What a great night Saturday at the concert in Indy! I went with my 12 (almost 13) year old daughter and my niece, who is 30. We’re from Chicago but decided to drive to Indy to go to the concert because the Chicago concert was on a school night and work night. I’m so glad that we took the time to go to Indy instead. The stadium in Indy is right downtown, and we were easily able to find parking next door. We arrived a couple of hours early because we wanted to eat dinner before the show. It was nice walking around down town, talking, and people watching. As we parked downtown and spotted the stadium, my daughter squealed with joy!
Daughter: ‘Wait, is that the building where Adam Lambert is right now?’
Me: ‘Yes, it is.’ Daughter: ‘Really! Oh my gosh, we have to go right how!! Hurry!’
I couldn’t wait to see Adam either, but I knew that our enthusiasm wouldn’t make up for the fact that we didn’t have a pass to the afternoon meet and greet session so we stopped in at a steakhouse and had dinner instead. In honor of Adam we had a glass of red wine and a steak (his preferred ‘last meal’ ala a recent interview). At 6:45 we realized that we had better hurry on over and find our seats.
We had no trouble getting there in time. The stadium was spotless and well maintained. I had selected first row club level seats for the three of us so the view was great. I felt like we could almost fall over the balcony in front of us. Behind us there was only one row before a new section started. We kind of felt like we were in our own private bubble for concert viewing. This was good and bad. Good in the sense we had plenty of room, a great view, and the excitement of being in the front row. But bad in the sense that we were isolated from the energy of the crowd. The other attendees in our section seemed very mellow and low key.
I wanted to shake them! ‘Don’t you all understand?? You all are about to see Adam F***ing Lambert. He’s gonna swagger, he’s gonna strut, he’s gonna rape that mic stand and make it beg for more. Why aren’t you all screaming right now!!! Why!!
Anyhoo . . . after experiencing my little fantasy, the three of us sat down and talked quietly. We were just as bad as the rest of them.
Frankly, I was worried. On the way in to find our seats, I hadn’t seen a single person with any type of Idol contestant clothing other than a few Danny Gokey fans wearing green sashes.
Where was the glitter, the feathers, the eyeliner, the black t-shirts with Adam’s eyes? No young girls carried signs with sparkly glitter glue proclaiming their devotion to their Glittery Prince. Dang it! I wanted to see at least a couple of precious ‘I heart Adam’ signs. After all, I had painted my toenails iridescent sparkly blue for the event, and I wanted to share the love and know that I was not alone.
But was I?
Then the music started and Michael strutted out. I was surprised after watching the bottom five to conclude that I liked Michael the best of the bunch! How could that be? After all, at one point early in the season I had joined the Anoop Desai online Facebook fan club (this was before I knew Adam existed), and I didn’t even remember hearing Michael sing during the season. But he wasn’t bad . . . not bad at all. Plus, he seemed positive and upbeat.
I thought the crowd’s response to Michael was weak, and I imagined him going backstage, feeling dejected, and Twittering ‘how he did his darndest to warm up the crowd, but they were tough, and next time he would try even harder.’ I imagined all the Twitter folks reassuring Michael: ‘It’s OK, we love you’ or ‘Don’t feel bad, not everyone can be like Adam.’ After the concert when I was able to check Twitter I saw that this didn’t happen, but that’s what I imagined at the time. Even though Michael has a tendency to post down in the dumps ‘I need love’ Twitter comments, his performance was anything but morose. Actually, it was kind of fun.
I went to this concert with every intention of enjoying every single performer. I wasn’t about to complain, no way! I had paid good money (double the face value of my tickets), and I was going to enjoy every minute. I tried. I really did.
But here’s the deal. I was bored during the first five performers. I couldn’t help it. One song each would have been plenty. Those guys sang their hearts out, they made a valiant effort, but they just weren’t fun and exciting.
I started checking my iPhone to see if Twitter was working. I noticed my daughter doing the same. Were the Idols tweeting backstage? Dang! No internet connectivity. Ok, now what to do? After each performance, the audience would politely applause. On occasion, someone would shout out from the audience and give a singer some love. During one period of Megan’s set I noticed complete and total silence. Ouch!! When Megan stumbled and almost fell on the floor while wobbling around in those high heels, my niece and I looked at each other and cringed. Ooops! Not good. Lots of second hand embarrassment.
None of the first five stood out to me. I wanted them to, but they just didn’t, and I spent some significant moments during the first half contemplating how tough the entertainment business is. You sing your face off, love what you do, but people are judging you every minute you’re out there. And, in the end, if the audience isn’t entertained by what you offer there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it. I respect the passion and commitment of all the contestants for putting themselves out there and making a go of it. They must love what they do because it can’t be easy.
On to the top five . . .
Matt was the first performer who caught my eye. His performance ability raised the crowd’s energy. He knows how to put on a show and please an audience. He played the piano with flair and used his falsetto to hold on to the audience. Most importantly, I felt excited during his performance! Not the entire performance, but during parts of it. The audience gave Matt some love and a large number of people stood up during his performance. Nobody stood in our small two row section but lots of people stood on the floor and the first level. Matt was the first of the performers who I would pay to see at a concert. I don’t know that I would go out of my way to one of his concerts, but if he was in town, and the night was convenient, and I wanted to go to a concert, I would consider it. He puts in a good show, but I still don’t have a sense of what he wants to do musically. Maybe his musical direction is very clear to those who follow him more intently than I do, but I didn’t take away a strong sense of who he is as a musical artist.
Allison added so much to this year’s season, but I didn’t enjoy her set as much as I had expected. All three of her songs sounded the same to me’â€belting rock songs. There was no variation in the mood of the song, and she didn’t have the ability to showcase her vocal abilities. I loved Allison’s duet with Cyndi Lauper during the finale (it was both sincere and quirky), so I know that she is capable of much more than three hard driving songs with the same sound. I think Allison’s set could have benefited from a change up in the songs that would better allow her to show off her voice.
During the first song’â€’So What’ ’â€my niece and I kept looking at each other with ‘what the heck was that’ faces. The microphone sounded like it wasn’t picking up on her voice, or Allison just stopped singing in parts. I couldn’t tell what was going on, but it was hard to listen to. At the end of the song she made a ‘blah’ sound as through she realized she goofed up her performance. I haven’t watched the video of Allison performing ‘So What’ so I don’t know if I was imagining things, but that’s how it sounded to us.
I have mixed feelings about Danny. He has a very nice tone to his voice, and he was able to hold his own in a large stadium environment, but I didn’t think his set was interesting musically or reflected his unique abilities as an artist. During his performance I saw some people holding up large red letters spelling out ‘GOKEY’ and rocking them back and forth in time to the music. Danny is just not my cuppa. I think that he has a shot at a successful career if he can mature and discover who he is as an artist, but I’m not sure he has engaged in that level of growth yet. Erin and I took a bathroom break during Danny’s song Maria Maria (not on purpose), so I missed the microphone dancing. I had heard about the dancing but had never bothered to watch it online.
On the other hand, I was there during the ‘speech.’ My daughter had no idea it was coming, or the back story on how some people are inspired and others can’t stand it, but she did look at me during the speech with one of those pouty looks only a 12 year old can give that screamed ‘I’M BORED!’ She looked at me with pleading eyes, ‘Is Adam next?’ I nodded ‘yes’ with what must have been a goofy grin on my face.
I felt anxious though. I had doubts about the crowd. They seemed so well-behaved, so white bread, so polite, so respectful. (heck, sounds like me, actually!) Could they fully appreciate the fabulosity that is Adam Lambert? I waited for the post-Danny applause to build into a crescendo welcoming Adam . . . . Would it happen?
Would the crowd turn into a writhing mass of fangirls and fanboys screaming their heads off? Would the older woman sitting to my right ever smile, applaud, or let out a whoop or a holler after eight straight sets of polite applause?
I couldn’t believe it! As soon as the cords to ‘Whole Lotta Love’ started filling the stadium, the woman on my right leapt to her feet and started clapping and yelling ‘Adam’ ‘Adam’ ‘Yay!’ (It was in a polite Midwestern white bread kind of way, but she did it none the less!) Thank you Lord! There is hope for this crowd.
I looked down on the floor and entire first level off the floor, and it looked like everyone was standing! Woohoo! I stood up too and started yelling and screaming. This is the one point where I wished we were in the middle of a fun section because nobody else stood up. I felt a little separated from all the energy of the crowd, but I had a great view of the stage.
When Adam took over the stage he owned it. He strutted; he swaggered; he dominated the stage. The visual effect was stunning. Every movement was assured, confident, and completely appropriate to the tone and lyrics of the song. What surprised me, however, was his ‘lightness of being’ on that stage. The online videos really show off his masculinity, but on stage his persona is also feminine. He positively glided across the stage. Every motion was controlled, smooth, and graceful. WLL reminded me of an elaborate Kabuki performance with the heightened emotional expression of an experienced and brilliant performer who is in total control of the visual presentation.
During the climactic moment in WLL it seemed as though all the lights had gone off except for a golden light illuminating the microphone stand and the Glittery Prince’s crotch. There was no ‘censoring’ or poor lighting. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have 10, 000 pairs of eyes staring at your crotch, but that’s exactly what happened in Indy.
It was really too much to take in at one time. I was so focused on the visual, I wasn’t able to pay as much attention to the vocals as I would have liked. Before Adam’s set, I thought the sound system was good, but I noticed a very strong ‘helium’ effect during Starlight and throughout parts of Mad World! What a bummer! I knew that the sound coming out of his voice was NOT what was being transported into my ears. There is something about the tone of his voice when he sings Starlight that the sound system just can’t handle. As I mentioned, I was on the first row balcony, so this sound effect may not occur in other places in the auditorium. I definitely heard it where we were seated.
I was surprised that Mad World seemed to generate the most applause when it started. People recognize the song and really liked it. I felt happy for Adam that he already has an ‘anthem’ -like song out there that so many people recognize and enjoy. I couldn’t tell if people were singing along but they definitely waved those glow sticks and enjoyed the performance. People would occasionally yell out during the performance, but I didn’t find it distracting. It added some to the energy of the performance. The energy felt very deep and strong during Mad World, as though there was a huge groundswell of support in the audience for the song; people were intently listening to it, but when they just couldn’t hold back they would shout out.
The infamous ‘butt-gate occurred’ during Slow Ride. Here’s my take: someone threw a pink tickler item on stage, Adam picked it up, and beckoned for Allison, who turned around and stuck out her butt. Adam slid over like he was going to smack her on the butt, but at the last minute he took the tickler and tagged her on the lower legs. It was funny because it was so obvious that he was deliberately and with complete self-awareness NOT smacking her on the butt. It happened very quickly. My first thought: ‘If she was just a bit older he would have smacked her on the butt, but not yet!’
Remember the interview where Adam was asked to give us five words that described his performances? Before the Indy concert I would have said that his concerts are best characterized as ‘sexy.’ (I think he used a slightly different word for sexy by the way!) After seeing the concert, however, I would choose the word ‘fun.’ His performances are very sexy, but most of all they are fun!! They make you smile and laugh and dance. He’s not up there being sexy to be self indulgent or crude; he throws in all the sexy moves to express the essence of the song’â€to entertain people and make them feel delighted with his daring. My niece thought the same thing. She isn’t a huge fan and didn’t really follow the season, but she said that she would totally go to Adam’s concert because it would be so much fun.
Next up Kris’â€Kris was much more dynamic on stage than I expected, and I enjoyed his set very much’â€particularly ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ The music was interesting, and his performance style was definitely a big step up from the bottom five. He made the songs his own’â€except for Hey Jude’â€which sounds pretty much like it always does. I would like to see him sing without an instrument. He always had an instrument with him’â€but that’s his style. He has a strong sense of what type of performer he is and what music works for him. I would definitely consider buying his album if I like the music and perhaps going to a concert. I don’t think he’ll be playing huge auditoriums like this one, but I think that he’ll have a fine career in music.
I think that Adam is the only one of the top ten who is suited for large stadium style entertainment. As we know, he can also do the intimate cabaret performances as well, but he has both musical ability and visual presentation skill to put on a great performance at a large venue. I imagine Kris touring at the smaller performance venues. If Matt gets a recording contract, I can see him at these types of venues too. There are several in Chicago where I think both Kris and Matt would put on a great show. I don’t think that Allison is quite ready to hold her own concert yet, but we’ll see. I’m sure she will be soon. As far as Danny, well, I just don’t know. I’m just not into him so I don’t know where he would fit. By the way, I’m not hating on Kris and Matt for imagining them in smaller settings, I just think that’s where they would really shine. YMMV.
After the concert, we had a blast at the barricades’â€as much fun as we had at the concert. The weather was nice, and I thought the crowd was well behaved. Because the line was so long and deep by the time we got there, we decided to stand on the other side of the service driveway and watch the whole spectacle from the back side. Adam and Kris were nice enough to turn around and wave to us. The fun part was we got to see the Idols ride in and out of the building on the security cart. When Adam rode out of the building on the cart, people started chanting and yelling his name. In response, Matt and Danny gathered around Adam, started jumping up and down, and chanting “Adam, Adam, Adam.” They reminded me of a couple of monkeys jumpin’ up and down. It was done in good humor and really funny. When Adam first stood up from the service cart I thought:
‘Woah there fella, don’t forget to pull up your pants because they are about to fall off of you.’ It’s true. He has no butt and looks very lean. He does NOT need to lose any more weight. Maybe if we keep saying it enough he’ll believe us.
When Adam left the barricades, he forgot the golf cart was waiting for him in the service driveway and walked right by it. He then noticed it and pranced backwards like “Ooops! Missed it!” and sat down. When he pranced over to the cart it reminded me of his audition where he forgot to pick up his yellow ticket and turned around to get it. He moves in a very graceful and self-contained manner. As he rode down the service driveway he turned and waved to us. The people at the barricades couldn’t see the Idols come in and out of the service driveway so that was kind of special.
Adam has such a positive aura about him. While performing, he is fierce and passionate. But when he is off stage he is positively Zen! He didn’t just walk down the barricades. He glided! His energy was so peaceful and gentle. Almost fragile. It was really a sight to see.
Adam’s aura was completely different from Matt, Danny, and Allison, who were manic. When Danny came out he was high fiving people and giving them that ‘ghetto’ hand thing, which doesn’t really fit him. You can tell that Matt and Danny are still ‘performing’ when they are out at the barricades. They have that ‘pay attention to me let me see if I can make you to laugh’ attitude kids get when they are acting goofy. They loved the attention! Allison was also crazy at the barricades, but I got the impression that she is also kind of shy. She was still acting crazy, but she didn’t make eye contact in the same way or bask in the attention like Matt and Danny did. Just to clarify’â€Adam also basked in the attention’â€he was just much more chill.
Allison gave the crowd the most dramatic exit in the security cart. She hopped onto the back of the cart and as soon as it started moving, stuck her legs up in the air, spread her legs wide, and pointed at her crotch ALL the way down the driveway into the building. My first thought: ‘Did she just do what I think she did?’ Second thought: they are going to love hearing about this back on the blogs!! My daughter said that some of the moms around her were complaining about Allison’s behavior.
Frankly, it was all kind of crude and gratuitous. Why do that? She may be only 17 now, but I think that she is going to have some wild times in her future (if not already). Allison brought so much to the show, but she is definitely not ‘pageant.’ She doesn’t put herself out there and behave like everyone expects. It’s funny that Adam gets the subversive reputation because I think that Allison is the most subversive of the bunch. She puts herself out there and says and does what she wants. I’m glad she made it as far as she did on Idol because she is a lotta fun.
Like Adam, Kris was very sweet at the barricades. When he came out and stood up my first thought surprised me: ‘What a little hottie!’ No really. He’s absolutely adorable in person and very muscular. He took his time, acted very cool, and generally gave off a very positive and chill vibe. No mania. If you look behind the obvious surface differences, he and Adam are so very much alike. You can see why they are such good friends and why Adam quickly identified him as the cutest of the bunch. When Kris got back into the security cart, the people on my side behind the concrete barrier started yelling at him to come over, and he gave us an adorable and sheepish grin while he said ‘I’m so sorry, but the security people won’t let me.’ He was right, not a single Idol could come over to where we were standing, but that was OK, because we had a great view of all the fun anyways.
Meanwhile, my daughter had managed to worm her way up to the front of the barricades (she’s almost 13) and score an autograph from many of the Idols–including Adam!!’â€as well as four pictures of him. I was so excited for her because I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to squeeze my way up to the front without looking like an idiot. She was starstruck when she met Adam and didn’t say anything to him, but she was thrilled. I was thrilled for her. She said that he kept saying ‘thank you’ over and over again as he walked down the barricades. Adam provided her with the best autograph of all the Idols; he signed in exactly the right spot on the picture, and his handwriting was legible. The other Idols’â€not so good on the autographs’â€upside down, on top of the black part of the photo, etc. Adam did it perfectly even though he had the most people by FAR reaching out to him for an autograph.
On the way home in the car, my niece and I we were laughing about the pink tickler incident with Allison and agreed that scenario would have played out a little differently in a solo concert. My daughter didn’t understand what we were talking about and begged us to explain. I gave her some sort of lame answer that didn’t really say anything, and she said:
‘Mom, I have no idea what you are saying, but I’m going to Adam’s solo concert, and I’m gong to sit in the front row and figure out what you were talking about!’
Big thanks to Adam and all the Idols for a great evening. They sang their hearts out and put all their energy into the performance, except for Megan sadly.
Wish I could go to another concert, but we’ll have to wait for Adam’s solo concert. Praying for spring 2010! My daughter can’t wait!! (And me too!).