Thursday saw Adam Lambert return to England for his first UK solo concert since Glam nation. Returning to the Hammersmith Apollo theatre which he previously had played during that tour and with Queen. Of course us UK Glamberts have had tempting little bites of Adam between Fusion Fest, the lottery, xfactor, chatty man and various other TV shows, but nowhere near enough to satisfy the urge to ‘party til they take us away’.
When I got to the venue at 11am to see a friend standing in the queue (Hi Sylvia) there were already over fifty standees waiting, by 4pm when I passed again there were hundreds. By 6pm when I arrived to start queuing for my seated tickets the queue was wrapped around the entrance square so many times that all you could see was a sea of metal bars and people waiting. Leaving me highly greatful for my seated ticket, starting to dread queuing at Manchester for standing two days after. Once inside the line for merch was insane, but people were in high spirits talking together to random strangers as they waited. I bought my merch and headed up to my seat away from the crush.
Of course after a short DJ set we had the fabulous Lawson up as our warm up act. Clearly thrilled to be there, just as excited to be there opening for Adam as we were to actually see him on stage. Calling him ‘The World’s Greatest Performer’. Which I am sure would have brought a smile to his lips. I did know who Lawson were before the show, but only barely. Enough to really only know their big hit ‘Standing in the Dark.’ A short five song set, where the band gave their everything. Bouncing around on stage with so much energy! Taking a selfie with the audience to remember the night. Expressing how much they would like to play there with their name on the doors one day. “Shh guys, everyone will think you are our fans now!” when they took it.
One thing I found highly disrespectful of the audience is how many from the stalls stayed behind in the bar for the whole of the opening act. Or even left as soon as Lawson started singing. People talking around me loudly how they wished that they would get off stage and bring Adam on. That is NOT okay people! They are there for a reason, to keep you warmed up and entertained waiting for Adam. Very important for those stood around in the stalls who have been sat in the freezing cold all day. Like them or not you should respect their artistry. Every single person in a gig is important, from the singer, to the band, to the road crew, lights and sound, tech people, security, medical staff, merchandise people, bar staff, even the cleaners who tidy up afterwards. Without this whole package there would be no show, no Adam standing there to perform for you, and you would be left sitting at home listening to your cd collection.
Adam understands this, that’s why he does the band calls, why he thanks the audience for coming to the shows. Without fans he has no career, and he is back to serving coffee in Starbucks. Without the opening act and everyone else behind him making the show work, there is nothing. Adam played backing vocals and chorus line for years before he made it big. Just like Lawson is now. How would you feel if ten years ago someone was treating Adam exactly the same way as you were treating Lawson that night? I can guarantee you that the band can see the empty seats/people moving from stage. It will be distracting for them. Respect the band and opening act, you never know if one day they will be fronting Queen on a world wide tour!
Anyway, stepping down from my mini soap box. On with the show:
As soon as Adam blasted onto the stage with Evil in The Night he commanded it and his entire audience. Strutting around the stage so ultra confidently. Blasting his way through a comfortable set of songs from all of his albums. Bringing a little something for everyone. From Another One Bites The Dust for the Queenies. To Fever/FYE/IIHY for early glams, Chokehold/Trespassing etc for the middle album fans, before a nice mix of top tracks from his new works. Bringing his brand new song Welcome To The Show to the centre if his opening section. I was in love with this track from the second it dropped. Which is strange as I usually hate his duets with any female singers as they can rarely stand up to him vocally. However this production highlights the creamy tones of both singers. As much as I love the duet version, his live solo version kicks some serious ass. Both are perfect in their own ways, different and separate from each other.
This being my first ever solo Adam concert I was struck by not only how different, almost set free he feels live as apposed to on an album. Also how different his performance is solo to with Queen. Of course being on fire that night was no doubt due to the fact that he had Sauli, Brian, Roger and Boy George in the audience. Other people told me that Anita and Roger’s wife were also present, however I didn’t see them and security never told me their names when they leaked to me who was actually there. They also mentioned Ricky Wilson was there. No Sam Smith there even though rumors insist that he was. Boy George was mistaken for him hiding under his flat cap, which I am sure thrilled him to be mistaken for someone half his age. Adam was clearly extremely excited to have his friends present, calling out to most of them during his talking piece of the show. What a difference seven years makes in someone’s life. From joining Idol as just another theatre geek, to living the life with music legends as best friends! Legends who are clearly rubbing off on him with his new advanced light and tech department for tour.
For me the two high lights of the night were firstly. Where he plays homage every single concert to the late great David Bowie. The point where virtually the entire audience were already up and dancing before he called out to people to dance with them. No one in our balcony really sat down again after that!
Secondly was Mad World. I never quite understood why everyone went crazy for it during Idol. Certainly not enough to see why it was still one of his signature songs all these years later. That was until he opened his mouth, within four bars I understood everything. As was once said on Idol long ago. Adam isn’t just a singer, or a performer, he is the WHOLE package! I am pretty sure with his stage presence he could stand there reading a take out menu while still commanding his audience’s attention.
Thank you Adam Lambert and Lawson for a fantastic night!
Sarah Beth James