Last night, Adam Lambert performed his new single from his upcoming sophomore album Trespassing, "Better Than I Know Myself," on "The Tonight Show," in what was the first of many TV appearances to come (he'll also be on "Ellen" tomorrow, Thursday). The performance was America's introduction not only to the live version of the song, but to Adam's ace new band lineup: Ashley Dzerigian (My Jerusalem, Money Mark, Square On Square) on bass, Isaac Carpenter (Jesse Jo Stark, Ravi Dhar, Loudermilk) on drums, new Lambert musical director Kevin Hastings (Rihanna) on keys, and longtime band member Tommy Joe Ratliff moving to lead guitar. And for some more casual fans, who best know Adam for his most outrageous Glam Nation fashion looks (spackled-on guyliner, copiously metal-riveted leather jackets, foot-high Kiss boots, cobalt hair-streaks), the Glamerican Idol's understated "Leno" performance also served as an introduction to his smooth, sophisticated new image.
Undergoing a mild makeunder that actually brought to mind his Season 8 "American Idol" look from his acoustic "Tracks Of My Tears" performance (or maybe his 2009 Details cover shoot), Adam appeared on "Leno" flaunting a natty designer suit, a sleek physique, and subtle tone-on-tone hair highlights. Oh, but he was still wearing his signature black nail lacquer, of course--the guy is a rock star, after all.
Indeed he is. Because aside from looking damn good (the TV camera still really adores this guy), the man SOUNDED even better. He seemed to be gelling well with his new band (which will also feature Camila Grey from Uh Huh Her at future performances), and he handled the song's many upper-octave stratospheric notes with his usual ease and panache. I ask, semi-rhetorically, is there ANY pop star today, other than possibly Adele, who sings as well live as Adam Lambert? (If so, please send me some MP3s, because I'd love to hear them. But I suspect my inbox will remain empty...)
Check out Adam's first "BTIKM" television performance below. What do you think?