Adore Delano: The Whatever Tour – Manchester Academy (live review)

Whatever you think you know about drag queens, forget it, especially when it comes to Adore Delano. The American Idol and Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestant breaks all the rules, she is the Anti-Queen and we love her for it!

Dragpunk, a drag performance collective from Birmingham, opened the show and they were just as down for breaking rules as the main event. Lilith, the ‘resident emo girl’, stomped onto the stage to the sound of My Chemical Romance‘s ‘I’m Not Okay’, scowling at the audience and flipping them off in true punk fashion.

Paul Aleksandr graced the stage in all his gothic glory, slowly unveiling his beautiful glittery full beard, bloodied teeth, and corseted waist and performing a haunting rendition of Radiohead‘s ‘Creep’.

Amber Cadaverous bounced onto the stage (quiet literally) with her voluptuous breasts, generous cleavage and springy blonde curls, performing to No Doubt‘s 90s hit song ‘Just a Girl’.

Admittedly, I spent the first couple of minutes trying to figure out how this queen made her breasts look so realistic and jiggly. I finally understood (and felt a little stupid) when Amber told the audience “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do this” – what a way to break the rules, a female drag queen! I spent many of my early teenage years dressing as a drag queen only to be constantly reminded that I couldn’t be one…well fuck them!

The audience were loving the trio and every time a Drag Race reference was included in the act they went wild, screaming and cheering louder than any crowd I’ve been a part of. I couldn’t think of better opening act.

Anticipation was rising as the sea of glitter, ripped fishnets, and flannel shirts waited for Adore Delano to take to the stage and they were not disappointed. Adore, who had broken part of her hand, absolutely owned the stage and wasn’t going to let an injury stop her doing what she was born to do.

Smashing drag preconceptions Delano proudly refuses to shave her armpits, lipsync, or even tuck and it just makes her even more unique – she is the ultimate punk-rock grunge queen. Her voice was phenomenal, I was expecting her to be great but this live show was a whole other level. It blew me away.

As she belted her way through the set, evoking Brody Dalle and Courtney Love with just a dash of Iggy Pop, Adore seemed both surprised and humbled that her devoted fan base knew every single word, even to her newest songs.

The entire night was pretty beautiful, Adore and Dragpunk created a space where people could feel safe being totally true to who they are and who they want to be without fear of judgement or exclusion, and that can only be a good thing.