Adam Lambert Turns Up the Heat at Final GlamNation Tour Stop
Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” was an appropriate preamble to the last stop of Adam Lambert’s GlamNation tour. When the hit single came on the Club Nokia sound system Thursday night, some 2,300 diehard fans of the Season 8 runner-up -- more than 90% of them female -- jumped to their feet for a symbolic toast to the guy who turned the American Idol formula on its head. With smoke starting to billow out from under the curtain, a sign of Adam’s impending arrival, these ladies wouldn’t sit again until they were back in their cars headed home after a night of balls-out rocking.And did he ever arrive. It was just about a year ago when Adam debuted many of the songs that would make up his GlamNation set, but he’d come a long way in that time. Sure, he was an incredible vocalist from the start, wowing Idol judges and viewers with his incredible range and that awe-inspiring wail, but months on the road, not just in the U.S., but all over Europe and Asia, made a seasoned performer out of Adam. Keeping in line with the lyrics to his opening song “Voodoo,” Adam with his tempered cat walk and beckoning stare, had this crowd completely under his spell within minutes. Of course, his hypnotic stage presence is nothing new to the L.A. fans who’d seen Adam’s previous hometown stops. Wearing just-tight-enough black leather pants, a top hat and purple fringe and feathers, he delivered on the promise laid out in the title track to his debut album, For Your Entertainment: he turned up the heat. Segueing from the frenetic “Down the Rabbit Hole” to his sultry rendition Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” which he sang during Season 8’s Grand Ole Opry week, a performance that helped catapult him to the final two, Adam proved his seemingly effortless ability to handle multiple genres, from dance pop (“Fever”) to Broadway-ready ballads (“Soaked”) to rock-n-roll (“Whole Lotta Love”). “It’s a hot one in here tonight!” said Adam, quoting (presumably unintentionally) Randy Jackson’s favorite phrase. “The last show, I can’t believe it! It’s been a trippy six months.” Indeed, factor in the commercial success of his album, which has long surpassed the gold mark, a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Whataya Want From Me,” his second single, and an in-demand tour, and Adam has had the model Idol year. But Thursday’s bow, and his previous show at the Music Box Wednesday night, where he performed stellar covers of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and “20th Century Boy,” by glam rock godfather T. Rex, was a graduation of sorts for Adam – no longer tethered to the parental platform that is Idol, now free to explore his own artistry like diving into a college major. Glam 101, here we come! With that in mind, the acoustic portion of the concert, which featured an ever-so-slightly sped up version of “Whataya Want From Me,” seemed like something Adam wanted to get past quickly, as a hint of vocal fatigue set in. Then again, for Adam to strain a note is like an Olympic ice skater opting for a triple Lutz rather than a quadruple Axel, and by the time he hit the anthemic “Surefire Winners,” he had a medal in his sights and it was glittering gold. Backed by the four dancers who’d followed him around the world, the GlamNation set seemed better suited for an intimate club setting. Adam wound down the night with “Strut,” “Music Again,” which pummeled the room with the always irresistible cowbell, and his current hit “If I Had You.” During the last song, he was so close to the crowd that he could recognize repeat customers, and even read the writing on one fan’s baseball cap. It said, “Warning: I fuck back.” Perhaps interpreting the sexual innuendo as an invitation to turn his already provocative stage moves up a notch, Adam did just that during the encore. Keeping with his theme of delivering a double dose of covers, he took on Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and then Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” where rather than fanning the flames of a burning guitar, he, ahem, pleasured his microphone. Hot? To be sure, you could even say sweltering, and what better way to brace for a cold, hard winter, at the end of which Adam may emerge with new tunes, and that’s music to any Glambert’s ear.