March 4, 2016 Adam Lambert Dazzles The Paramount Huntington, NY 2-23-16 w/ Alex Newell
It has been over eight years since San Diego native, Singer-Songwriter Adam Lambert graced the American Idol stage. Stepping into the spotlight of stardom as a finalist in 2009, Lambert’s wide vocal range, unique persona, and style won over fans worldwide during his time as a contestant. Since 2009, Lambert has sold over 2.5 million albums, has received numerous music awards , as well as been nominated for two GLAAD awards, a BMI Award for “Award-Winning Songs,” and Young Hollywood Award for “Artist of the Year,” to name a few. Further making a mark, Lambert caught the attention of Brian May and Roger Taylor, original members of the legendary Rock band Queen, who asked him in 2011 to collaborate and take on lead vocals fronting the band. Touring with Queen still, currently, Lambert is now not only a respected solo artist, but part of Rock-n-Roll history.
Now in 2016, his popularity still grows following the release of chart-topping Warner Bros release The Original High in June of 2015. As busy as ever, recording his own music, touring the world with Queen, plus more, Lambert kicked off his The Original High Tour in late 2015. Visiting Asia and Oceania regions of the world through January, Lambert returned home to the USA in February for a lengthy tour that will lead him into April, hitting cities coast to coast. Fortunately for Long Islanders, Lambert would begin the American tour on Tuesday, February 23rd, at Huntington, New York’s very own The Paramount. Greeted by a packed house of diverse ages and backgrounds, opening night was one that would set the standard for the shows to follow.
To get the crowd warmed up, prior to Lambert’s set, was R&B, Soul, and Pop Singer and Actor Alex Newell. Newell is best known as starring in Glee as Wade “Unique” Adams, a transgendered student who expresses her female identity through music in one episode during season three, and by season five was a full time cast member. Newell’s outstanding vocal range and style catapulted themselves into the spotlight as a full blown powerhouse. In addition, Newell has added vocals on songs for Blonde, The Knocks, and Clean Bandit. Now Newell supports the debut EP POWER, released a few days prior to this show at The Paramount.
With a drummer and keyboard player as backup, Newell took the stage with a great big grin, a colorful shirt, white pants, black heels, and long black hair pulled back in a pony tail. From the moment Newell began, there was a warm, yet confident vibe that was conveyed to the audience. Performing a mix of music ranging from Dance Pop to ballads, through it all, Newell was constantly addressing the audience before and after songs, regarding tough times and having fun. Performing songs such as “Nobdy to Love” and “This Ain’t Over,” Newell projected an amazingly gifted voice that could be put in the category of Mariah Carey or the late, great Whitney Houston. Overall, Newell embodies a seasoned performer’s stage presence and sound which will lead to a bright future for the singer.
Prior to Lambert’ set, all eyes were scanning the layout of the stage. All risers with instruments were closer to the back, the drums were on the left, Lambert’s microphone was in the middle, and keyboards were on the right. As a backdrop, there was a huge screen with the new albums logo in shapes and symbols in black and white. A eye-catching layout, as the lights went down, the crowd went wild with screams of excitement as the show was about to start. Two backup singers/dancers, Terrance Spencer and Holly Hyman, came out to stand on each side of the stage at their microphones. The rest of the band, Brook Alexander (drums) and Pete Dyer (keyboards), entered and went to their spots while Adam Ross (guitar) and Darwin Johnson stood next to Lambert’s riser.
As Lambert entered, he wore a futuristic black and gold tunic outfit with black boots. His hair was frosted on top with his trademark black hair still seen underneath. Wearing gloves that had metal accents in the knuckle area, he and everyone in the band were still, until the music started and they went into “Evil is the Night.” Showing off his wide vocal range and character, Lambert would move off the riser at one point as his microphone stand turned white and the crowd was going wild. He followed with “For your Entertainment” with vocals that were spot-on, hitting the high notes with ease as he started dancing with backup singers to a precise choreographed routine to the uptempo song.
As the stage went black, Lambert took the center as Ross came out, starting to strum an acoustic beginning of the hauntingly personal ballad “Ghost Town.” Transforming into a Dance song, Spencer and Hyman provided ballerina like dancing, adding to the richness of the performance accompanying Lambert’s singing. Thereafter came a breakdown performance of three of Lambert’s songs, “Runnin/Chokehold/Sleepwalker,” providing the crowd with an entertaining performance coinciding with Lambert’s never-wavering vocals. His microphone stand turned white again for “Underground” as the backdrop changed to red symbols and red strobe, lighting the stage. Toward the midway point of the song, Lambert danced freely as the stage turned black and white.
Down tempoed, yet emotional, “Rumors” started as the backdrop turned white with writing on it. Lamber worked the stage, walking to both sides and provided some R&B dance moves. Then, Lambert launched into his fan-favorite song, “Whataya Want From Me,” to an positive reaction. A big sing-along for the night, with the words, “I’m afraid, but thanks for loving me because you’re doing it perfectly,” Lambert gestured to the audience and gave a great big smile as the crowd screamed. The next song, off The Original High, “Lucy” provided a provocative performance from Hyman dancing alongside Lambert. It fit in nicely to the theme of the song and Lambert’s astounding vocals. As the track continued, Ross provided an amazing solo with Lambert exiting the stage. Giving his guitarist a chance to shine, Lambert re-emerged in a white suit with light pink and green patterns up and down the sides. While the red and blue beams glimmered, Lambert began singing “After Hours” with an R&B/Pop tempo and sexy vocals.
At this point, the show became more personal when Lambert addressed the crowd, welcoming them to the first night on the tour and promising to take them on an emotional trip. Stating he was born in California, but his family is from the East Coast, he let the crowd know it felt good to start the tour here. Then he went into the Tears for Fears cover “Mad World,” the song he performed on American Idol that made him a household name. Singing the ballad accompanied by an acoustic guitar, keys, bass, and steady drum beat, Lambert showed off to the crowd his vulnerable side with an emotional vocal performance. Lambert continued his emotional portion of the set with an acoustic version of “Things I Didn’t Say.” Overtaken by the moment, the song concluded as Lambert wiped his eyes, having shed a tear, showing the audience his softer side. Lambert thanked the crowd after the song then entered into “Another Lonely Night,” which turned into an upbeat song with the band playing on while he exited once more.
Moving the show along, “Kickin It” had some dancing to the music as purple, yellow, and green lights lit up the stage. Then an electronic sounding keyboard started playing as Spencer and Hyman came out at different times, dressed in respective neon colored outfits, for the three song break down of “The Light/The Original High/Never Close Your Eyes.” Here, Lambert was dressed in neon colored baggy jacket and cut off jeans with black platform sneakers and a chain around his neck. Eye-catching, Lambert broke out and began singing the late legend David Bowie song “Let’s Dance” as the audience grooved and sang along. Lambert’s ability to sing almost any genre of music by numerous artists is a gift that is truly amazing to watch. Having everyone extremely excited, Lambert kicked into his next song, “Lay Me Down,” a collaborated effort written by Avicii, Ash Pournouri, Nile Rodgers, and Lambert. Strutting around, full of confidence, the stage show continued to be extraordinary.
Still plenty left to offer his fans, Lambert went into “Shady” and “Fever,” two upbeat songs that gave him a chance to ask the crowd if they were having fun before he pridefully introduced his band. Winding down the set, “These Boys” had a more sexual vibe as Lambert had his hand to his ear, wanting to hear the crowd scream louder. Then, with little time to catch their breath, the finale came with “If I Had You,” which had everyone, from the top level of the venue to the floor, dancing along and Lambert was in his glory. Seeming as if the night was over, the stage had The Original High backdrop up as the fans eagerly waited for an encore. When Lambert returned, he sang “Trespassing,” standing on the riser with the dancers as he ended the set with Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust,” and the room erupted as Lambert showed his amazing diversity.
In true Lambert form, his stage show and vocals were simply a perfect combination. There is a reason Lambert has succeed in the music industry, having one of the most vast ranging voices and entertaining stage persona. From Newell starting the show until the end of Lambert’s set, the whole beginning of The Original High Tour felt like it was a well-oiled machine that had every note and move perfected. Lambert’s charismatic persona and vocal ability connected with the crowd, bringing an energy to The Paramount that could be felt all through the night. The Original High Tour US leg will end April 2nd in Los Angeles, CA before he and his band head to Europe, so get out and see the show before it is too late.