barb4Adam' date='Aug 20th 2010, 10:22 AM
Lambert displays showmanship, musical talent at Tent
By Gwenn Frissgfriss@capecodonline.com
August 20, 2010 2:00 AM
HYANNIS – With all the fuss over his leathers and feathers, it’s easy to forget that Adam Lambert can sing with a powerful tenderness that is utterly captivating.
Don’t get me wrong, impresario P.T. Barnum would have loved this guy.
The whole circus ringmaster entrance, singing “For Your Entertainment” as he pulled invisible strings to manipulate a human marionette and nuzzled a lithe cat-like creature against his legs, was pure Liberace meets Liza Minnelli. And it was just dandy.
Lambert moves with a dancer’s sensuality that would get him noticed even if he weren’t wearing a feathered top hat and fur-collared coat. (He was.) But, hey, that whole shtick is fun, the dancers are amazing (they have a number with a tribal beat while he’s off changing) and Lambert looks terrific in the floor-length and fitted black coat he wears later.
His rendition of Johnny Cash’s 1963 classic “Ring of Fire” makes you realize if Cash was trying to escape hell, Lambert is just visiting in this version – a powerhouse that shows off his range and falsetto. You can picture him dancing up those notes.
But it was when he pulled off the costumes and settled on a stool for “Whataya Want From Me?” that Lambert reminded the 2,300 people at the sold-out Cape Cod Melody Tent last night why he should have won the 2009 season of American Idol. He finds at least a dozen vocal phrasings that all convey a man trying to make a relationship work.
In “Aftermath,” which he co-wrote for the CD “For Your Entertainment,” Lambert sings about caring for someone in a song that both shows the high end of his vocal range and sounds like a lullaby.
With thanks to all the powers that be, the vocal-instrumental mix was terrific all evening long. Not only for Lambert and his musicians, but for the two bands that preceded him.
Allison Iraheta, who was in the Top 10 of American Idol with Lambert, opened with an early set at 7:30 p.m., probably accounting for why the Tent was full a half-hour before show time. She and her band did a fine job.
The 8 p.m. billed opening act, Australian singer-songwriter Orianthi Panagaris – who goes by her first name only – plays a mean guitar.
She was in the limelight after Michael Jackson died as the guitarist in his last rehearsals, portrayed in the movie, “This Is It.”
Whether playing riffs on her knees or sliding the guitar pick over the frets, she demonstrates impressive musical skills, and her vocals – especially on “According To You” – are catchy and fierce at the same time.
With all the fuss about Lambert’s on-stage antics, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But all in all, it was an evening to tell your friends about.