Sunday, 6 June 2010

Glam Nation: Wilkes-Barre

I've spent all day mesmerised by the videos from the first night of Glam Nation and I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the videographers for swallowing up my whole day with such wonderful entertainment. Here are my picks of the best videos so far, embedded as a playlist. Use the arrows to change songs:

I didn't stay up for the stream so woke up to an abundance of quality video this morning and was blown away. There's just so much to comment on, from the set list, the arrangements, the vocals, the look, the costumes, the dancing, the light show to and all the visuals in the background.

The show starts off with Voodoo and Adam appears with top hat as a silhouetted figure against an eerie moonlit sky. The outfit looks very similar to that from the IIHY video spoilers. Our voodoo witch doctor soon casts a spell over us all, including the dancers who, like puppet dolls, are at the mercy of his every whim. His make-up is done to give the appearance of spooky sunken eyes. DTRH is as trippy as ever as he has the psychedelic visuals and rainbow lasers to enhance the experience. On his knees, a surprise costume change heralds the start of RoF and a dangerously thrilling way to be seduced to the dark side. If we're getting lured into Hell then we may as well go all-out with the most pleasureable ticket possible for the journey. No head-dress, but plenty of scorching flames licking out from behind. I love Adam's attention to detail. The positioning of his fingers, the bindi and the magnificent trills all add to the Eastern vibe. The bass sounds strange but I'm sure it's something that'll be ironed out as the tour progresses. Adam unfolds as we get to the second verse and it suddenly hits me what he'd been wearing under that coat. THOSE TROUSERS! Remember when we all went crazy over his lace-up leather ones at the Kiss 108 concert? Well these are the fucking shiny silver lamé version! CHEST! And we thought that his neckline was low in the original RoF. I love the elaborate decorations on his shirt.

I realise for the first time during Fever that Adam is barefoot, which I find very sexy. Remember the first time we saw him perform barefoot? I prefer the live arrangement to the album version for the prolonged synthy sounds. The background disco neon gives it a very camp feel. I notice that the dancers all have 'A' on the back of their outfits and the way that they seem to be sniffing him out makes it clear who their master is. The dance moves are great and this is a fierce showing. Here we see the first signs of that renegade tuft of hair misbehaving.

The tribal dance interlude is a clever addition to keep the audience entertained as Adam goes for a costume change. It's ever so slightly 'Thriller' because the dancers seem rather feral. Sleepwalker has a grand cinematic vibe to it as he descends the stairs like the MW reprise. The mournful stone angels straight out of a cemetery remind me of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. Adam's coat is a retro-space emperor's robe with the same feel as the Leno outfit. Monte gives us a stunning solo, complemented by Adam's stellar vocals. WWFM is an acoustic version with quite sparse instrumentals, feeling very light and breezy. The arrangement of Soaked works beautifully without the keys aggressively being hammered down. It's a less dramatic and much gentler version better for showcasing Adam's ghostly lingering voice. This concert brings the debut of Aftermath, a surprising addition but what a gem! I think I prefer this bare acoustic version to the big production on the album. The choruses don't sound so shrill so his sweet voice is coaxing and closer to the heart of the song. I love the variations he put in at the end.

Adam leaves us with an fantastic instrumental interlude and laser show as he goes for another costume change. I have a feeling he forgot to top up his hairspray as he got changed. When I saw the outfit I had to laugh as who else would put a huge fucking glittery 'A' on the back of their waistcoat? How can you not love him for that? It's got a bit of an Elvis jumpsuit to it but it's so fun. The way he works the stage jumping up and down various platforms leaves us in no doubt as to what a spectacularly charismatic frontman he is and gives us a glimpse of what he would be like rocking a huge stadium concert. The first glory note sounds flat but the rest of the vocals are strong. Another aspect of Adam I find so endearing is the way he makes the most out of his wardrobe by cutting and pasting clothes together to assemble outfits. I notice that he snipped his shirt just a little too short so that it rides out when he raises his arms.

Strut is becoming one of my favourite live performances from Adam and he starts by calling for his Sunday best - a ridiculously loud stripy coat with tails, promptly brought to him by a dancer. It looks so fabulous on him. I associate this song with a glam feel so this wouldn't have been my guess to have a voodoo theme. The first time I became aware of voodoo was from watching Live and Let Die as a child and it scared the shit out of me. This isn't quite so scary and Adam's cane isn't a voodoo staff with feathers and a skull, but the dancers are all adorned with creepy masks. Adam as ringmaster for the departed does a wonderful job of commanding the army of the underworld. I miss the catwalk strut but look out for the shoulder shimmy as Adam graces the top of the platform. Music Again is pure camp fun and the band interaction is fantastic.

Broken Open brings a change of mood and this one is a stunning spectacle. Adam cuts a lone seraphic figure standing atop the platform. The floating orbs radiating off him even make him god-like (or Patrick Swayze ascending to Heaven at the end of Ghost), like he has all the answers. They feel reassuring, like a protective cocoon and just make you want to hug the person next to you. Seriously though, this is beautifully atmospheric and I can't even begin to imagine the wonderment I'd feel if I'd been there in person.

The last song of the set is IIHY which includes all the band and dancer intros. I'm liking the tribal white stripe down Longineu's face and Monte's Sgt. Pepper military jacket. I find the 'Mr. Glitterbaby' intro so much more amusing than I should. Adam has all the dance moves nailed but it seems like his hair has a life of its own. Each of the dancers has a moment in the spotlight to freestyle and I love his moment with Brooke as it feels we're watching a candid moment between friends and can really see the chemistry. Why does it keep getting so endearing whenever Adam messes up his lines? The backing track keeps going but the look on his face when he realises is precious. He bounces back though, and the laser show is so pretty. The encore is a jazzed-up acoustic Mad World with plenty of improvising and bluesy riffing.

Like the album, the concert is made up of variety. Variety in themes, sounds, visuals and costumes which keeps our attention rapt throughout. I think a slightly different order in the set list would make it flow better though. There isn't a standout 'moment' like that FS WLL or Zurich Sleepwalker but rather a series of highlights. Even then, there are so many to list. We have Voodoo, RoF, Soaked, Aftermath, Broken Open... it's like we have a variety of different concerts all rolled into one vibrant extravaganza. Somehow the result is much more than the sum of the individual parts. Must be the voodoo.


  1. (NZ) another 69 to go!! two days now i've been watching and re-watching this epic concerts!! how are we gonna do anything else for the next three months?? plus,watched live stream of the second one!! love it love it love it!! Adam rules my world!!! ps. love U2 AB, thank you for everything that you do. you are THE best!!!

  2. What a great review.. really sums up my feelings after watching all the posted vids too! Adam should have given u a media pass to recap this first awesome first show! ;)

  3. And THANK YOU for such a great review and finding the best vids - I've also spent all day immersed in this concert, but I hadn't seen some of these versions.

    I can't believe his generosity with his voice - I know that many of the songs are now pitched to his lower register, which I'm really enjoying, but still, he is giving plenty of glory vocals as well. When you see the sheer number of concerts he'll be giving, I admit I do feel concerned.

    The highlights for me of this concert were RoF (squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee) and surprisingly Aftermath - which I really loved. I watched WWFM over and over again for that part, "Thanks for loving me, cause you're doing it perfectly" - the look of love in his eyes and the expression in his voice is simply unforgettable. So agree with you about his dancing with Brooke. What a feast. (Nikki)

  4. Your reviews are intriguing and I admire your ability to observe so many details from video. I realize that you've played the video numerous times and I'm curious as to how many that is before you post. I am pleased that you were finally able to see Adam in person. Thanks for obsessing with us!

  5. Thank you so much for your beautiful recap. I found myself spellbound once again reading it - after reviewing the videos all day- spot on! I always enjoy what you share- thank you for putting your heart into all of this for those of us out here who love to obsess with you!

  6. Who needs a Sunday paper when we have you?? It was worth the wait from Friday. I too spent Saturday watching videos over and over and over- I feel that this is our maturing Adam who is both adorably human and a thoroughgoing professional - a world class artist who feels like a friend- AND SINGS LIKE NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!! I feel lucky to be alive just to enjoy Adam- thank you for your wonderful posts!

  7. Anonymous (NZ), let's hope some of those 69 go to NZ & UK! I guess we're just not going to manage to do anything else this summer.

    Nikki, thank you! I wish I had a pass but I guess Neil has priority sibling privileges.
    It's going to be tough on his voice but I trust that Adam will be fine. I notice in Sayreville that he's pacing himself and didn't reach for the astronomically high notes. If he did encounter problems, I have no doubt they'd be able to modify the arrangements to make them less taxing on his voice. I guess this might be something Adam will take more into consideration when writing new material.
    I think I'm becoming obsessed with RoF all over again. Help!

    Stacey, thank you! I find my favourite reviews I've written are those where I haven't been spoiled and haven't read other people's reviews which can make me chicken out of writing some things down. I usually make notes the first time I watch, jotting down my first instincts, whatever stands out to me and my emotional response, because that's when the impression is strongest. Then I watch them carefully maybe once more to build on it with the finer details and technical aspects. When I proof-read, I'll watch certain parts over again. I'm really hoping the tour has a few stops here in the UK. Once just isn't enough!

    Jane, thank you too for obsessing with me here! It's the shared enthusiasm which makes this so much fun.

    Francess40, we're kind of on different days here because this concert happened just yesterday (Sat) for me! I ought to get some more sleep and live in my own timezone but something tells me that's just not going to happen! Thanks as always for your comments, I agree that he's an incredibly rare talent and am grateful for all the enjoyment he's given us all.

  8. Thank you so much. Every time I'm reading your blog and watching videos, I'm in another world. You and Adam has the ability to take people to a place you want them to be, and yours happened to be bringing people to Adam's world. Perfect!

  9. hcluless, good to see it worked this time! Thanks for your comment, it makes me ridiculously happy you think I have such a skill!

  10. I loved this show, Adam is a perfect voice, a showman, always handsome .. Thank God I found this blog because I live in Brazil and do not know Adam century will come here. Any time I take a flight to USA just to see a show of it. In the meantime, I blog it! Congratulations!