I am not really an avid TV fan and can go weeks without the need to search for the perpetually missing remote. Among the programs I avoid, perhaps due to childhood memories of Opportunity Knocks, are the talent shows such as American Idol and The X Factor.
However, even the most skeptical among us can recognize and be grateful that in some cases, winning or even appearing as a finalist, on such a talent show can launch a performing career that may otherwise have been lost. There have been a plethora of past and modern day superstars born this way, but in recent years perhaps the most dramatic has been Britain’s Got Talent contestant number 43,212, Susan Boyle.
On New Year’s Eve, Bali’s newest premier resort, the extravagant Mulia Resort and Villas in Nusa Dua, hosted another similarly successful and extraordinarily popular contestant from the American Idol series. The hotel’s first New Year’s Eve celebration featured the delightful, energetic and enigmatic Adam Lambert performing for one night only, and I, along with around 400 other guests, was lucky enough to witness a thrilling performance that ushered us happily into 2013.
Not since the closing of the last millennium had I more eagerly anticipated any New Years Eve’s celebration; a night at the gorgeous resort with a fabulous buffet dinner and the music world’s hottest property strutting his sexually charged stuff in what was bound to be a kick butt party atmosphere.
Lambert is a self-confessed attention junkie, but he is far more than just a mannequin as he well showed us; boy, he can sing and dance. It’s quite a difficult voice to describe; like his talent it has a vast range and depth, but perhaps most impressive is how easily and completely he shifts and lives his different stage personas.
Some, perhaps fairly, have likened him to Freddie Mercury, and indeed he toured with Queen only last year taking adulation and rave reviews. I actually think he presents a lot more soul in his music, a touch of George Michael with attitude but with Freddie’s aura and ability to supercharge the watcher. He compliments his own quite massive stage presence with a group of musicians, dancers and vocalists that together create a fusion of funk and electro pop, but often with driving guitar solos and rock bass lines.
The dancers provided great theater, the interaction with each other and the crowd was fabulous and contagious as table after sober table quickly joined the party. The ever-present backing singers, with hilarious wig and clothing changes carried out on stage, took us from Motown to Ziggy Stardust and back to 2013.
Appearing about 11:15 p.m., Lambert and his band blazed through the set, costume changes accompanied changes in style as they frantically led us toward the New Year and beyond. The grand ballroom at the resort is a fabulous venue and was set out with huge round tables decorated with fresh white roses, but after two songs the seating plan was thrown into disarray as Lambert called on the “Glamberts” (his diehard fans) to join him at the front to dance. A huge number of people, young and old, did just that and the New Year’s party was well underway.
In a wonderful moment of improvised melodrama as the clock struck midnight, Lambert screamed for anyone who knew the words to “Auld Lang Syne”. One of the front row Glamberts, Elaine from Scotland, obliged and will no doubt remember forever joining Lambert in welcoming 2013 with true style.
With the midnight hour gone and the rapturous applause still ringing, the band launched into a set of raunchy covers, including a superb funk interpretation of the classic Lenny Kravitz rock song “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. The result was an ever more crowded dance floor jumping as one. This was no ordinary gig, it was pure theater dressed in leather and glitter, and we loved every inch of it.
Sadly, after just under two fun-packed hours, the party just had to end. Chanting fans had brought the band back for the encore, but the spell was broken as the road crew took us to the point of no return by turning up the lights.
I for one will remember Dec. 31, 2012, as one of the best nights of entertainment I have seen in years, the night the extravagant met the extraordinary in Nusa Dua. I really hope to see Lambert again later this year in Jakarta, and, just perhaps, for my New Year’s resolution I might even agree to watch an episode or two of American Idol.