Michael Slezak Reviews Glam Nation In New York

Here is my favorite review of Adam Lambert, by my favorite reviewer, Michael Slezak.
He always has such wonderful things to say about him, and how could he not, RIGHT???

Summer Entertainment Guide
Jun 23 2010 04:42 PM ET
Adam Lambert’s Glam Nation Tour in NYC: Fans show a whole lotta love
by Michael Slezak
Categories: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, American Idol

Lambert threw a party last night in New York City, and everyone was invited.

Take, for example, the middle-aged woman in the audience who’d traveled all the way from Auckland, New Zealand, to experience the Glam Nation tour alongside fellow female fans from around the globe whom she’d met on Internet message boards. And in a similar vein, while the audience for the first of Lambert’s two Manhattan concerts featured a mix of ages, races, and genders, a cursory glance around the Nokia Theatre revealed that the American Idol season 8 runner-up is indubitably connecting with women of a certain age.

Superficially, it’s a puzzling phenomenon: Openly gay male rocker drawing droves of adoring thirty- to fifty-something ladies who lazy marketing execs might expect to spend their Tuesday evenings sipping white-wine spritzers and listening to their local Lite-FM stations? But for those lucky enough to experience Lambert’s raucous 14-song set, the phenomenon makes perfect sense: If there’s any truth to the stereotype that gay men throw the best parties, Adam’s Glam Nation soiree is Exhibit A. And as a misfit toy himself — an artist whose Euro-Goth brand of vocal adrenaline and openness about his sexual orientation make his radio aspirations a protracted uphill battle — Adam’s fills his concert with a winking, conspiratorial giddiness that makes his fans feel like he’s singing directly to them. One of the biggest roars from the crowd, in fact, came during Adam’s performance of his hit single “Whataya Want from Me,” right after the line, “It’s me, I’m a freak. But thanks for loving me, ’cause you’re doing it perfectly.”

That kind of positive back-and-forth coursed through the entire Glam Nation set, with Lambert alternately serving as playfully sexy ringleader, Oprah-esque relationship adviser, and jaw-dropping vocal contortionist (albeit one who tends to dress in heavy tapestry fabrics that look like they might have been used to upholster Cher’s couches during her Gothic period). After a particularly devastating rendition of his ballad “Soaked,” Adam laughed about going “dark with a twist,” then, pointing to his chest, he philosophized about the struggle to overcome past hurts and find true love. “You chase your tail to enough bars and then realize the answer is in here.” Later, after ripping his way through the dance-driven current single “If I Had You,” Adam obscenely wagged his tongue and giggled “I love New York!”

The man also loves his most loyal Glamberts, as evidenced by his decision to open the show with a one-two punch of “Voodoo” (which appeared only on Adam’s remix EP) and “Down the Rabbit Hole” (a bonus track that came with iTunes pre-orders of his For Your Entertainment disc), followed by the Middle Eastern-flavored “Ring of Fire” that he first introduced during Country Week on Idol.

Adam then tackled what are arguably the two most commercially viable tracks off his album — the Lady Gaga-penned “Fever” and the Ryan Tedder number “Sleepwalker” — and, not all that surprisingly, these live renditions proved tighter and cleaner than probably half of his Auto-Tuned radio competitors.

After that, the laser-light show and backup dancers went quiet, and the stripped-down portion of the show kicked in for “Whataya Want from Me,” “Soaked,” and “Aftermath,” giving Adam a chance to show off what he’s famous for: That voice. The last of these tracks, a self-empowerment ballad that could easily serve as a National Coming Out Day anthem, benefited most from the sparse rearrangement, achieving depth and nuance that are largely absent from the recorded version.

The party returned to full force — and Adam got his pop-and-lock on — for the beautifully campy “Sure Fire Winners,” and the dance reverie extended through “Strut” (where a paisley skull inexplicably emerged as a backdrop), “Music Again,” and “If I Had You,” Adam’s treatise on the trappings of fame being meaningless without the secret ingredient of love. That sentiment might be too pat by half, but the crowd consumed like lemonade on a scorching summer day.

And just in case some of his Idol devotees came to see him without first sampling his debut disc, Adam returned for an encore of two songs he performed on Fox’s reality juggernaut: “Mad World” got a jangly rearrangement that unfortunately erased the haunting drama of his Idol version. Then, Adam slowed down the blast of sexual energy that is “Whole Lotta Love” and turned it into a howling, bass-heavy meditation that bordered on Tantric. Such a new-age twist might be blasphemy to Led Zeppelin purists, and it may have been unexpectedly mellow for a closing number, but the way the audience shrieked its approval, a successful concert climax was experienced by most.

allison-iraheta-orianthiImage Credit: Joe Kohen/WireImage.comAs for Glam Nation’s opening acts, Adam’s Idol contemporary Allison Iraheta got the party started with a spectacular set that almost forced me to call 911, seeing how its compact 20-minute length robbed me of the necessary time to appreciate the red-headed teenager’s ridiculous vocal talents. Propulsive set opener “Holiday” found Iraheta bounding across the stage with a carefree confidence she never quite achieved during her Idol run; it’s clear that she’s much more at home surrounded by her band than she was with four reality-TV judges ready to pass judgment on her clothing, her demeanor, and her personality. A brief sampling of the devastating ballad “Scars” led into a terrific take on current single “Don’t Waste the Pretty” that featured muscular guest work by guitar goddess Orianthi (who popped in for one song only). The set-closing cover of “Heartbreaker,” meanwhile, turned out to be an inspired choice for an 18-year-old with the soul of someone quite probably three times that age.

Following Iraheta, Orianthi was a bit of a letdown. The “According to You” singer has a stilted stage demeanor that brightens only when she stops singing and focuses on her exceptional guitar skills. Aside from those interludes, though, one must decide whether to fixate on Orianthi’s unremarkable ditties (the rote “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” the Sarah McLachlan-lite “Courage”) or the fact that her bangs failed to move a centimeter through the duration of her nine-song set. The lone highlight of Orianthi’s competent but sleepy act was was the romping “Think Like a Man,” an obvious choice for the Australian diva’s next single.



  1. Meh, TBH most of Adam’s big fans are tired of Mad World and we like the sped up version because it is different. Great review Michael, the other reviwers have no clue why Adam starts with Voodoo/DTRH/ROF 😀

    • I usually enjoy Slezak’s reviews, but in this case I think he focused on things like his perception of Adam’s fan base instead of commenting on the actual performance. MTV’s Jim Cantiello wrote a TERRIFIC review of the New York concerts. He gets Adam and realizes that it should be all about the music.

  2. Actually – I don’t think it’s all “wonderful” from Slezak… which is absolutely fine – but what bothers me about it is, um, how shall I say – Slezak’s trying too hard to either a) be a clever writer/reviewer, or b) be objective, in a way that reminds me of Lambert probably feeling he needs to shed his AI suit – so too does Slezak need to shed some of his admiration of Lambert to appear 100% objective… but I think Slezak sheds in a way that is not authentic. I don’t know if that makes sense. Slezak hits so many points right on the head…but tries too hard to disect others, or something. I mean, I love what a good writer he is, love that he doesn’t dumb-down his work, but something comes off as trying too hard and not organic to me. (Sometimes I just think Slezak needs to put down the thesaurus or something… ) But he does get Lambert for sure!! Gets it all just about right here… with Lambert, that’s pretty easy to do! oh, and I do admire how Slezak stays true to his adoration of Allison I. THAT comes of authentic in his review (he truly feels it). I share that massive adoration of Iraheta – she is so talented, and I absolutely love her cd and play it all the time. Hope she gets some radio play with DWTP… Scars was soooo good and it didn’t hit. Her “Trouble Is” is excellent.

  3. adamfan says:

    Great review! “a successful concert climax was experienced by most.”, Michael,
    correct in more ways than one! haha

  4. My GOSH, I can just imagine Adam wagging his tongue like that. I think, I’ll pass out or scream with delight ! Cunnilingus, this is what women want. Isn’t that what Adam had done before?
    Here in our culture, women usually are treated like sex objects, with men not really caring if they had their “GASMS”. I commiserate with them at times(he-he!), especially those who just died without even knowing what “GASMS” are despite being married for many years. So in our REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROGRAM, I try to educate the men on SEXUALITY.
    It’s no wonder why some women fell hard for lesbians. They understand, and could give them their “needs”.
    And so Adam just hit the target on women—- BULL’S EYE !
    The 30’s to 40’s women ? Some may have disenchantment on what the average male can offer sexually. The lacking part could be the mental stimulation and imagination, and Adam could be filling this void, During this AGES, foreplay could also be wanting. And Adam is the MASTER stroker, tickler, nibbler, lapper LOVER !

    • add 50’s and 60’s to that number and believe me the gasms just keep coming and get better and better. and when you speak of “that voice” to me it is – THE VOICE- of this century. if adam is happy i am happy and if i am happy everyone around me is happy. his spreading of love is absolutely working.

  5. I want to say Hi to Lindasecretsocy, we met while waiting for our cars after the show. Linda, enjoyed our laughs and hope your back is much better today, after standing all that time! I never could have done that!

    Jeez, after all of the above, I just want to say that we had a hella time last night in NYC.
    Did not like the theater, thought Orianthi was on way too long and, yes, Adam wasn’t on long
    enough!! We just can’t get enough of him. Thank the universe that Adam has the theatrical training, as he is such a showman.

    My favorite number was “Fever.” As for the campy “Sure Fire Winners”, this was my least favorite on the album, but after watching him perform it on stage, I loved it. I have come to love Adam live, more than the cd. While that’s great, nothing can compare to his live performance. He is a such powerhouse and holds nothing back.. The young gay man on AI is gone. It’s only now that I can appreciate just how much he had to hold back while on AI. Having said that, he still outperformed everyone else.

    Adam Lambert is not afraid of his own sexuality, and whether you are gay or straight, you just get him, starting with the Voice!

    Thank you Adam!!!!!!

  6. hot 4 sure love love love it

  7. kat23morg says:

    Personally…I am a huge Led Zep fan…have been for a long time….Adam has redefined WLL….I love Robert Plant…but the vocals are much better from Adam and when Adam slows down this song…does it with so much sexy feeling it is just amazing….breathtaking….make you melt into a puddle good….I love the upbeat Mad World with the bongo drums…it to is different…If he did it like he did on Idol or on Idol tour it would be boring because we have seen it a thousand times….Adam is so creative…his vocals are so sick that he can scat (scatting is the vocal acrobatics that jazz and blues singers do) through anything….

  8. Cynthia says:

    Last night at 10:00pm, June 23, 2010, Nokia Theatre, Manhattan, New York City; there I was with friend and family witnessing the most exciting concert I have ever attended in my life!
    Adam is a gift from the gods, he is a superior showman, his voice was better then I have EVER heard it! Did I mention he is totally gorgeous, sexy, and eye candy for every man and woman who is fortunate to see him live.
    Thank You Adam for the best concert experience in my life!

    PS: Adore Allison!

  9. Love Slezak”s review of sexy talented Adam! I think women regardless of their age just enjoy their fantasies when seeing such glam and vocals. Who cares if he”s gay–he really loves his mom and that shows his sensitivity and great upbringing!

  10. marehotlanta says:

    I did not love this review. I know I need to get over it, but I keep remembering how Slezak favored Kris over Adam and kinda even made fun of him early in the AI competition. Here, he seems to think the concert was a great experience, but doesn’t say enough about Adam’s unbelievable vocals. “His live renditions are tighter and cleaner than probably half of his auto-tuned competitors.” Seriously? Just half of them? More like 95%. Whatever…Adam sounded awesome. Can’t wait to see him in Nashville. I am praying that he does WLL!

  11. young, old, gay, straight and everything inbetween are loving the adam lambert concerts. That is what I hear. and from what I have seen on utube there is a lot to love…of glamour, charisma, fun, cheekiness, sexiness, tenderness, love, atmosphere, colour, showmanship and most important of all, the beautiful voice and persona of Adam Lambert. His band and dancers are excellent too.

  12. LolaGlamb says:

    Even though I could only view the concert through YouTube, I can definitely say I experienced the MOST HEAVENLY CONCERT CLIMAX! Thank-you, Adam! That was a whole lotta love! Michael, were you serious with that comment?