Sunday, 22 September 2013
Queenbert iHeartRadio Festival Las Vegas
It seems like forever since I last saw Adam perform and what a sight for sore eyes he is. Wow. He looks stunning. Cutting a svelte figure looking refined in unimposing understated black, he's dressed respectfully in keeping with the rest of the band and not attention-seekily, which only shows Adam's sensitivity and class. There's facial hair with very little make-up and it's quite rare to see him without a jacket for such an event. Maybe he's remembered it makes him sweat bucketloads. Casual with shirt slashed to the waist and skintight jeans, there's no denying his irresistible sex appeal. The only bling comes in the form of a bit of jewellery, a belt and those bedazzled Louboutins.
The set kicks off with the "Mama" part of Bohemian Rhapsody and with it he's finally scratched my 5 year (almost) itch. Despite being part of previous Queenbert concerts, this is the first time Adam has performed it since his AI audition. It will draw the inevitable comparisons with Freddie but he holds his own. I think he lacks the cutting clarity of Freddie's tone but it's strong and he adds a different grittier rock texture to it. The theatricality and the emotion still give it that impact though.
Another One Bites The Dust completes the opening medley and the start is a shock. Adam's voice is so low and rich and it's that part of his range that we rarely hear. Even during the higher parts I realise that during the Trespassing era I haven't heard that much of his melodic sweet spot, which is truly sublime. He gets his strut on, showing us all what a powerful and charismatic front man he makes.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love comes with a heavy dose of swagger with some of Adam's diction a nod to Elvis. He's a bit tentative when the music cuts out but his belting is mightily impressive.
Who Wants To Live Forever brings an abrupt change to the mood of the set. Super dramatic from very soft and whispery to strong, powerful and operatic, Adam's voice seems limitless as he glides effortlessly between its many different shades and facets. He gives me goosebumps galore, especially at the climax which I will to keep going. You cannot fail to be moved by this and the emotion behind it. It's spellbinding. I watch and listen in awe, astounded all over again by his mastery of his phenomenal voice. I already feel from this concert that he's reached a new level, above everything else so far and it makes me proud to see him strive to keep improving when there's so little room for it. It could just be the quality of the recordings but it sounds to me that the difference between this and last year's Queenbert is considerable.
Adam leaves the stage for Fun to join Queen for Somebody To Love, sung by their front man Nate Ruess. It's quite cruel for anyone to follow Adam, kind of like the anti-climax of Kris performing after Adam on the AI tour. Nate has a lovely timbre to his voice but he seems to not be very well trained on the mic. I think it's too far and he doesn't keep it steady, affecting how we perceive his tone, power, projection and volume. They have different styles though and I've come to appreciate how slick and well-controlled Adam's is. Comparatively rough around the edges, Nate does a good job and it's enjoyable, but for selfish reasons I can't help but wish it were Adam singing instead. As an aside, it seems Fun's guitarist didn't get the memo regarding what to wear. I think he looks like a guy they dragged in off the street.
Adam is re-introduced back on stage for a Fat Bottomed Girls duet with Nate. When I think of Adam performing, I often think of him playing up to the crowd but I have a new-found appreciation of how physically restrained he is. In direct contrast to Nate's rather hyperactive flaily style, Adam seems effortlessly cool and laid back in comparison. His stage presence still dominates and is second-to-none. The highlight which is hilarious, has to be where he straddles an imaginary object (I'll leave that to your imagination), works his snake hips and demands us to get on our bikes and ride. Yes sir!
A mashup of Dragon Attack with the Bohemian Rhapsody breakdown follows. By force of habit, I almost expect DA to segue into Shady but both songs are frustratingly abbreviated. He hits a rare sharp note in the very short burst of BR. I want to hear more of it though. I really think full versions deserve to be heard and a half hour set is nowhere near enough.
We Will Rock You marks the beginning of the end. A tuft of hair is starting to fall and there's a flat note. I have to say that the crowd is particularly lame. Don't any of them know how to clap in time? Admittedly they didn't all come to see Queen and the venue is massive but when you compare it to any of the London shows it must have been a disappointment for the performers. Maybe Adam should have led the clapping There was the potential to create a magical atmosphere for all that was missed.
We Are The Champions is the spectacular conclusion to the set and Adam leaves no doubt as to his suitability for the task in hand. The crowd is better for this one with a few arms swaying in the air but it's still not a patch on London last year. He ends the concert with a blast of his trademark bluesy runs but I just don't want it to end.
I love this concert though the truncated songs and the abrupt switching between them is a serious source of irritation. I would've liked to have heard Don't Stop Me Now, The Show Must Go On and a full Bohemian Rhapsody but the allocated time is too short. I feel that Adam's upped his game, vocally stretching his range. His voice and his presence are so very powerful, exuding charisma and commanding all before him. There is no denying his Rock God credentials as I feel humbled just watching him. Magnificent.