Adam is Naked and he’s Far from Home

Nearly a year ago, the remaining members of Queen plus Adam Lambert had a press conference to announce a tour of North America. Brian May made a point then that he would make multiple times in months to come – these concerts would be “live and dangerous.”

These days, concerts can be very “safe.” Everything is on a track, from the background to the vocals. They can be the equivalent of a dance, where they just play at being singers or musicians. I’m pretty sure this varies from act to act, some using more, some using less but all using some. Adam used a backing track during his Glam Nation Tour, for example, other than for his acoustic set and his encores. And even if we can’t hear it, most use a “click track” in their ear monitors, just to stay on beat. It’s much safer this way. You get to deliver a show that is basically the same each night, although there might be some room to play, and you reduce the chance of a mistake. Fans are paying to see a good show, after all, not one off-key and full of flubs.

Queen doesn’t play like that. The only beat comes from Roger Taylor’s precisely tuned drum set, it’s Brian’s guitar right here and now that floods the stadium, and Adam’s hall mark is vocal control. And all of them, plus the other members of the band, are consummate professionals who know how to handle the occasional mistake with grace. And all love to play with the material.

But the moment where it all crystallizes, at least for me, is when Adam sings “Save Me” in the third act. This is a new addition for the UK/European tour, and it’s very powerful, especially as a lead-in to “Who Wants to Live Forever.”

But what makes it that way is that Adam sings the first few lines a cappella. He stands on the top of a staircase that angles up from the stage to over the audience, all alone under a spot light. Just him, his voice and a microphone. There are no drums to keep him on beat; no instruments to keep him on key; no backing voices to hide any vocal mistakes. There’s nowhere to hide. He’s vulnerable, off balance. To quote the song, he is naked and he’s far from home.

The music does come on, he makes his way down to the stage where Brian sits with his guitar, but he also sings the final soaring notes alone with just his voice. Filling the stadium with just his voice. Flawlessly and effortlessly, something no one else does. And still vulnerable in all the love and glory with which we clothe him.

I don’t know if he’ll sing this song this way the whole tour – that’s the beauty of live and dangerous. Things can change. But I’m very glad he’s doing this song this way, demonstrating just how courageous they all are.

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About mamadeb

I'm a devoted fan of Adam Lambert, but also of cooking, knitting, science fiction and pretty anything pop culture. I'm @_mamadeb on Twitter.
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13 Responses to Adam is Naked and he’s Far from Home

  1. SusanSporran says:

    I agree completely. Whether Save Me is a favorite song of the listener or not (it wasn’t one of my favorites until I heard Adam sing it) his performance is a master class in vocal technique combined with emotion. Because technique without the emotion is pleasant, but with emotion it is unbeatable and completely draws the listener in. That is something else he brings to the table besides the danger of standing on those stairs naked and far from home, it is that he let’s us see and feel what that must be like. I will never tire of his performances, and always try to get to as many of them as possible because it is NEVER the same show twice.

    • SweetfourGlambert (Lynda) says:

      Awesome comment. I feel the same and have…. for six years of Adam !!

    • ggK says:

      Susan, perfect response to a very sharp post. “Save Me” grabs me on a very deep level. The way Adam performs it is almost too beautiful to take. He is a courageous soul.

  2. Calista says:

    Amen! Adan is an amazing, fearless vocalist. He takes my breath away.

  3. idahophoenix says:

    Thanks for this. I’m unable to get to any of this concerts and really appreciate reviews. I haven’t watched this new leg of the tour and will now rush to find him singing this. I love Adam acapella and I hope that there will be much playfulness and experimentation as this is where the magic and the screwball happen.

  4. Lisa Walker says:

    love this, yes, great points. my unpopular opinion is I dont care for the song much, I like Freddie’ version only because of the strength of his voice on the chorus, basically screaming in pain those words. But its grown on me (of course the Adam effect) and I do see now that Adam’s delivery is also illustrating the sadness of the song, his voice being naked and alone, vulnerable. I adore all of Adam’s styles, his camp & OTT and wails but truth be told there is no beauty in the world more than his soft, emotional, vulnerable voice.

  5. Lisa Walker says:

    PS most excellent title

  6. KateLS says:

    Superb review and though I have only seen this song performed on video, Adam has totally ensnared me with performing this song. It has always been one of my favorite tracks that Queen has recorded, but Adam sings it with so much emotion. The first time I heard him sing it, tears ran down my face. I am so happy for all of them, that Adam has been so well received and that Brian & Roger have been infused with new energy. It’s truly a joy to see. When I say them in Vegas, Adam performed “Love Kills” and his vocals were stellar.

  7. marisa965 says:

    Thank you so much for your words. I’m crying as I type this. You’re so right: what Adam brings to this song, apart from his gfg voice, is his vulnerability. All the words are sung in the most delicate way, like he’s really in that place, so confused and lost, so in need of help. It’s so powerful and tender, it melts your heart. Again, thanks for putting this into words so beautifully.

  8. noskerdycat says:

    beautifully written and needed to be said!

  9. Summer says:

    No surprise to the Glamily. We have traveled the world the past 6 years for Any chance to hear Adam Lambert sing LIVE to us. To hear his Otherworldly Phenomenal Vocals LIVE is a Spiritual experience. He has always sang live without ” Help”! He is uninhibited and creative on stage, ALWAYS changing the song, So he doesn’t use back tracks. It wouldn’t work with him. Adam also ALWAYS sounds a million times better without back up singers. He tried it on his last tour and we didn’t like it..WE want to hear Adams Pure Powerful Beautiful Melodic Voice on its own. Anything else gets in the way of his beautiful voice. I’m happy Brian and Roger were determined to expose Adams Extraordinary Voice with the rest of the world…A gift to Adam and our Glamily and something his last Label RCA failed big time at doing. It doesn’t matter now because the world is finally being blessed to see and hear Adam Live and Dangerous!

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