adam can do, it was a spectacular experience.
Do what ever you can to get there – within reason, of course. But consider a broad definition of reasonable.
And if geography or circumstances prevent that, hope some moments of reporting here on the things videos can’t entirely show enhance your vicarious entertainment.
He is as amazing you want him to be. And this is just the beginning.
And now, about, the little mystery.
There is another aspect of Lambertarian energetic experience that has, full disclosure, become more important to me than enjoying Adam’s talents. And that’s the community.
The online community of people who simultaneously believe in Adam’s abilities yet still can’t, even now, believe they’re spending so much time together on the internet, has been a rich, highly diverse alternate universe of big rewards.
The learning opportunities have been many. Especially the learning about getting along with others.
But as people find experiencing Adam’s “Believe in Yourself” fully present energy such a pleasure, and, in some cases, a bit of awakening, there is a kind of “What now?”
And for some members of the community, discussions, especially on Twitter, have evolved to topics sparked by Adam, and to other areas.
People have also found themselves wanting to stop living the “that’s my sign – procrastinating” aspects of their own personal expression.
Yet the energetic rewards of online community seem to ironically eat the time that might be spent compassionately examining one’s own reluctance to Burning Man epiphany to stop perpetuating the hanging back systems of the past and to just go for it.
Even if “It” is draw a picture once a week. Or laugh louder. Or dress boldly. Or stop care-taking others as a never satisfying substitute of actually taking care of yourself.
So, in hopes of aiding some “going for it” in the essential foundational work of “Knowing Yourself” I am going to humbly present some online forays into Psychological Astrology:
Fifth House Sun School of Astro Creativity
Coming soon to this very space
Those of you who know something about Astrology may already be laughing. The Fifth House on the wheel of Astrology is, actually, the Sun’s own house.
The Sun, its sign Leo, and the Fifth House rule Creativity.
Thus “Creative” is the only kind of Fifth House there is.
And fun. Hope we’ll have fun. Will tweet when school begins.