I will remember this night to the best of my ability for all of us to share. As any Adam fan knows, events and emotions all intertwine into one experience, the real and surreal combined. The Queen + Adam Lambert concert at the Hammersmith Apollo moved me beyond expectation. All I know for certain is that it happened, and it has made a profound impression on my life, perhaps a new sense of peaceful awareness. When Queen rescheduled for Hammersmith Apollo on a date that would not require me to alter my flight plans from the former Sonisphere schedule, I knew everything would be all right. I didn’t know it would be so, so much better than just all right. No one ever anticipates magic. By definition, it just happens when you’re unaware.
When we left for the venue, I remember looking at my feet a lot. The view out the window was familiar and no longer important. The sightseeing part of my beloved London journey was over. I needed a moment of introspection, contemplating where my feet had carried me and where they were about to lead me next, not to mention wondering if I’d actually chosen the right shoes for the occasion. After all, Adam would be leading the way, and from previous experience I knew the drill: walking, standing, jumping, dancing all absolute requirements that don’t even cover the demands on a fan’s emotions. My friends and I had been practicing our Radio Gaga claps, and I knew of course, that my arms would want to reach and my eyes would undoubtedly weep. There really isn’t a proper wardrobe for the naked love Adam brings to us. We embark on a path toward hot mess no matter what our original intentions may have been. On the way to the Apollo, I was still in real-life mode thinking about time and space and my shoes. I had forgotten that once Adam Lambert takes the stage, all you ever really need are your eyes and ears.
Once we arrived and took our spot in the queue, umbrellas popped out as the sun tucked away. There was a pattern of rain and shine over the next couple of hours while we waited that foreshadowed the rollercoaster of emotions I was about to feel inside. My friends @Cattituude @carrbert and I visited with fellow Adam fans @zambiaglambert @nosilvernogold @islandgirljams @baking4fun @Magi_Cal @Mercury150 and @ladistardust. I met some new Queen fans as well. The energy was relaxed but with an underlying current of electricity every time the yellow-shirted security passed by. Very soon, it would begin.
Finally, the doors opened, and we were drawn in. I had my admission bracelet and my ticket. I was ready. In the dark, I flung myself toward the light of the big, blue Queen-crested banner. I glued myself to a spot just right of center and planted my feet. I was there. It was so nice to get acquainted with everyone. I looked around and saw many faces I recognized nearby. Thankfully, @Cattituude and @carrbert were on my right, and we struck up conversations with those around us, all eager to share this experience not only with native Brits, but also with Argentineans, Asians, and fellow Americans alike. I think I also heard German behind me. The man on my left was a Scotsman (handsome, bald, glasses). He was an interior designer with a hobby of studying United States’ capitals. He had a tattoo of Freddie on the yoke of his neck, a tattoo of the Red Special on his right thumb, and a tattoo of the first few bars of “Love of My Life” on his left forearm. I guessed, of course, he was a hardcore Queen fan. He had brought his wife and daughter. Coincidentally, his mum and I share the same first name. After five minutes we were no longer strangers. He was a huge rock fan with a mad love for Memphis, TN. I speak of him in detail, specifically because he represents for me the majority of Queen fans / seasoned, loyal and hopeful. He had seen Queen numerous times with and without Freddie. He explained to me quite seriously that Freddie intended for all of us to make fists at the end of our Radio Gaga claps, not open-handed waves. I promised I’d do it right. He shared with me that he had watched the livestream from Kiev, and although he enjoyed it, he was still a little skeptical of Adam. He felt he might be too similar to George Michael for his taste. I simply said he would know for sure once he heard Adam sing live. He agreed. I would have liked to talk to him after the show, but we departed via opposite doors. I’m guessing he was very much one of us, a blitzed out concert junky riding a high by then. Truly, I’ve never been to a concert not even the Glam Nation Tour where everyone was so polite and kind to one another . . . excited, not hostile / borderline huggable. It seems that no matter the situation, Adam creates an environment of admiration, even with the staff. The photographers had gathered in the pit along with security guards who filled plastic cups with water. The cups were for us, I found out later when desperate for a drink. I had no idea they would be so considerate. I thought, “I have Adam, and I have water. I need nothing else.” One of the camera men had worked with Adam before and commented how professional he is, how easy he is to photograph . . . knows what he’s doing. Yes, I agreed Adam certainly does know what he's doing.
The show was late to start. The anticipation was palpable. When the stage lights finally flashed on, we were teased with Flash Gordon! Suddenly the curtain came up with a flourish like a ship’s sail, and it was almost as if someone had blasted us with wind from the sea. My chest literally expanded to take it in, and all of us filled the atmosphere with a cacophony of joyous noise. The first thing I noticed was Adam’s silhouette, unmistakably formidable and grand, as you know. The spotlights were dim in comparison to Adam’s smile when he beheld the audience and felt our welcoming energy. He continued to absorb the delight, the awe, and especially the love all night then gave it back to us tenfold. He sauntered down the catwalk often and met our eyes BAM BAM BAM! lethal intensity (Another One Bites the Dust) all throughout the crowd. I saw the saliva drip from his lips and sweat fly from his hair. I saw the freckles on his arms, the pulsing vein in his neck, and every seam of his legendary leather pants right down to sparkly blue toenails. I marveled how proportionately perfect his whole body is, sculpted by length and breadth according to some cosmic specification of symmetry. Adam’s physical beauty is truly otherworldly. It just has to be stated over and over again.
Beyond the visual wonder, the music was astounding! Adam said it best, Queen is rock royalty. For me, Queen is the mother of modern stadium rock, and Adam is her prince. He belonged. They were complete. I can honestly say, I am a bigger Queen fan than I was before. I liked them . . . now I love them. That being said, I have no favorites. The entire setlist was perfect as a whole. Adam was flawless, every phrase / every snap, clap, and spin was somehow both precise and natural, totally mesmerizing. He was ON! He tossed his head and stomped his feet on the beat. For each and every bar, Adam was the song. I’ll try to explain it. Somehow when Adam opens his mouth, you realize that his face is like the bell of an instrument, that the sound coming out resonates from deep inside the core of his body. I think he covers himself head to toe in clothing to hide the fact that his torso is covered with valves and keys or strings or something. Adam was tailor-made to be a vessel of sound, an organic mechanism of music . . . magic.
Now, I must get on with the show. It is difficult to respond to the performances independently because they were so cohesive in the delivery. The best I can do is divide the night into three units, the first and third sets with Adam on either side of Brian and Roger’s middle portion.
The first set was like an arrival. The ship landed. Superior beings emerged and proceeded to claim us as their minions. We went gladly, without resistance. Their authority was immediately convincing with the help of Adam’s spiked jacket! I felt gripped by the shoulders, under their command. I waved my arms and pumped my fists at Adam’s whim, and when he pointed his finger at us and said, “You know the words, SING!” . . . I SANG! And when he said, “Repeat after me!” I echoed back! The man in charge will not be denied! Twirl in a circle, stand on your head, . . . Mother, may I?! Just say the word, Adam. He owned us.
The second set was a gift from the Queen catalog, some songs I had not known before. These men are truly genius, and bless them for making me want to sing along. Roger is a beast with sticks and shares a melody like a troubadour. Brian serenaded us so sweetly like a long lost lover come home. He is quite a wizard on guitar, and I was transported during his solos. Just when I had settled in, caught my breath, Freddie, our beloved, appeared on the screen, and every fiber of my being clenched in anguish. The entire audience cheered in the most melancholy of ways. (Love of our lives) God how we adored him! It warms my heart that from start to finish, Adam was in good hands not only on stage but also it seemed, from the great beyond. When Adam was on stage, Brian and Roger were generous with their not-so-subtle praise and gentle looks of encouragement. The magnetism among these three men makes it impossible for them not to touch. It isn't even a viable possibility in my mind that this collaboration is over. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
The third set was a coronation party. Once we had accepted them as lord and masters, the Royals threw us a feast with courses of joy, love, sex, and bravado. It suddenly occurred to me why Adam asks us if we’re having fun, if we’re feelin’ good. He means aren’t we grateful to be under his spell? Aren’t we glad we’ve lost our minds? The answer is an unequivocal YES! Thank you very much, Adam! I can exist without good sense as long as you continue to sing to me. That’s the bargain, and we all shook on it . . . not hands, we shook our asses on it. No one could stand still.
Of course, there were stand out moments for me as there were for everyone. Each of us had our own unique thrills. I think I can narrow the list to three distinct events that were especially significant for me because those were the times I felt Adam’s trust the strongest. These episodes of complete faith were Who Wants to Live Forever, Dragon Attack, and I Want to Break Free. You might find those surprising choices, so I must explain further.
I could write an entire opus about Who Wants to Live Forever, but it would still lack the necessary depth of emotion I felt over that performance. Adam poured his soul onto the floor. He opened up, and we saw inside of him the hope and angst that makes him the artist he has become. “This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.” I happen to be having philosophical issues with permanency at this point in my life, especially captivated by transient art. Adam had my heart in his hand. I remember tears and trembling, and I think I made noises. Where I stood, Adam was lit from behind, yet his eyes glittered even in the dark. There was a pause, an appeal to the audience who begged him to continue. My Scotsman companion, exchanged a long, reverent look with his wife. He was all in. I’m used to the sound of females flailing over Adam, but to hear grown men gasp was new . . . one more notch toward ultimate emotional ruin for me. Who Wants to Live Forever was exquisite, and I’ll leave it at that.
Dragon Attack was a total embracing of self. Adam is a strutting, red-feathered cock of a man with slinky hips and plenty of talent, and he is trespassing unapologetically right under your nose and into your fandom and f**k you if you don’t want some of this! “Take me to the room where the black’s all white, and the white’s all black . . .” Screw the gray area, Adam vibrated with confidence. Beneath the squeals and catcalls was an almost audible, anxious drone of women and men too, reminding themselves by cautious mantra, “It’s okay. I’m all right.” What else can you do but get turned on when attraction loses its gender and transforms before your eyes into the very epitome of raw sex? “He don’t take no prisoners / Gonna give me the business.” I tell you, the entire auditorium craned their necks to see every last inch of Adam strolling off the stage. Yes, Sir Adam, you left us panting like a dragon on your back. Thank god for the bass solo so we could mellow out in the afterglow. I was beckoning fervently for the waterboys.
I was also touched unexpectedly by I Want to Break Free. Once again, this song marked another arrival in the course of the night after a costume change. Adam beamed under the lights like a hothouse flower. Nobody does happy like Adam does. Of course, Adam’s fallen in love with a very special someone. Everyone wants "Somebody to Love" but there was more to it. He seems to have fallen in love with his life right now. He pointed to us when he sang, “I can’t get over the way you love me like you do.” Adam is having a love affair with his career as well. He’s not only free from loneliness, he is also free from the confines of the mainstream industry. “You’re so self-satisfied, I don’t need you.” He believes he is going to make it even if he has to re-define what his stardom and celebrity entails. Maybe he won’t be radio’s boy, and maybe that’s okay. (Radio, blah blah) I think he might have arrived at a place of achievement where it doesn’t matter so much. I can’t read his mind, obviously! It was merely a feeling of balance and well-being that exuded from Adam during that song that made me believe all was right with his world and my world too. No other concert has left me in a better frame of mind.
Many of us lingered outside the venue long after they had cut the lights and bolted the doors. There were reluctant goodbyes and genuine glad to meet yous with @islandgirljams and @baking4fun before @Cattituude, @carrbert, and I bustled off to flail with @FlissyLyn and @Flyteness1 back at the hotel. I had time to think about what happened. During the slow exodus from the stage and crowded line at the merchandise counter, I overheard new fans lauding Adam a champion. They said the things all Adam fans have said that have told and retold his story from the beginning. “Who IS he? Where did he come from? What is that VOICE?” I decided to let them find out for themselves. The discovery of Adam Lambert has been an invaluable experience I wouldn’t want to spoil for anyone by gushing over them my personal influence. Ours is a uniquely singular fandom that for the most part encourages a variety of perspectives. Fresh thoughts not rooted in American Idol are welcome, I think. Perhaps the Queen gigs will be their launching pad as AI was for many of us. I treasure my awakening. I believe the similarity of all Adam’s fans will be that they can say of their first exposure to him, “I saw a man take the stage and blow me away.” We all at one point stopped dead in our tracks and looked up from our sensible shoes to break free, move forward. That being said, there was an amazing amount of epicness at this concert that would take pages and pages to describe, so I’m going to stop here and just let the rest soak in. My friend, @FlissyLyn explained to me how to leave a tip in the UK if it isn’t already included in your bill. You hand them the money with the tab then say, “and your own” so they know to take a bit for themselves. So, at this point, I’m going to give you this memory, limited as it is yet worth more to me than gold. I hope you’ll take with you what I’ve offered . . . and your own.