since March last year. The pressure was on to give this second era the best possible first impression to do justice to all the hard work.
I'm sure the memory of the AMAs and its associated pressures were at the back of many minds, hence a few anxious twitchings as we counted down the clock. Welcomed back were those once-familiar questions of what Adam would wear, how he'd be styled, how the staging would work, what vocal nuances would be added to the live performance, how the live instrumentals would differ from the single.
Judging by what we know of the album so far and having seen the single cover, it comes as no surprise that Adam is fresh-faced with minimal make-up, and high hair (thankfully without the Kim Jong-Un shaved sides) that has a roughed-up texture in line with a lower maintenance look. It's one that's austere, his outfit monochrome without a single speck of glitter, rhinestone or feather in sight. His shirt collar looks a dog collar, giving the impression of being a bit restrained. There's no tie, which I would have been tempted by to add a splash of colour, and even the suit, the cut of which is rather straight, has no sheen so it's left to the few pieces of jewellery to remind us of his Glambert roots. He looks beautiful, understated and chic.
He's joined by band members Ashley Dzerigian on bass (who had to crouch for much of the time due to a failed strap), Isaac Carpenter on drums, Kevin Hastings on keys and Tommy Joe Ratiff on guitar.
The introduction still reminds me a bit of a church organ and once we get a close-up of Adam, his translucent ears reveal the absence of ear monitors. When I heard this on the stream, I thought his voice at the start was more tentative than usual in the weaker part of his range, whispery rather than allowing the space to be melodic. As well as nerves, I think a small part of it's down to his voice getting a bit lost in the mix, especially in the chorus so I've amped it up here just a smidgen. It's sung in a lower key than the single and Adam retains the some of the grainy timbre which is my absolute favourite. He sounds more confident as the song goes on and at the bridge, we get to hear Kevin's backing vocals, the harmonies of which are spot-on.
It's when we get nearer the end of the song that things get really exciting for me. Like I've been watching and waiting for Adam to let rip, and I can see it in his body that he's been itching for it too so when it does happen, it's like a release. Wow. I feel like those cockatoo crest feathers when they rise. We see the tongue lick out and hear the accompanying notes, splendid and powerful. I'm sure his unintended stint at method acting over the winter prepared him well for performing BTIKM, enabling him to emote the song to a different level. I get the feeling he still holds back a touch though, as he resists elaborating those runs and reaching even higher. This is an accomplished performance, leaving the impression of being quietly self-assured. After the excesses of the first era, this "less is more" theme is going to take a bit of getting used to because I just can't wait for more.