Musings of an Adam Lambert Enthusiast


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An Introduction to Give Us Chills - Adam Returns to the Tonight Show
Last night, Adam Lambert finally, finally returned to the television scene, specifically, "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno", to introduce the world to his new single, "Better Than I Know Myself".

For Glamberts everywhere, it was so eagerly anticipated we were practically vibrating out of our skin with excitement. We'd been waiting on tenderhooks to hear Adam sing the song live, not just because we wanted to hear that stunningly beautiful tenor at work, but with over a year gone by since Glam Nation, broken up by the occasional and not-nearly-enough performance of "Aftermath" on television and two big shows in Russia and Canada, the withdrawl has been powerful.

Not to mention that 1. Leno loves Adam ("safe-plucking" interview, anyone?), 2. Adam always sounds fantastic on his stage (remember "Sleepwalker"?), and 3. even the fans a little more skeptical of BTIKM have been dying to hear Adam play with the song and throw his own flair on it - and no doubt he would.

I have the performance on repeat as I write this. It's playing in the background again and again, driving me to feel and try to put into words exactly what's going through my mind as I listen to his voice resonate and crescendo and hold and make me shiver like it always has and no doubt always will.

I've said it so many times that my thesaurus no longer has words to help me convey my feelings without sounding like a broken record - the man never, ever fails to move me beyond speech and printed text.

First of all - superficial as this might be, but c'mon, it's Adam Lambert - could he have looked any better? Seriously, people, the man looks perfect. Healthy, natural, young, and stunning. A simple black suit, white shirt, just two rings, and those black boots/shoes/whatever they are that he wore to the Grammys last February, his hair up and frosted at the tips, and no makeup. Handsome, elegant and simply dazzling.

Now, the performance. When I wrote my review of the song last month, I predicted that hearing him sing it live would blow our minds. Through repeated listenings I realized that the verses of the song, and even the chorus, is in a strange key. I don't know if that's the right word - my ignorance of musical terminology is showing - but what I mean is that singing the song exactly on those notes is difficult. It's a weird place for a voice to be, seemingly fragile and in my opinion, very easy to fall flat or strike sharp. Thus, I realized that while it might sound good live, it would probably be difficult to pull off live under the nervousness and excitement of performing, getting a handle on the proper breathing techniques regardless of how easily it comes to him, and, quite simply, singing it in front of a studio audience for the first time.

Maybe that's why, when I listened to him sing as the episode aired last night, the lower register of the verses threw me off. My immediate reaction was nervousness for him, because I thought to myself that this was going to go either way. Plus, he did seem a bit nervous at first, which certainly doesn't help. Now I hear the timbre, the vibrato, and the control he had over the notes. As always, he knew exactly what he was doing. When oh when will I ever learn to place complete trust in him and his instincts?

This performance, my friends, is spectactular. Regardless of what your opinion of the song is, whether love or uncertainty or downright disappointment, Adam made us forget it and focus on the most important thing in the song - his voice. He sounded fantastic, strong, in control. We got to hear the lower range of his voice, a treat we don't get enough of sometimes, and it drew us into him and under his spell the same as it always does.

The break is beautiful. Adam's voice is tender and vulnerable, the expression on his face matching. And I love that the synth beats paused and the piano sound slowed and quieted during the second half of it, making the song seem more intimate, more tender, more like a view into Adam's soul. It was a pleasant change from the recorded version. It made that part of the song seem slower, less rushed, like the words here are too important to be rushed and the message needs to be mulled over a few times before it picks up again.

And the ending... the ending. Chills prickling up and down my spine. I knew he'd change it up, he'd have to! He's Adam Lambert, the guy who performed eleven songs over 100 different ways on his Glam Nation tour. I was so eager to see how he'd play with the ending and he absolutely did not disappoint. Any nervousness he might have had at the beginning was completely gone; he was in his element, the one he's wrangled expertly since we saw him on the Idol stage. He let his voice rise, let the power swell, improvised expertly, took it up and down and gave us something to make our jaws drop like they always do. He was perfect, absolutely perfect. I could have cried with how happy I was over the ending.

It was a perfect introduction of the song to the world, one that is ready to be relived again and again. I absolutely cannot wait to be in the audience one day when he sings his heart out on the stage.

Side Note: The band looked and sounded fantastic. Seeing Tommy Joe on lead guitar was a pleasant change, and his solo at the end sounded great with the music and Adam's voice. (It's there, really. Go back and listen to the last chorus. It's mellow and subdued but I really like the way it sounded.) I love the sound Isaac brought to the song with the drums and cymbals, a slight rock vibe thrown in. Ashley and Kevin are great fits visually, vocally, and musically, and they fit in like they'd always been there.


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