Dig if you will the picture…
A steamy, packed room of 1500 people pressed close together, singing, dancing, screaming. Stripping down as it gets hotter. On stage, an unbearably handsome singer, framed by two gorgeous dancers, playing music with an insistent, irresistible dance beat. Effortlessly hitting notes that don’t seem humanely possible, moving sensually, singing lyrics of want and desire. Keep me on a leash tonight. Lay me down in darkness. My one and own, I want to get you alone.
Sexiest. Concert. Ever.
Standing rooms shows… I didn’t even know they were still a thing until this Adam Lambert Original High tour. For some reason he did no Canadian dates, and every venue I considered travelling to had no assigned seating / standing room. I hadn’t been to that type of show in decades.
It’s not my favourite thing, I gotta say. If the entry is well-managed and the fans reasonable, they can be alright, even fun. But if not, they are a squishy, scary, unpleasant nightmare.
So when VIP “early entry” tickets when on sale, I was willing to quadruple my concert ticket costs for a chance to be among the first group to get in without having to wait in line.
The slightly nerve-wracking thing is you don’t get details of how exactly that’s going to work until you get an email “24 to 48 hours before your event”. It did nothing for my stress level that said email actually arrived more like 23 hours before my event.
VIPing: What we had to do was rudely walk past the people who’d been lining up all day, and head into the box office area ahead of them. There we were divided into two groups: Those who increased their ticket costs even more, such that they could also meet Adam Lambert before the show (those ladies were giddy), and those of us who just didn’t want to wait in line.
As that group went off for their pictures, we were allowed to enter the venue—warned to not run, push, or pass one another. “There’s no need anyway,” the coordinator said. “Because you’re all going to be in the front row.”
Huh? It actually hadn’t dawned on me to that point that we were small enough in number that indeed, we would be in the front row. (There were more “meet and greet” people, actually, and some of them ended up in the second row!)
But for me (and Jean), there was to be no visual obstruction whatsoever all night long. And we had a barrier to lean on. And it was less hot because of the lack of sticky bodies in front of us. It was awesome!
The opening act, who started promptly at 8:00, were a German band named Eveline, led by an attractive blonde woman singer. They were pretty good—pop, dance style, good singer. She did all her speaking in German, and all her singing in English.
They finished around 8:30, and then we had a wait somewhere in neighbourhood of 45, 50 minutes, which got kind of long, really.
But right from the opening chords, all was forgiven.
For the benefit of those not steeped in all things Lambert:
- Yes, he has a full band—guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. And two dancers / backup singers. And a pretty awesome light show.
- Though he does a few covers, the focus is squarely on “his” music, from his three albums.
- The show is in three parts: The “darker” songs, the ballads, and the dance party. He wears a different outfit for each.
This tour’s been going on for a while now, so the band was tight. They seemed to really be having a good time this night—it was all very high energy, and the pacing seemed perfect. I honestly enjoyed the whole show, but I’ll note some particular highlights.
As I’ve already said, I had a great, close view of the stage all night, but I wasn’t right in the centre. Fortunately, Adam was kind of enough to regularly stroll (or dance) over to my end of the stage and stand right in front of me. He first did so at the beginning of Ghost Town. Lordy, he’s attractive in person. Every time he came near I was particularly mesmerized by those gorgeous, greenish eyes.
For the purposes of maybe getting surprised, or at least avoiding disappointment, I had somewhat backed off on paying as much attention to Adam’s shows that preceded my own. However, I still caught the fact that in Hamburg, the show two days before Berlin, they had omitted the medley that included the song Runnin’.
There’s no reason to expect him to play Runnin’. It was never a single—heck, it was never even a regular album track, but just a bonus on the deluxe edition of his second album. Nevertheless, it’s such a fantastic song, it’s been discovered, just racking up the YouTube views, despite its not obviously not having a proper video accompaniment.
So I was very relieved that it made its return to the set in Berlin:
Lucy, by contrast, is not one of my favourite Adam Lambert song, Brian May (Queen)’s presence on guitar notwithstanding. It’s the lyrics I don’t care for, mainly, as they come across as bit male judgmental about the titular Lucy. (Now, I’m in no way suggesting that Adam is sexist. Only that this song is. A bit.)
As done live, though, it was saved for me by the dance moves. No, not Adam’s, but Holly Hyman’s, whose interpretation read, to me, as really powerful and defiant. She actually made me like the song for the first time. Which is cool.
And at the end of it, Adam did this, while standing right in front of me.
Adam is not overly chatty in concert, preferring to letting his singing do the talking. Still, we got a “Hello Berlin” pretty early on, following the tidbit I didn’t know, that he had lived in Berlin for three months. “It wasn’t long, but it gave me a taste.
“And it tasted nasty.”
In the ballad portion of the evening, we got the longest talking sequence. Adam’s message here is that we should try focusing more on our commonalities than differences. “There’s one thing that everyone in this audience all has in common.” Pause. “ME!” Hee!
Now seems a good time to address what you might be wondering: Given our excellent sight lines, why am I cribbing pictures from other folks instead of featuring wonderful, original Jean photography?
That would be because security took away our camera. Which was very frustrating, as there had been no advance warning that a small camera would be an issue. Even more frustrating? They didn’t seem to take away anybody else’s camera! (Do Germans just like to pick on Canadians?) As my budget cell phone was useless for taking photos, we have none. Which still irritates me every time I think about it.
That said… When you are attending the Sexiest Concert Ever with your sweetie, it’s actually not a terrible thing that his hands and face are free… To fondle something other than a camera…
Ahem. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Adam’s vocals are a thing of wonder: this is not a singer who backs away from the high notes while live. And no auto-tune, either. And the terrific The Original High was quite the showcase for that. He Sings So High in this song.
I also found out later we were very lucky to have David Bowie’s Let’s Dance included in the set, as that’s another number they haven’t been doing so much lately. It was a terrific version. That then led into the super-hot trio of dance songs, “Lay Me Down”, “Shady”, and “Fever”. We especially enjoyed dancer Terrance Spencer’s moves during this sequence.
The audience by now was a sweaty, frenzied mess, but the band wasn’t done with us. They launched into “If I Had You,”—not the weird, reggae version presented earlier on the tour, but the irresistible original. The entire place was hopping to it in unison! So fun!
The encore was Trespassing, which happens to be a favourite of both mine and Jean’s. And got some more talking, including Adam presenting his lucky glitter mushroom (???).
“Want to hear some Queen?” he asked, and on the affirmative, we got some “Another One Bites the Dust”. And a crazy-notes Adam Lambert singalong. (“Some of you are acting too cool to sing. I see you!”) And he concluded with more “Trespassing.”
And what did Jean think? Jean… Actually had a really good time! He’s a people watcher, and he found Adam’s audience mix fascinating. He enjoyed watching me and the other adult woman around regress into teenagers. And he got into it. He danced a bit. He snapped his fingers. He pretended to sing so Adam wouldn’t pick on him.
(But for the record, he still prefers the Queen + Adam Lambert show, because that’s more his music. And also, we had seats for that one.)
Anger / Darkness
- Evil in the Night
- For Your Entertainment
- Ghost Town
- Welcome to the Show
Love and longing
- After Hours
- Mad World
- Whataya Want from Me
- Another Lonely Night
- The Light
- The Original High
- Never Close Our Eyes
- Let’s Dance
- Lay Me Down
- If I Had You
- Another One Bites the Dust
- Trespassing (Reprise)
I can’t think of a way they could have improved it.
Included a number of uber-fans I actually recognized from their tweets and blogs. And whether uber or not, it was very striking how everyone could and did sing along, with every song, not just “the hits.” They basically screamed instead of clapped to show appreciation. Lively, lively. Only lose + due to some veteran meet and greeters who (I heard) were overly stoic in the front row, which is just a waste. (This did not seem a problem with our VIP half.)
VIP experience: A
Very well-organized check-in and admission procedure, and made this such a great experience for me. Even the included merchandise was better than I expected: Quite a nice poster, and I hadn’t realized it would be signed! (Not that we need two, but…)
They only lose their + for the latish email that basically had the wrong time: It said to be there for 7:00, which made no sense, since that was general admission time. Fortunately, everyone figured that out and was there for the actual required time, between 6:15 and 6:30. Still…
Venue – Huxleys Neue Welt: D.
Apart from my camera problems, I later read on Twitter that this place didn’t have a scanner for electronic tickets! Meaning that anyone with those (like me) had to get out of the line they had likely been standing in for hours to go to an office and switch their eTicket for a “real” ticket. What the…? I also heard they weren’t very good at managing the general admission entry, which can be nightmarish, and I saw the security was really aggressive about removing items like balloons and glow sticks—even though fans had asked in advance and been assured those were fine!
So, I’d definitely see Adam Lambert in concert again, but never at Huxleys.
My compiled Original High Berlin YouTube playlist
A footnote about my feet
So before I knew I’d have VIP, I was trying to figure out how to improve my chances of actually seeing something at this show despite being short, and finally concluded that only shoes with wedge heels would work. So I got these:
Which added, like, 3 inches to my height. Not realizing I’d be ending up in the front row, I wore them.
So I can tell you that for 5.5 hours of straight standing, those suckers were surprisingly comfortable. And though not needed in the front row, they were kind of handy for looking over people’s head at the merchandise table after.
However… During the short walk to the train station, my feet basically had a nervous breakdown. I felt like I would die if I didn’t get them off my feet. Thankfully, the train station wasn’t far, it had a bench, and I was able to find a seat on the train. So I survived the journey back to the hotel room.
So if you try the wedge shoe approach to seeing something at standing room concerts, remember: To survive, you will have to get off your feet every five hours or so. You’re welcome.