Adam Lambert, 21st century rock star

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You might have seen Adam sing Change is Gonna Come on American Idol. But casual fans probably don’t know that he first sang that song exactly 6 years ago. On 12/15/04 he made his debut solo performance for the Zodiac show at the Music Box in LA and blew people’s minds with his makeup and his outfit, and oh yeah, that VOICE! He sang it with the depth of emotion of someone who was feeling every last syllable of the lyrics. It was personal. Raw. Angry. Challenging. Powerful.

But it wasn’t enough to launch a full blown career as a pop star. As he explains in video, oh, there were obstacles. So he made his way to American Idol to put himself on a show that would be the platform he needed. And the most of it in a way no other artist on the show has. He proved winning is not everything. The producers asked him to sing Change is Gonna Come on the finale. No outrageous outfit. No sparkly makeup. Just Adam and his heart and his voice. He had already blown people’s minds by that point. But this more elegant, understated Adam knew he was on the precipice of his achieving his dream. So again, he squeezed every ounce out of the song. Not as angry. Not as raw. But, still powerful & this time, hopeful.

Last night, as he wrapped up the next to the last of his Glamnation World Tour concerts, he sang it again. This time as a celebration of those six years and what change really has happened for him. But also now taking on a role he was once reluctant to take – that of an activist. A year into this rock star experience and he sees the power that his voice – speaking & singing – can have for people. And he’s starting to me more comfortable about using it. On the same day that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal passed in Congress – closer than we’ve ever been to abolishing it – Adam speaks of the more universal meaning to this song for our generation. And after singing about Change – he has a little fun with another old school rock song.

Ladies and gentlemen, rock & roll 2010 style. Some activism, some cursing, and a whole whole whole lotta soul.

 

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