The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

There is something about having over 1.3 million people cheer you on that is quite indescribable. That's how I felt when I took part in the Pride Parade 2010 in Toronto earlier this month.

Let's rewind. I had signed up as a volunteer for the Global Human Rights booth, and hadn't actually planned on taking part in the grand parade. There was a day of training which went off quite well, and in the week leading up to Pride, we were loaded with reading material, to prepare us for our chosen volunteer sections.

Pride in Toronto was everything that you've seen or read about, and then some! There was such a sense of freedom, openness and unity that is very difficult to describe, and I was so proud to be a part of it.

The best part of it, for me, was something that happened when I was volunteering at the booth. While I was gathering signatures for a petition, this elderly gentleman walked up to me. He started by shaking my hand, and saying that when he was my age, he would have been jailed just for being himself. He didn't look so old, and my confusion must have been apparent on my face, because he went on to tell me that he was born in 1937, and what it was like growing up in those times, knowing that you were gay and the fear that was part and parcel of that knowledge. I could see the tears in his eyes as he spoke; he wasn't just crying about what they as a community had to endure, but also over how much had been achieved in 30 years. And then he thanked me for being part of the youth (and here he ended up using that term quite liberally) that still worked towards bringing these freedoms and rights to other parts of the world, and at that point, I felt my own eyes tear up. It was such a touching, happy and sad moment all at the same time.

Then, while I was at the booth, part of the organising committee came and asked me if I would like to march at the parade with the Global Human Rights for Queers contingent, and I was like hell yeah! Completely unexpected, totally up my alley.

So at 1.30 in the afternoon, with the sun blazing down upon us, I found myself standing in line, holding a placard in one hand, the main banner in the other (yup, not only did I get to march, I got to march right in front, helping to hold the banner) while the temperature hovered somewhere between 29 to 30 degrees.

The parade got under way in about 45 minutes, and for the next 2 hours (and 2 km or more), I didn't notice the heat, the distance or the time. There were approximately 1.3 million people watching us, cheering, clapping, appreciating (and dousing us with water!)...I felt like I was part of something so much bigger than just me...that I was doing something meaningful, and that people this the kind of thing that I as meant to do.

It was just an incredible, indescribable, awesome feeling.

On June 19, 2010, Adam Lambert proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that America does not know how to vote. As part of his Glam Nation tour, Adam Lambert was playing exactly one concert in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheater. Guess who had to be there?

Fortunately for me, the tickets weren't as prohibitively priced as Bon Jovi tickets, so I was able to get a good seat right up front. I couldn't wait for the 19th!

The ticket said the concert started at 3.30 pm, which was strangely early, but I thought what the hell, let me be there on time. I should have had the good sense to realise that it looked suspicious, and in this day and age, it would have taken me all of 3 seconds to find the schedule on the internet. But noooooo, silly me, I just went to the arena at 3.30 pm.

I was quite surprised by the crowd - naturally, there were far more females than there were males, but what particularly surprised me was that there were some pretty old people there in the crowd - easily in their '50s. And it wasn't just a lone couple or two, but there were several people in that age bracket...I guess Adam Lambert appeals to all ages.

Anyways, I managed to get to the Molson Amphitheatre exactly on time, so I found myself in my seat by 3.30 pm. After the Bon Jovi concert, I knew that I should expect some annoying opening band or another, and right on schedule, some female started her song & dance routine. And after a few such numbers, she strutted off, and another singer came on for yet another routine. The crowd seemed to appreciate them a lot more than I did, and around 5 pm or so, I started to wonder...where heck is Adam Lambert? This is his show, right?

That's when my eyes darted about, and caught sight of the schedule for the evening. All kinds of singers had been booked to perform - this was, after all, the KiSS 92.5 WHAM BAM concert featuring Adam Lambert...but I didn't expect this many other acts. Adam Lambert was going to take the stage only at 9 p.m. What a bummer! For those in the know, the other artists were pretty good, and even Orianthi played, but I really couldn't get excited about people I had never even heard of. For the record though, Orianthi was damn good, and I definitely will hunt around for some of her music.

Fortunately for me, I found a book in my handbag, so I settled down to read it till the show really started - I know, I know, a music concert isn't really the ideal location to start reading, but I have this amazing ability to block out things around me when required. Luckily, the book was good (as Salman Rushdie always is), and before I knew it, it was 9 pm, and the show was about to begin!

Adam Lambert was spectacular! No, scratch that. He was phenomenal! First off, his voice is amazing - it sounds just as brilliant live as it does on his albums (and you really really must wonder why he wasn't the Idol winner). He could sing the phone book and make it sound good. Trying to explain how amazing his voice is would be a waste of your time and mine, because there is no way that I could string together words that would do justice to it. I won't even bother.

And true to his reputation, there was more than a touch of glamour. Leather? Check. Glitter? Check. Entertainment quotient? Through the roof! There were 2 - 3 costume changes, and by costumes, I mean costumes. The trademark eye liner was there, but there was also a feather topped hat, leather pants, black gloves, purple & black fur coat and boots to die for. Just to mention a few. Boy George would have been proud. And jealous.

There were also the synchronized dance moves (which he was awesome at), the not-so synchronized dance moves (which he was equally awesome at) and some incredible chemistry with his dancers and musicians...Adam Lambert is truly an entertainer and he is such a natural! It also helps that he truly is talented. He had the crowd moving, and we were belting out the numbers right along with him...and man, these Canadian crowds are amazing...they know how to rock, and we managed to get an encore out of Adam Lambert :)

The set list was:

  • For Your Entertainment (recorded version/intro)
  • Voodoo
  • Down the Rabbit Hole
  • Ring of Fire (Idol version)
  • Fever
  • Sleepwalker
  • Whaddaya Want From Me
  • Soaked
  • Aftermath
  • Sure Fire Winners
  • Strut
  • Music Again
  • If I Had You
  • Mad World (Encore - Idol version)
True, he doesn't have too much of a repertoire to sustain a full length concert, but I was damn impressed with what I saw. He was also introduced his entire band, back up dancers and the choreographer, which I thought was a very decent thing to do.

Overall, it was a fabulous concert, and I can't wait to see what else Adam Lambert has in store for us - and for future reference, I would not want to miss any of his concerts!

Here are clips of two of my favourite songs, just so you get an idea!

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Be true to your heart, and true to your conscience.

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