The press conference held Friday afternoon (June 18th) with Adam Lambert was filled with questions about the tour, now heading into its third week, along with the new single “If I Had You”. The music video was unveiled this past Monday. Both the tour and the video are filled with Lambert’s “glam” signature along with his hippie aesthetic.
Adam Lambert arrived as more than a bit of an enigma in the international pop scene, an “American Idol” who is far from the cookie cutter products that the show has produced over the past nine years. He sent an album to market that is both eclectic and yet “radio friendly” in the categories of pop, hot adult contemporary and adult contemporary. However, on the flip-side, he is somewhat of a throw-back. He has told interviewers, when asked if he could live in a different era, that he would be very at home in the late sixties and throughout the seventies. His idols include Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Atom Ant. When he comes on stage and performs the first third of the Glamnation Tour set barefoot, one can see and feel the flower child blooming under all the make-up and glitter.
In the video for his new single “If I Had You” the hippie-gypsy culture is the the main theme. Lambert brought together some of his dearest and most eccentric friends to spend the night in Griffith Park, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company as stilt walkers circled the troupe and fire benders lit the space and purified the air. There were folks sporting wings and even Chinese lion dancers. Adam’s hair went from long Bo Derek type braids to a loose fall down his back. Costumes changed from a jacket designed by The Blondes to a tried-and-true old pair of platform boots that Adam has customized himself many times. The resulting footage brought home the message Lambert stated in the conference that “It reminds you that you don’t need a bunch of material possessions to feel validated in life and you don’t need those things to be successful. Stay happy and stay connected and then you can get through.”
As for the tour production? The rocker stated “It is music from the album with an emotional thru-line, from dark and mysterious to light and celebratory. But of course my version of dark and mystery is also still very tongue-in-cheek and kitschy with lots of rhinestones. Lots of theatrical sensibilities. I have four dancers on stage for a handful of numbers. The band is always on stage. There are some costume changes. Lots of fashion. Definitely glam.” It starts in the Louisiana bayou and moves through a theme of turn-of-the-century New Orleans. Mysticism with a large helping of camp, costuming based on a steampunk idea and a light show that goes from foggy, bottom-lit to overhead rainbow lasers, the “story” of the set is easily followed if one just looks a little for it.
Lambert also admits to being a romantic. When asked about the art tribes and gypsy cultures he is a part of and seems to be promoting with the inclusion of members of Lucent Dossier and Zodiac Show, “burners” and Lightning in a Bottle folks in the whole process, his response was “these were communities I grew attracted to. They woke me up to the possibilities of creativity in the city (Los Angeles). These incredible people I brought along to highlight the community of people that think outside the box. Almost a Utopian sensibility. The mentality of gypsy way of life is really romantic to me. It reminds you that you don’t need a bunch of material possessions to feel validated in life and you don’t need those things to be successful. Stay happy and stay connected and then you can get through”. He also said, to the question of what types of venues he prefers, that he likes theaters. Not only due to his roots in them but the architecture and the decor along with the acoustics make them a favorite for him.
Adam’s strongest point about his music in general is “don’t take it so seriously”. He admits that some songs, like his previous single “Whaddaya Want From Me” are angsty, but for the most part he wanted to make listeners feel joy, a bit of friskiness, to get up and dance the whole time enjoying the company they were doing it with. The Los Angelan says he feels “the idea of genre is passe. We are in the post-modern age. The key is mixing it up. Mine is pop music with lots of guitars so it has a pop edge and its rock edge”. Now that statement might touch a nerve with people who who give credence to the idea that there are right and wrong ways to make music, create an album or produce a live tour. But Adam Lambert has proved that line of thinking out-dated. Admittedly opinionated and insisting on integrating himself into every part of the processes, despite being a rookie, has resulted in an album with something for every mood and is yet, cohesive.
Although much of the tour is sold out, try to find a ticket for a show near you. Experience a performance that is truly original, filled with intrigue, a little heartbreak and lots of joy.