June 30, 2010 at 10:35 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Adam Lambert raises the roof

Even the Blade’s political reporter needs to cut loose every once in a while, which is why I was psyched to cover Adam Lambert’s concert in D.C. earlier this week.

The gay pop sensation — arguably the most successful and talented second-place winner on Fox’s “American Idol” — performed at D.C.’s 9:30 Club on Monday as part of his “Glam Nation” tour.

Lambert entered the stage in his usual over-the-top attire. Wearing a fearthered top hat and a long purple coat, he looked somewhat like a cross between a pimp and Abraham Lincoln.

Many of the songs from his latest album made up the performance, including “What Do You Want from Me?”, “Ring of Fire” and “If I Had You.” My personal favorite, “Fever,” a song was written by Lady Gaga, was among the songs he sang.

Lambert altered his attire throughout his performance to accord with the mood for his songs, although each outfit was stylish. By the end, he was wearing a sleeveless vest with black boots and sparkly pants — in my opinion, a very hot outfit.

Never one to shy away from controversy — even to the consternation of some conservatives — Lambert engaged in a little intimacy with a bandmate as part of his performance. As he sang “Fever,” he stroked his bass guitarist’s hair momentarily and gave him a smooch on the lips.

I was a little surprised that “For Your Entertainment,” the eponymous song from Lambert’s latest album, wasn’t included in his performance. Instead, just before Lambert came on stage, a recording of the track was played. It’s too bad because it’s one of my favorite songs and I would have liked to hear him perform it live.

The sold-out performance was packed with a diverse audience ranging from gay men, lesbians, punk rockers, pre-teens and soccer moms. It’s amazing that Lambert fans — sometimes referred to as “Glamberts” — make up so many different types of people.

Jeanni Centofanti, a former Blade staffer and lesbian D.C. resident, said she attended the concert because of Lambert’s transformational impact on the music scene.

“Adam is a fabulous spectacle and he’s bring back mainstream glamrock and goth in a way that hasn’t been done since the 1970’s,” she said.

His engagement with the crowd made the 9:30 club — a smaller venue enabling each person in the audience to be at least somewhat near the performer — an excellent venue.

“Washington D.C, what’s up people?” Lambert shouted at one point. “You’re a sexy fucking crowd tonight!”

Lambert added he was “distracted” from his singing “by all the pretty people” in the audience.

The crowd — singing along to the songs and dancing in the limited space available — ate up Lambert’s performance.

During “If I Had You,” one of the closing songs, Lambert asked the crowd to sing the chorus for him, which they gladly did at the top of their lungs.

In all, a rocking performance from Lambert that I thoroughly enjoyed along with all the Glamberts in attendance.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Appreciate you sharing the experience. Sounds like Adam is making going to his concert a blast!! Can’t wait till I get to go.

  • I was there! I loved the diverse DC crowd and I think Adam did too. It was an amazing night and no words can fully explain his show so, people must see him/the show to get the full affect. His fans are all very sweet and share a devotion to him so, you feel great meeting them. With all the negative things going on in the world today–surely this love fest with Adam is something we all should embrace. I felt a bond with everyone I met and that blew me away because it was unexpected. Adam..changing the world one concert at a time!

  • Great review! Ya….Adam is amazing…..in every way. I saw his show in Toronto recently and there were 10,000 crazy diverse fans there! He’s bringing the luv to everyone! :)

  • I just attended his Foxwoods show and have been watching lots of video of other performances along the tour. Fabulous and amazing every night with slight changes that make each concert unique. If you don’t have tickets yet, do what you can to get some! It’s worth it.

  • Nice review, except that “Ring of Fire” was not from Adam’s album. It was a special cover for the song by Johnny Cash.

  • Thanks! Appreciated your review. Sounds like Adam is bringing people together and that is pretty cool. I am enjoying his CD, but will do what I can to see him live.

  • Good review, you captured the atmosphere of the show very well, I saw it at a different venue which was not quite so intimate but it was still a great experience. I thought the structure of the show was very creative and loved the story telling aspect of it. Adam is certainly an entertainer and he is one of the very few artists who actualy sounds better live than recorded. I’m glad you mentioned the audience diversity, so much as been made about the middle aged lady Glamberts and they were there for sure but I also was pretty surprised by the diversity of the audience at my show too, aging from probably about 10 to what had to be close to 80! lots of teens lots of moms with the teens but goth chicks, tatooed dudes, preppy couples.

  • I liked your review very much Chris. You made me feel like I was there with you. I had the privlege to see Adam live the nite before at Ram’s Head. Adam exceeded all may expectations. He was astondingly gorgeous, charsmatic, vocally prestine, unblemished and clear as crystal. What surprised me even more was his dance moves & right in sync with his dancers. He gets better every show. Just another feather in his already full headress. The man does everything flawlessly. Adam kept it family friendly in Baltimore unfortuately maybe due to a full house of very young people. It amazes me how he tempers his songs to the audience. I’d loved to be at the DC show. Missed seeing him blow the roof off. Can’t wait to see him live once again.

  • Thanks, I can’t hear enough good things about this tour!
    I’ll be seeing Adam next Tuesday in Knoxville. Can’t wait.

  • I really enjoyed your review of Adam Lambert’s concert! I have been following the Glam Nation tour since it began and continue to read very positive accounts of a great time had by all! I get to go next week, and I can’t wait! Your review made me even more excited to see this fabulous performer LIVE!

  • Please stop refer Adam as the GAY pop singer. Adam once said he doesn’t want people as a gay guy they just want to be labeled as a singer. Please drop that GAY label it’s kind of offensive !

  • You forgot to mention all the international fans that traveled to see Adam from Japan, Malaysia, UK, Singapore :) The reviews for this show have been so good, I can’t wait to go. I am coming from Japan, too. I know it’s going to be worth the $2, 000 I’m spending. :) Adam!

  • Thank you Chris. What the world needs now is love and fortunately for all of us we have Adam Lambert concerts to go to and experience it. I love that his fans are so diverse. We all come together to hear his pitch perfect vocals and enjoy his colorful, glorius performances with his fierce band and dancers. His concerts are a rocking good time with his magic enveloping the entire audience. If you want to escape to a place of joy, happiness and a crazy good time take a trip to a Glamnation concert.

  • Finally, a journalist from the DC area who isn’t afraid to admit how awesome Adam is!! I have been watching the YT vids of Adam’s concerts and it is amazing how he can change up his own songs to keep them fresh and keep people guessing on when his insane vocals will kick in at the most appropriate times. I am seeing Adam on September 10th, which seems an eternity away. I am hoping the audience I will be a part of, will compare to the DC audience. I have to watch each video numerous times to not only enjoy Adam, the band and the dancers but also to appreciate the awesome fans in the audience!

  • Finally oh finally Adam let the audience sing (if I had you)… so he is able to let go and be less of a control freak. Hope to see him sing “Soaked” one day live…

  • What a great review. I’m reading it from Sydney, Australia and have to be satisfied with YouTube vids for the time being!! He’s mentioned that he’ll be bringing his tour down under later in the year. Can’t wait to see this man live – hopefully the un-family-friendly version.

    I met him briefly when he did a CD signing here and he has a very diverse fan base here as well.

  • Thanks for the great review! Adam is a breath of fresh air in the stale music industry today. He is immensely talented and hard-working, and he deserves to make it big in the music scene. I have been a little bit disappointed in the DC area’s reaction to him. I have been staying here temporarily with family while I get some surgeries, and I have been listening to local radio, and calling in to request Adam’s music. The program director at 99.5, DC’s top 40 station, said on the internet during the Club Kane show, that he wanted “to punch Adam Lambert in the face.” He doesnt like Adam’s music, and you cant request it on that station. I have given up listening to Then there was the awful review by the WP Blogger who is a failed glam rocker himself, his poor music on youtube for all to hear. Back home in PA I am from a very conservative, small, middle-class town, and the three radio stations in my area have all been big supporters of Adam, and so far, two of them have added the new IIHY to their playlist. I thought the DC area would be more progressive concerning Adam, but it is their loss. I just read where he will be touring around the world in the fall….Japan, Australia, NZ, etc…..and going to Europe and the UK. Good for AdaM! It just might be that he makes it big over there before here.

  • Thanks for this descriptive and fun review! Really heightens my anticipation! We have tickets for 8/1 and can’t wait. Although I am looking forward to the complete package that is Adam I am most excited about hearing his voice live! Everyone says Adam singing live is even better than on his cd and not to be missed….something rare among singers these days. The venue is next to our University here so we are also looking forward to a very diverse crowd. ;D

  • I went to a Lambert concert too and the crowd is nuts. Gay, straight, Lesbian, little kids, grandma’s, fathers, teens, tweens, black, white, asian, hispanic it was like the freaking United Nations. It was the few venues where two gay men can feel comfortable being openly affectionate while sitting next to conservative grandparents to the left and tweens to the right. My partner and I went in full glam gear. Instead of being ridiculed everyone wanted to buy us drinks and this was one of the more conservative venues he played at. The guy has an amazing voice live. One of the few singers who actually sounds even better in person than on his CD

  • If you were not able to catch his Baltimore or DC dates, he has one more in the area towards the end of August at the National in Richmond. Though the venue sold out, you can find tickets on StubHub. You won’t regret it, that’s for sure. Glampower!

  • Chris, I think this is the best review I’ve read. You get every single bit of who Adam is
    and report on it accurately. You captured the mood of the crowd, the excitement, and you actually make people want to see it. Thanks so much!!!!

  • I was at the DC show as well as the 1st NYC show, Foxwoods and Atlantic City. All the shows were fantastic as he changes things up a bit so each show is unique. His enthusiasm and infectious smile spread through the crowd. That man is truly happy to entertain us and he shows it with his outstanding performances and huge smile!
    I do have to agree that the DC show was pretty special. He was in such a playful, sexy mood and the venue was so small and intimate and the sound system was superb. The very best part of the DC show was that all the band came out to talk, give autographs and take pictures after the show. Allison and some of her band also came out. ADAM HIMSELF CAME OUT TO MEET US!!!! I finally got to meet him, he signed an artist drawing I had of him and I got to see those amazing eyes and gorgeous face up close. I am still on cloud 9!!!

  • I was lucky enough to see Adam front row @Ramshead the nite before, another up close personal venue. Whether we get family friendly Adam or OTT Adam the fact remains he will blow you away with mad vocals and he flat out entertains you !!!!
    This guy will have you standing there shouting for more, I just did not want the party to end……

  • Thanks for a good review of a great concert. Was there and it was an absolutely fun time. What an amazing voice Lambert has – he’s awfully pretty, too.

  • Hey, is this the same concert Chris what’s his name critiqued in the Washington Post? What a difference a real music lover makes, right?

  • Good review and appreciate that you appreciate Adam and his talents. However, it’s still a sad state of affairs when you choose to use the word ‘gay’ in the review. As Adam has stated, it doesn’t define him as a person or an artist. I don’t remember seeing the word ‘straight’ in other reviews hence I’m not understanding why it’s necessary.

  • Great review. Adam’s concerts are an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Everyone can party together and let loose for a while. So much fun. And his voice? Incredible!!!! Adam will be around for many more years.

  • Adam F. Lambert is waking up a whole lotta people, the universe has called him here and now for a reason.

  • I feel like a jilted lover- after Adam teased us and entertained us ’til we screamed – in London this April- and then was gone leaving us all empty and begging for more-
    Come back soon dearheart- I hear they are already gearing up for your Glamnation tour in Japan- i am worried this time they will never let you go xx

  • I saw the GN concert at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. Adam was, as always, fantastic & so beautiful. He is a phenomenally talented singer & entertainer. My only disappointment was we didn’t get Whole Lotta Love. Oh well, just have to be satisfied with watching the videos. By the way, Chris Johnson, did Chris Richards of the Washington Post go to a different concert? I admit that I didn’t read the review because people said that it’s really negative towards Adam and I tend to stay away from all that. I only read what the fans said about it. Plus I didn’t want to give his review more hits.

  • Thanks for the review.

    Adam so changed my life. And it’s such a rocking concert. Truly a music genius.

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