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Concert Reviews:
Adam Lambert Brings The Glam To Royal Oak

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Saturday, June 19, 2010

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ROYAL OAK -- "American Idol's" 2009 runner-up Adam Lambert took six months to hit the road in support of his debut album "For Your Entertainment" But his Glam Nation Tour was worth the wait.

Lambert has never been one to shy away from spectacle and kitsch, and he delivered it all in gleeful abundance on Friday night (June 18) at a Royal Oak Music Theatre packed with Glam Nation devotees -- where youthful Top 40 fans rubbed elbows (and more) with a surprising number of moms and grandmas drawn in by Lambert's fusion of theatrical flamboyance and '70s vintage rock 'n' roll flash, as well as his tasteful touch with eye liner. It as a big show in a small place, right down to the lasers and rear-screen projections, and further established that this second-place finisher is first-rate, and a much more accomplished and interesting performer than the guy who bested him, Kris Allen, or even other recent "Idol" champs like David Cook and Lee DeWyze.

That said, Lambert's 65-minute, 14-song show got off to an awkward and lurching start. Following support sets by fellow "Idol" finalist Allison Iraheta and the guitar wielding Orianthi, Lambert's opening number, "For Your Entertainment," was actually a remix of the song played on tape while a large photo of the singer gazed at the crowd from the screen for nearly five minutes. He then hit the stage decked out like a New Orleans dandy in a feathered top hat and long coat, but his first salvo of songs ranked as obscurities -- album bonus tracks "Voodoo" and "Down the Rabbit Hole" and a grunged-up rendition of the Johnny Cash staple "Ring of Fire" (one of his "Idol" songs) wretched enough to lure the notoriously tempestuous Man in Black rise from the grave to kick Lambert's butt.

Things righted quickly, however, as the group kicked into a breakneck version of the Lady Gaga co-write "Fever," and Lambert and company were off to the races for the remainder of the evening. Gothic images accompanied a powerful "Sleepwalker" -- one of several songs that let guitarist Monte Pittman stretch out -- while "Sure Fire Winners," "Strut," "Music Again" and "If I Had You" found Lambert in an emotive, anthemic glory of cascading vocal scales (he's acknowledged lowering the keys of some songs, but certainly to good effect). Unplugged-style versions of "Whataya Want From Me," "Soaked" and "Aftermath" were equally effective, as were the acoustic-flavored encore versions of Tears For Fears' "Mad World" and Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."

As a first shot (not counting last year's American Idols Live!) in the touring world, Lambert's was mostly on the mark -- and certainly enough to keep us paying attention to what he does next.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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