Sunday, 27 September 2009

Poll Results: Your Most Memorable Parts of the Set

I started this poll a couple of weeks into the tour after the previous one finished, and closed it just after the mid-point. The options I gave were ones that either got a fair amount of coverage in reviews or replayed themselves in my head way after I finished watching the videos and I tried to include something from each song:

No surprises that it was the slinky dancing courtesy of those wriggly snake hips that topped the list. The first time I saw Adam's moves I felt a surge of pride and found myself laughing as he continued to subvert the AI image with their campness and derring-do. He'd already smashed it to pieces during the show, but it was fun to watch him grind the those last vestiges into a fine glitter. No straight guy can dance like that and I was happy that Adam's sexuality was proudly on display. I've lost count of the number of exclamations of 'Oh my God!' that peppered the videos as people couldn't believe their eyes. As the tour went on, he loosened up and his moves got more accentuated with bigger ripples and fuller gyrations. How many times have you paused and re-watched certain moves over and over again?

Slightly suprising for me was that the Starlight vocals came in at a close second. I often try to gauge the popularity of certain elements by the number of YouTube tributes in circulation. There are plenty dedicated to the visuals - the dancing, the mic molestation, the jacket removal and the whipping but there's much less from the vocal perspective. The voice and even Starlight itself were often neglected and eluded mention in many reviews. The thing is, we often take it for granted that Adam has the most amazing vocal cords and can sing, so it tends to be overlooked for other aspects of the performance. When it comes to polls like this though, psychology comes into play where I suspect we don't necessarily vote for the most accurate option. It was initially quite far behind so I think there may be an instinct at work where we want to shift the focus of attention on the voice rather than, say, the mic antics. We want to make it known that we appreciate what a fiendish song it is to sing and recognise what a superb job he did with it. It did seem to take a bit of a toll on his voice as the key was lowered in the middle of the tour in Hamilton. Since it's a slow day, I've included versions in both keys. For an eerie effect, try overlaying them so that he harmonises with himself. To do this, the Hamilton video needs a 24 second head start. As I said, it's been a slow few days!

The jacket removal comes next, and was usually responsible for the loudest screams of the night from what I can gather from the videos. There were a couple of locations where it didn't want to come off but the way he tore it open and pumped out his chest energised the crowd into a frenzy and got them ready to do some shakin'. Much could be made of the symbolism of the gesture - shrugging off the last of the AI image and showing us his true self, preparing us for what's to come - who knows? The result is that we get two different looks in his set. It could just be that the jacket doesn't suit the rest of the medley as well because it leans more towards funk rather than rock. It certainly makes it easier to dance and allows his moves to be much more visible to the audience.

Whole Lotta Love produced some memorable moments through the very overt sexual gestures and we were all glued to our screens trying to predict whether the mic impregnation moment would give birth to a 'baby', a 'woman' or even a 'honey'. (For those who love numbers, the these were 56%, 42% and 2% respectively.) There was plenty of aggressive thrusting and crotch stroking and mic stand fondling - prime material for gifs destined for a lifetime of looping, just in case the memory needs a little refreshing. And who can forget his stripper moves at the end of the tour?

Next down the list were the glory notes and runs. There were some staggering notes that Adam reached, coupled with some incredible riffing, the most impressive of which were demonstrated in WLL where there was a huge amount of variation in his runs towards the end of the song. They were also prominently featured during Slow Ride and Let's Dance. At the start of the tour, these were generously dished out, but about a third of the way in, he started rationing them a little, choosing to go lower to preserve his voice. He lowered the key of WLL in Long Island and from there on, the rationing wasn't noticeable.

It was a little unexpected that the underwear and props weren't higher on the list especially as these kept getting mentioned in interviews, but the timing may have been a factor as the props seemed to increase exponentially towards the end of the tour. Each city upped its ante, determined to outdo the last in order to stage the best show. They added fun and spontaneity into the routines although they weren't always welcomed, especially when they hit Adam. That first bra in Vancouver had us all going crazy and impressed by the way he seamlessly choreographed it into the routine. Then we had the feather boas, the whips, the handcuffs, the riding crops, the phallic objects, the unidentified, the jockstraps, the boxer shorts and the hats. Towards the end, it was as if someone had let off one giant and slightly kinky party popper over the stage.

I think the iconic poses are much more memorable than what we consciously register and there are plenty to choose from. For example, during WLL when Adam snaps his head back whilst gripping the mic, his silhouette during the guitar solo, the finishing pose when he punches the air, coat tails flapping. Then there are all the arm gestures during Starlight, the the familiar glory note pose when he pulls the mic away from his mouth in MW, other hand palming the air. Then leaning back slightly, eyes closed, hand in the air when he hits those high notes during Slow Ride. And let's not forget those poses during the Bowie Medley. I'm pretty sure now that when you hear any part of the song, you'll instinctively know what position he's in, or conversely if you see any photograph or clip without the sound, you'll know exactly what he's singing. I won't give answers as it's so easy, but you can try it out here:

Trailing at the bottom of the list is the MW singalong. This isn't surprising since we've just about reached saturation point but I figured there might be a huge difference between those who attended the concert and those experiencing it only through the videos. Some reviews described it as a magical moment and I can understand how much of the impact is lost when it's contained within the limitations of video. I can imagine the atmosphere - the whole arena is united for the song, singing along, holding up anything that gives off light. The videos just cannot capture that. The song is about the pain of isolation but the performance brings about a mood of togetherness. There are no social outcasts as everyone is there to support each other through their love of music. That's why we're all here, and that, I believe, is what Adam Lambert is all about.


  1. Adam Bombed, I could see you are closing up now. I was wondering would you write a conclusion on this poll? :D Thanks.
    Yes, I guessed we were a bit reluctant to admit that there was more than the voice which we fell for. :D
    As for me, I was voting for the jacket and the slinky dance before August. It all changed after his performance in LA. From then I was voting for Starlight and the slinky dance.
    In short, I guessed it is the whole package that we love. I could not wait to hear his "Time for miracle".
    Yes, we are all here for the love of the music. That is what Adam Lambert is all about.
    TC ~K^65535 oooooo