Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer's Soundtrack

There's something I need to tell you.

Okay, here goes.

The only American Idol contestant I have ever voted for is Adam Lambert.

I voted for him every week during season eight.  A lot.  Redial, redial, redial.  Redial.  Redial, redial.  I was living with my parents in the months before I got married, I had no kids & few responsibilities, & things like ensuring Adam Lambert made it through to the next round of American Idol were at the top of my priority list.  Before I continue, the catty twenty-eight year old in me just has to say to all the Kris Allen & Danny Gokey fans: where are Kris & Danny today?  I don't know, but I do know where they are not, & that is fronting for Queen.

I realize this may shock you, conservative me championing the outlandish, controversial Adam Lambert.  I don't always love his wardrobe choices, or his eyeliner technique, but the man can sing.  He is immensely talented.  While I have your attention, let me say this: before you give me an earful about my Adam love, please do realize that it's likely every entertainer you listen to, watch, laugh at, cry with, & flock to the theater to see is not an individual you hope your children will emulate.  They may not wear leather pants, studded jackets, or an awesome leopard print suit while singing "We Are the Champions," but few & far between are the entertainers whose personal lives are worthy of praise.  I can recognize & appreciate talent.  

So I've outed myself as a Glambert.  I feel so free.  As Adam's star was rising on Idol, my sister & I  feverishly looked up old YouTube videos of him, & I was sold.  He can sing anything, & he can do it better than you ever thought possible.  As I'm sure you well remember, season eight of American Idol concluded with a spectacular show featuring Adam singing "We Are the Champions" with Queen.  Unfortunately, Kris Allen was also singing, and oh my goodness was it obvious for whom Queen had agreed to play the Idol finale (hint: it was not Kris Allen).  Regardless of the vote total, it was quite clear who was the champion.  Since season eight of Idol concluded, I have harbored a dream.  I got married, I had two kids, & life continued to move, but yet, the dream never died, & last Thursday night, it became a reality.    

A few months ago, I saw a news article announcing that Adam Lambert would be touring with Queen.  This was an announcement I'd been braced for for five years.  I glanced at the cities on the tour, & right there on the list was Dallas.  Dallas, Texas, a quick car ride away.  My heart began to beat a little faster at this point.  A few nights later as Trey was sitting & eating dinner, I casually asked if he'd be interested in seeing Queen in concert.  I was prepared for a 'No,' but this is what he said, "Yeah, sure.  You know Brian May has a PhD & makes his own guitars."  Well, no, no I did not know that, but good for Brian May, or rather, Dr. Brian May.  And with that random bit of trivia, the dream I'd dreamed for five years was made official.  By official, I mean I wrote it on the Pottery Barn chalkboard I use to keep my head on straight:

"July 10: Queen."  I didn't add, "& Adam Lambert," because Trey was less excited about that part, while I was not as awed as Trey deemed necessary that Brian May makes his own guitars.  See why we make a great pair?

Queen's music has been the soundtrack to a considerable amount of the walking & the little bit of running I've done these past few months in pursuance of my weight loss goals.  Queen has an impressive catalogue of hits, & they make for great inspiration for a mom trying to lose baby weight & also, if only for an hour or so, forget everything.  "We Are the Champions," "Another One Bites the Dust," "We Will Rock You," "Somebody to Love," & my personal faves while exercising, "Under Pressure," "I Want to Break Free," & yes, "Fat Bottomed Girls" have spurred me on all summer.

Ready to rock, last Thursday we all loaded up & headed to Dallas.  My mom accompanied us so she could sit with the kids at Jessica & Heath's house while Trey & I were at the concert.  I thought about it & thought about it, & no one is comfortable with the idea of Trey & me leaving Reagan overnight yet.  Maybe one day.  I wouldn't have slept, the babysitting grandparents wouldn't have slept, & Trey, well, Trey may've slept, but my mom & I decided the best option was for her to come with the four of us.

Trey in his pre-Adam Lambert euphoria:

We made a quick stop at Jessica & Heath's to unload everyone who wasn't attending the concert.  After brief insulin instructions for my mom, I told Reagan to behave & that we'd see her later.  She asked where we were going, & I think I said, "Your daddy & I want to break free."  The whole weekend was full of such fun.  Trey & I then headed toward the American Airlines Center, stopping at a burger place Trey loves on the way.  Smashburger.  I just remembered the name.  It was a decent burger; I was most impressed with the option to eat a side salad rather than fries.  The salad was wonderful, too - good green lettuce (no crummy iceberg lettuce), diced tomatoes & cucumbers, etc. 

I snapped this of Trey while we were eating.  You can see the anticipation of what's ahead on his face! 


The concert was scheduled to start at 7:30.  Being the responsible Queen fans we are, Trey & I arrived at the American Airlines Center at 6:30, & after I talked myself out of a $40 T-shirt & bought a cup of coffee instead, we were in our seats, our floor seats, by 6:50.  Believe it or not, not many concert-going Queen fans drink coffee.  The lady working the concession didn't know what to charge me for it because I think it was the only cup they sold all night.

I sat & sipped my coffee & Trey & I people watched.  You know what's almost as fantastic as sitting & listening to Adam Lambert & Queen for two hours?  Sitting & watching the people who're attending the concert.  The longer I sat & watched, the more foolish I felt.  For starters, coffee was not what everyone else was drinking.  On top of that, Trey & I were both fully clothed, we hadn't brought masks or crowns to wear, nor did we have any visible ink showing.  Trey commented on the sheltered life we lead, & also remarked that, sitting there, surrounded by our fellow concert-goers, it was no mystery how Obama was elected president not once, but twice (when the majority of people you know work, pay taxes, opt not to wear sheer shirts & Mardi Gras masks to concerts, or ever, & are not still mourning Freddie Mercury, the outcome of national elections can sometimes leave you perplexed).

Trey's pontificating was interrupted by a slightly inebriated woman in a tight white body suit regaling the kind usher stationed near our seats with the story of where she was when she learned Freddie Mercury died.  Tears were shed.  Beer was spilled.  Hearing was damaged.

If you've ever wondered what a conservative mom of two looks like eagerly awaiting Queen & Adam Lambert to take the stage, here you go (photo courtesy of Trey, who declined to stand & have me take his pic):

Finally, the lights dimmed, plumes of smoke billowed from the stage, & a deafening roar rose from the crowd as the legendary Queen took the stage, accompanied by their fabulous new frontman.  Adam's voice live is phenomenal (it's clear to me I am going to run out of adjectives in this post).  The concert was incredible.  But no, concert is not the right word.  What Queen & Mr. Lambert are bringing to cities across North America is a visual & auditory spectacle, like something you'd see on Broadway or in Vegas.  The internet is replete with rave reviews of the show, but this links to a glowing article about the Dallas stop on the tour.

I took a few pictures during the concert, but as you might imagine, the lighting wasn't optimal.  If you're truly interested in good images of the concert & a detailed look at Adam's many costume changes, photos are everywhere online.  I think my favorite look was his last.  You might not think a grown man wearing a leopard print suit & a big gold crown would be a good look, but when he's belting out "We Will Rock You" & "We Are the Champions" while accompanied by Brian May, it works.  I mean what else would you wear in such a situation?

I won't relive the whole two hours for you.  I know some of you just do not care at all & would rather me blather on about what's happening with my Russian solider.  I'll just say that it was the best concert I've attended.  Admittedly, I haven't been to all that many concerts, but I have seen the Eagles & U2 live, & while I love the Eagles & their music is my go-to, Queen's stuff is so grandiose (as is Adam) & meant to be performed & enjoyed in an arena setting, & in that setting it was just amazing.  I like Queen's music, but I've never enjoyed it as much as I did Thursday night.  

Then, once it was all over & because we are sophisticated, on the drive back to Jessica & Heath's house Trey & I discussed Freddie Mercury's overbite, & had a brief argument about whether or not he was bisexual.

Friday morning, Trey rose early, showered, & took off on a tour of various Cabela's locations in the DFW area.  With considerably less haste, my mom, Jessica, & I readied the children for a few hours at the mall.

Henry did well Friday as long as he was in this stroller & could wave & kick his legs at everyone walking toward him.  Henry's favorite Queen song is "It's a Hard Life."

Reagan was dismayed that we made her sit & eat lunch before allowing her to run rampant in the Disney store & ride the merry-go-round, which I think she rode a total of five times before the day was done.  Reagan's favorite Queen song is "I Want It All," which as you may know goes a little something like this . . . I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.  Admittedly, before Trey points it out, yes, Reagan & I have similar taste in music. 

Finally, Reagan made it to the Disney store where she ended up sitting a bit & watching sing-a-long videos of the songs from Frozen.  Nana & her fresh cup of coffee also enjoyed the sing-a-long. 

One of the day's five rides on the merry-go-round:

The mall is a great option for people with kids because there's a lot to see & do & eat, & it's all housed under one roof, eliminating the need to strap & unstrap, & strap & unstrap kids in their car seats when it's nearing the century mark outside.

Without having to load everyone up in the vehicles, we strolled right into The Cheesecake Factory for an early dinner Friday.  Heath joined us, having been at work all day, & Trey also joined us, having spent hours scouring Dallas for deals on guns he does not need & knows he could never justify purchasing, despite the evening he spent with me & Adam Lambert.   

A little cousin bonding while waiting for our food.  Henry is not in these pics because that would have required him to leave my side, which is something he rarely does, & not without considerable protest:

Walking off dinner:

It was a good weekend.  Everyone had their moment in the sun.  I saw Adam & Queen live, Trey enjoyed a Smashburger & was given free reign to search the DFW area for guns, Henry smiled & waved from his stroller as if in a parade, & Reagan rode the merry-go-round over & over & over again, with a Frozen sing-a-long thrown in for good measure.   

I hope the bold step I've taken out of my Glambert closet hasn't irreparably damaged the heretofore high opinion you held of me.  At this point, if you're still hanging around & reading, I figure you're not easily offended & likely can handle the fact that I, champion of conservative causes, obsessive fiction reading, & great coffee, need a little Queen in my life, & by Queen I of course mean Adam Lambert.           


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