Sunday, 6 June 2010
Glam Nation: Wilkes-Barre
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.