Adele's introduction to her iconic Bond theme, “Skyfall,” on night one of back-to-back shows at the American Airlines Arena was quintessential Adele.
“Every morning, the first thing I see when I go for my morning wee is an Oscar.”
At first glance, Adele appears to be just like the rest of us — a survivor of heartbreak with the mouth of a sailor and a tendency to get chatty when she's nervous. Except, of course, she happens to have an Oscar sitting above her toilet and has sold enough albums to cover the surface of the moon. “It's a sign of respect” for Brits to keep their awards in their bathrooms, she insists.
If her collaborator, Dan Wilson of the band Semisonic, has a ready-made showstopper with “Closing Time,” then Adele took a note from his page when she opened the show, naturally, with her blockbuster hit “Hello.”
After, she took the first of many breaks to chat with the audience, bringing up a recently engaged gay couple to the stage to take selfies and polling the audience to find out how many people had been dragged to the show by their significant others. “I won't be offended,” she said as a handful of people raised their hands. Perhaps they expected some form of requital when they got back home after the show (“this show is all about sex, really,” she reminded the audience), but seeing Adele sing “Rumour Has It” at the most anticipated concert of the year is, well, just about better than sex.
She sang at the foot of the stage as her band played from behind a netted screen, reiterating who the star of the show was, in case anyone could have forgotten. The stage design struck a pleasant balance between the usual arena show theatrics and the more intimate theater setup which Adele prefers. There were dramatic video interludes, but rather than using them as distractions from a costume change like her pop-star peers, she turned around to watch them along with the audience.
An acoustic set followed midway through the show, including 21 heartbreaker “Don’t You Remember” and “Million Years Ago,” which Adele explained was about missing those teenage years when friendship took precedence over anything else, before husbands and responsibilities got in the way of girls' night.
The one downer of the night (other than, of course, having vivid flashbacks of your most traumatizing romantic memories), was when Adele brought up the election, which everyone was there to forget. “Just don't vote for him,” she said to rapturous applause from twenty thousand swing state voters who will hopefully second that sentiment by actually going to the polls to cast a ballot.
She dedicated her 19 Dylan cover “Make You Feel My Love” to the Pulse Nightclub shooting victims. “It hit me really hard,” she said as the room lit up with cell phone flashlights per her request.
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Making her way to the other side of the arena for a closing set, she took some time to speak to fans about her no-spoiler thoughts on The Walking Dead (she can't take Negan seriously as a head basher because he was in P.S. I Love You), apologized for being too chatty (it calms her stage fright, she admits), and sang some of Missy Elliott's ”Work It” as she posed for fan pictures of her “bum.”
She followed that with her breakthrough song “Chasing Pavements” and a triumphant “Set Fire to the Rain,” surrounded by a wall of falling water.
Before saying goodbye for good, Adele returned for an encore with “When We Were Young” and twirled around joyously as her dress billowed and confetti rained down during “Rolling in the Deep.”
“Life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago,” she lamented in song earlier, but Adele’s still throwing parties — they just take place in arenas, and there are a few thousand more invited guests.