News From:The Straits Timesposted on 13 March at 3:38 PM
13 March at 3:38 PM

Parents at Lambert gig: So what if he's gay

By Charlene Chua

When Adam Lambert launched into his hit Whataya Want From Me, the answer came loud and clear from his Singapore fans: “We want your talent, never mind your sexual inclination.”

Or to put it in typically succinct Singapore fashion: You’re gay. So what?

The out and proud US pop star, known for his flamboyance and boldness when expressing controversial opinions, had addressed his sexuality when he met the local media last week.

His “message” – that of love and acceptance – followed a complaint made to the National Council of Churches of Singapore two weeks ago.

Lambert’s concert also received an Advisory 16 rating a few days before his concert for his two songs Outlaws Of Love and Shady, which centred on being gay.

An Advisory 16 rating means that while the event’s content may be unsuitable for younger people, there will be no age restrictions on admissions.

The complaint was over the use of a church-owned venue to host Lambert’s concert, and the concern was that it may promote “the gay lifestyle”.

The Star Performing Arts Centre, which is owned by a business arm of New Creation Church, saw him perform his first full-length 90-minute concert here to a near sell-out crowd of 4,500 passionate fans.

Tickets for the show did not come cheap – they were priced at $88, $128, $158 and $188.

But at the concert on Friday, the 31-year-old’s ardent supporters seized the initiative and showed him just how much they adored him.

The audience included parents with children, teenagers, yuppies, gays, straight people and even the elderly.

When Lambert broke out into Whataya Want From Me with his powerhouse vocals, the crowd seemed to be of one mind as they listened in silence till he sang the lyrics: “Thank you for loving me. You’re doing it perfectly.”

At that point, thunderous screams and applause filled the arena. Lambert looked up, smiled and mumbled a surprise “thank you” after he finished the song.

Said civil servant Ashley Teo, 29: “I just think it was hypocritical of people to write in to complain because doesn’t that mean that allowing singers who cheated on their partners or had children out of wedlock to perform here means that we are promoting THAT kind of lifestyle?

“I hope Adam realised that he was much loved tonight.”

On the Advisory 16 rating, 30-year-old housewife Shereen Goh, who was there with her six-year-old son, said: “I took my son here because Adam makes such good music and he’s a class performer.

“I want my son to learn that above all, he has to accept people just the way they are.”

It was clear that the audience embraced the American Idol runner-up whole-heartedly as the excitement level rose whenever his male dancers danced intimately with each other or with him.

Lambert brought the house down when he grabbed his crotch, fondled his mike stand suggestively and stroked his male dancers’ faces.

Egged him on

Indeed, some in the audience wanted him to push the boundaries further, egging him on whenever he did anything audacious.

One male fan even recalled how Lambert had kissed his blonde guitarist Tommy Joe Ratliff onstage when he was here to perform for the F1 concert three years ago.

Said businessman Eric Cheo, 41, who was there with his wife and nine-year-old daughter: “I felt so embarrassed when I read about the complaint about Adam’s show.

“What would he think of Singaporeans? To be thought of as close-minded, conservative and judgemental is so shameful when we regard ourselves as one of the most advanced cities in the world.

“My daughter loves Adam, and so do my wife and I.

“We explained to our daughter that Adam is gay and she understands that that is who he is, just like how a person’s skin colour is a part of them.”

Lambert performed about 20 songs from his albums For Your Entertainment and Trespassing, and covers of other hits. Crowd favourites included If I Had You, Time For Miracles and Outlaws Of Love.

He wore guyliner along with fingernails painted black, spiked jackets, platform shoes and what one woman fan called his “sexy crotch pants” – pants that were laced up at the crotch.

Local personalities were spotted in the audience, among them singer Kit Chan, plastic surgeon Woffles Wu and former politician Michael Palmer.

Said marketing executive Jane Wee, 25, a fervent Lambert fan who was sitting in the second row: “I just hope that Adam didn’t restrain himself after he heard about the complaints here.

“He is an amazing performer with such a beautiful voice. I would hate to see him hold back because we love him because of who he is.”

Miss Wee scraped her knees badly while trying to fight off other fans for a Lambert guitar pick.

She had at first stood up and blown kisses in Lambert’s and Ratliff’s direction, and was thrilled when the latter caught on and blew kisses back at her.

Ratliff then threw his pick in her direction and Miss Wee lunged forward along with other fans to grab the elusive guitar pick.

She managed to pick it up because she was the only one who went down on her knees to look for it.

In response to the controversy that was stirred upon his arrival here, Lambert said to thunderous screams: “Music brings us together. I’m promoting a lifestyle of love and friendship, music, joy and fashion.

“So whoever wants to come and be part of that lifestyle, we accept anybody.”

This story was first published in The New Paper on March 11, 2013.

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