"I'm such a dork," Adam Lambert exclaimed near the start of his Monday night Connor Palace headlining set, as he sipped a concoction meant to soothe his voice. "I'm a theater kid who became a pop thing." That was certainly obvious during his highly entertaining hour-long show: The former American Idol contestant's stage moves (goofy hip swivels, pelvic thrusts, booty shakes and precise hand gestures) oozed subtle theatricality and lighthearted glamour, while his vocal performances were a masterful display of both emotional restraint and pointed outbursts.
Backed by a six-piece band—including a guitarist, bassist, drummer, two backup singers and a keyboardist/musical director—Lambert focused heavily on his latest album, this year's The Original High
. Live, the sophistication of these songs stood out—from the soulful Broadway vibe of "The Light" and the disco-kissed "Evil In The Night" to the Weeknd-reminiscent slow-burner "Underground" and the snappy, galloping standout "Another Lonely Night." Lambert's shapeshifting performance abilities were also on display: He opened the night by performing newer single, "Ghost Town," which segued neatly from being an acoustic guitar-based ballad into an insistent dancefloor banger, and later ably performed the flashy hard rock number "Lucy."
The night also featured choice cuts from Lambert's back catalog, from the strutting disco-pop jam "Shady" (which found him dabbing himself with a towel and then tossing it into the crowd), a stripped-back version of hit "Whataya Want From Me" and the stutter-step, slam-glam hit "Trespassing." The latter featured a mid-song segue into Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust," which allowed Lambert to underscore just exactly why he's been touring in the Freddie Mercury slot with the legendary rock band.
After this song, the theater lights came up, signaling the end of the set. However, after some rather robust cries of "Adam! Adam!" from the screaming crowd, he and his band returned for a reggae-pop version of "If I Had You." While technically proficient, the approach to the song was somewhat energy-deficient, and ended the night on a somewhat lethargic note.
The siblings-comprised quartet Echosmith preceded Lambert with a sincere, cool-as-ice dreampop set, highlighted at the end by an extended take on the hit "Cool Kids."