Saturday, July 31, 2010

They're Not All Crazy: Casual Fans at Adam Lambert Concerts

NoAngel writes:

Before I embarked upon The Glamazing Race, I thought that the audiences at Adam’s concerts would be 90% hard-core stans, with a smattering of casual fans. Following Twitter lists and Ustreams and concert threads, one gets a distorted impression. Instead, depending on the venue, the “casual” contingent comprises 25-75% of the audience. And that’s fantastic!

Perhaps I should define “stan” and “casual fan.” To me, the stans are the ones who: Go to multiple concerts; stand in line for hours to get up close for GA; have an active on-line life, participating in Twitter and/or one or more fan sites; and have an encyclopedic knowledge of Adam-related facts and factoids. Within this group, there are variations, ranging from ~normal (me and all my friends, heh) to cockscomb-wearing cray stalker.

The “casual” fans are those who generally know Adam from American Idol. They loved him on the show, and are happy to have a chance to see him when he brings Glam Nation to their neck of the woods. I’ve loved talking to these people at the concerts! They have no idea who Adam’s band members are, let alone what his shoe size is. Before the concert, they wonder what songs he’ll sing, and whether he’s as good a performer live as he was on Idol. They don’t know about the glowstick waving during Whataya Want From Me, or the speculation about Whole Lotta Love (acoustic, plugged-in, or not at all), or the all-important question of which hairstyle Adam will wear each night.

The “casual” fans are the reason Adam has been, and always will be grateful for his stint on American Idol. Despite the attached stigma and loss of rocker cred that he’ll need to (and will) overcome, the plain fact is that without AI, Adam would not be filling thousands of seats across the U.S. and around the world.

I’ve watched these casual fans fall under Adam’s spell at seven concerts now, and it’s a beautiful thing. The 70-something golf-shirt-wearing gentleman at TV who started out calm, and by Strut was dancing, laughing, and pumping his fist. The 60-something lesbian couple (Thunder Valley VIPs) who wondered if Adam would be as good a performer as Lionel Ritchie, and afterwards raved and clutched at my hands and affirmed that yes, Adam was actually better than Lionel, lol. The female Army private in San Diego who said that Adam makes her happy, no matter what bad news she’s dealing with on the job. The self-described twinks in San Francisco who shouted their love at Adam from the GA pit. The 14-year old girl in San Diego who thinks Adam is “really cool” and was taking pics to post on her Facebook page.

These are the fans that leave the concert and buy Adam’s album and tell their friends about him. Don’t get me wrong--Adam definitely needs his hard-core fans. We’re the ones who vote rabidly on VH1, and call the radio stations, and buy every incarnation of Adam’s album (hey, this version comes with a shiny sticker that I really really need in my life!). But the casual fan who goes to a concert and realizes that wow, there really is something special about this guy, will remember him next year when his second album comes out.

So, one concert at a time, one convert at a time, at casinos and festivals and theatres, Adam is building a large, diverse fanbase. And all of us together will help him achieve the stardom for which he is surely destined.


  1. Then there are the new fans who found out about Adam after Idol either on the radio, through a magazine article, caught a mv on TV or was brought to a show by a fan.

  2. This has been an amazing journey for all of you (and all of us) and I want to thank you all for sharing it. It's the sharing that makes the burden of worry lighter and the joy of each success greater. You share so nicely :)

  3. What lovely news about the soon-to-be-hardcore fans. Sounds like one show, and they may be on their way to exit casualhood. As well they should.

    Great post!

    Especially loved hearing about this: "The female Army private in San Diego who said that Adam makes her happy, no matter what bad news she’s dealing with on the job."

  4. Here in NZ, where Idol is not hugely popular, Adam is riding high on our radio/MTV charts. He has already gone platinum. He is considered an independent artist, and the demograph buying his album is mainly young. It's different in the States, and I understand how easy it is to assume that casual fans are calling in on Glam Nation because of "Idol". However, I think it is more to do with the album now, more to do with his music. Radio and MTV play is introducing him to people who are into music - not reality television shows. Just thought I'd mention this, as international fans have a slightly different perspective. Thanks for the article.

  5. I learned on Twitter that Taylor Green's birthday is on August 10th when Adam and I will be in Erie, PA. You can figure out on which end of the fangirl scale I sit on. Besides these casual fans, I also thought it was brilliant to come to the smaller cities. These hoards of fans are staying in their hotels, eating at their restaurants and spending lots of money in their towns. These fans are also the most diverse group to ever co-exist and they are the most wonderful human beings I have ever met. So I'm sure that lots of people in these towns had to ask, "Why are all these people here at the same time for dinner and why are they all covered in glitter?" "WORLD DOMINATION", a handful of people at a time.

  6. I got pulled to American Idol Tour last year because my girlfriend wanted to see Adam. I was a little embarassed by the whole scene. That is, until Adam Lambert performed. His voice was incredible--although I doubted he would make any kind of major contribution to music. Today I am a huge fan. Until Adam, the only other pop singer I liked was MJ. I am going to the GN tour in Florida. A year ago, I would not have believed this could happen. It is just impossible not to like the guy.

  7. Oh, I didn't find this site, my girlfriend did. She knows every little detail about the band--I don't!

  8. NoAngel, I'm glad you recognize how important all Adam's fans are, whether they know every detail about him or not. After the "stans" have purchased their handful of albums, it is the "casual fans" that are doing the buying.

  9. well, call ME a stan then - down to the "hey, this version comes with a shiny sticker that I really really need in my life!" haha (I'm on the normal end of the spectrum.)
    Thanks for the perspective - it is great to read about casual fans who become 'less casual' after seeing the show. I am taking someone to a show who has not been following except for what I send her (granted, that's a lot) - we'll see what the reaction will be. Nothing compares to the actual live performance.
    NathanR said it: "It is just impossible not to like the guy"

  10. Still sizing up my fandom.
    Definitely not the casual.
    Enjoyed the read!

  11. Although I was skittish at first over Adam not selling zillions right out of the gate, I now love how he is catching on gradually, EARNING fans. I love it when someone is caught off guard, and they kind of freeze, point upward, and say, "Good Lord, who is that singer?" This is the way stardom SHOULD happen. I've missed this so much. It was the Motown days when this last happened in the States.

  12. I'm a huge Adam fan; I saw two shows this summer: Warfield 1 and Thunder Valley. I was in the balcony at Warfield and 5th row at TV. Funny story: My 21 y.o. son does not like Adam's style of music, but I was going to drag him to TV with me so he could film while I enjoyed myself. I felt he owed me for 21 years of undying support (bribe). Oddly enough, his own band was set to record their first EP and the only weekend his music producer (and his fiance) from Portland could record was during the TV weekend. Needless to say my son was pissed that he would have to take 6 hours out of recording to attend the show. Well, I found out his producer's fiance adored Adam, so I offered her the chance to go and the girl literally cried. In the end it was much more fun to go with someone that really was into Adam, even if I'd only known her for like 15 minutes. We hooted and hollered, and danced our butts off. Lost our voices gabbing on the 1.5 hour ride home. She started out as a casual fan and has now moved on to being an avid fan.
    Adam really does elevate you to a higher level musically, personally, spiritually.
    Thanks Adam for all your tireless beauty.


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