How Adam Slayed Bethlehem

future adam 3The expectations for Adam Lambert’s Original High Tour stop at Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania were set by his opening act Alex Newell[1]: “I’m gonna get the stage warm for Adam so he can slay all your lives.”

Yes, Adam did slay. Here are the nine ways he slayed Bethlehem – as he apparently has on each of the tour stops so far.

FUN!!!! I’m going to split semantic hairs by distinguishing between enjoyable (like a great glass of wine) and fun which is enjoyable AND carries a sense of playfulness. All of the elements I’m describing below came together in such a way that the evening felt far more like a party and a celebration than a concert. I’ve enjoyed myself at many shows but rarely have I had as much as sustained fun.

The Original High album. Beginning with the opening song Evil In the Night, Adam focused on his new and most artistically complete album Original High while weaving in fan favorites from his first two albums. Although it was nice to finally hear songs from the Trespassing album performed live[2], the ten songs Adam performed from The Original High showed him to be a cutting edge artist with a diverse palette of vocal styles to draw from.

JPEG image-B6CEAAF08CFF-1Staging. The staging is a major upgrade from his first Glamnation tour in 2010. And while they’re hardly on the scale of a massive arena act like Muse or Coldplay, Adam’s visual effects – which includes his two dancers – augmented rather than took attention away from watching him as a solo performer. They gave the sense that something BIG was happening but that something big was Adam.

The “dance club” portion of the show. This began with a big, high-energy breakdown[3] along with a spectacular display oIMG_4828f multi-colored lights ending with a stunning white flash which introduced a medley of dace songs: The Light[4]/The Original High/Never Close Our Eyes – the latter done in with a slick disco arrangement. These were followed by the For Your Entertainment era club banger Fever and a colossal cover of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. Like a good club DJ, Adam slowed the energy down (just a bit) with These Boys – a bonus track from The Original High – before “closing” the show on an old high with the disco/dance-pop hit If I Had You.

The encore. Oh my. Trespassing – which riffs off Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust – blending into . . . wait for it . . . Another One Bites the Dust . . . and back into Trespassing. Body worn out. Mind blown. #Wow

Community. As compared to seeing him back in 2010, it was nice to see Adam’s fan base growing beyond the Idol demographic, no doubt in large part due to his success with Queen, radio hits like Ghost Town and major television appearances. Having said that, his rabid core fans are unlike those for almost any other major performer in that they/we all became fans at the same time and in the same way – watching him on American Idol. This creates a shared experience and intimacy between Adam’s fans that can’t exist for any other non-Idol artist[5]. It’s a palpable, intense re-connection between strangers that is special and unique.

Mad World. I’ve seen Bon Jovi sing Livin’ On a Prayer; Adele sing Someone Like You; Alanis Morissette sing You Oughta Know. And I could on and on. In other words, I’ve seen lots of BIG artists sing their BIG song. But because of the community effect I just described, I’ve never seen an audience as collectively under an artist’s spell as when Adam did Mad World. We were collectively remembering and reliving that singular moment when we witnessed one of Idol’s historically remarkable performances – while watching Adam repeat that performance right in front of us. It was as magical as it was stunning[6].

The Money Notes. Seriously – who in popular music hits stratospheric notes like Adam Lambert? His fans love them and come expecting to hear them and he did not disappoint. But because of the subtlety of the new album, the big money notes are less frequent but more impactful.

singing adamThe Voice. In the end, that’s why we love Adam Lambert. Who sings like this? His virtuoso force of nature voice spans genres, effortlessly leaps octaves, and sings with power and pathos. Who sings like this? No one would be the correct answer.

Yes, Alex Newell, you were right. Adam did indeed slay. And I expect him to slay again when I see him in DC on Saturday night.

Set List

  • Evil In the Night
  • For Your Entertainment
  • Ghost Town
  • Underground/Rumors
  • Whataya Want From Me
  • Lucy
  • After Hours
  • Mad World
  • Another Lonely Night
  • The Light/The Original High/Never Close Our Eyes
  • Fever
  • Let’s Dance
  • These Boys
  • If I Had You
  • Encore: Trespassing/Another One Bites the Dust


[1] A phenomenal singer, by the way.

[2] Adam did not do a U.S. tour for that album.

[3] An extended percussive and instrumental period in a dance song.

[4] My favorite song from Original High.

[5] And I would argue the intensity of the Glamberts’ fandom is greater for him than any of Idol’s current megastars, i.e. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Daughtry.

[6] To be fair, witnessing the shared joy of Livin’ On A Prayer; the shared sorrow of Someone Like You; and the shared anger of You Oughta Know were singular concert moments in their own way, too.

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One Comment on “How Adam Slayed Bethlehem”

  1. […] Lambert appearing in Idol! But wait – there’s more! During a day off from his amazing The Original High Tour, he and Max Martin – The Omniscient and Omnipotent Overlord of the Pop Music Universe […]

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