We've got a tough decision to face Miami: Beyoncé or Adele? With ticket prices in the triple digits, chances are you can only afford one. Unless you are Beyoncé or Adele, in which case not only can you afford a ticket, you can afford several thousand, fashion them all into a life-size manikin, and then buy your artificial ticket-human a brand new house in Malibu.
But we normal folk have to be practical. And, boy, is this a tough one.
In case you haven't heard the news, Beyoncé is kicking off her tour in Miami on April 27. Also, congratulations on freeing yourself from the boulder you've been trapped under for the last 72 hours. And in case you also haven't heard, Adele is coming to Miami for two back-to-back shows in October. Also, congratulations on emerging from your three-month long coma. You clearly have bad luck and should wear a helmet/stay away from large rocks.
Beyoncé or Adele? This is like choosing between a child except Beyoncé or Adele are much more awesome than your children and have never pooped on you. Probably.
This is actually much harder than choosing between children, because, let's face it, even though you don't say it out loud, you definitely have a favorite offspring. I mean, one has a lot of trophies and it takes the other two weeks to multiply two fractions together. But this is Beyoncé and Adele we're talking about. How do you even begin to compare two talents so unique and important?
Well, we're going to try, and in the end we will have an answer. It's going to hurt and we might lose friends and alienate people along the way, but this a question that needs examining. Let's break it down point-by-point.
We're going right for the jugular here: who's more talented? But let's make a distinction first. Beyoncé and Adele's talent is unquestionable and immense and, most importantly, very different. They share similar skills but their abilities veer from each other's in many different categories. So, yes, it's pointless and probably impossible to quantify whose level of talent reaches the highest. But what we can do is analyze each singer's talent and try and decide which would be more interesting to watch live onstage with thousands of screaming, likeminded people. Vocally, we have to go with Adele here. The notes she hits and holds — the sonic power she can so skillfully deploy and retract — it would give a dead opossum goosebumps and it holds up just as well in a live setting as it does on a recording. Beyoncé trails in raw vocal ability, but just barely (those four consecutive key changes in "Love On Top" never fails to make me reach for a new pair of underwear). But what she lacks in vocals, she makes up tenfold with the ability to comprehensively entertain. Adele is a Ferrari, built for one specific purpose: speed. Beyoncé is a Ferrari that doubles as a jetski and airplane and microwave that will also do your taxes and send emails for you. And for that reason, Beyoncé ekes out this category.
Who's at a more pivotal point in their career? Context is everything. Yes, seeing Paul McCartney live today is a great honor, but what rational person wouldn't hop in a time machine to watch the Beetles play The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 if given the opportunity? Actually, I can think of a few groups of people who don't want to go back to 1960s America, but you get what I'm saying. When you finally get the grandchildren to put down their iPhone 74's and gather round, who will they be more impressed to hear that you saw in the year 2015, before microchips implanted in our brain allowed everyone to be at the same concert at once (until, of course, the 129-year-old hybrid cyborg President Trump banned music once and for all because it was "too gay"). Here, we have to go with Adele. Yes, Beyoncé is perfect and amazing and all the other cliches we've come to associate with her, but Adele is smack dab in the middle of something truly special, what athletes refer to as their "prime." Her newest album, 25, just became only the sixth album since 2001 to sell 8 millions copies. What's happening to her now is the same thing that happens when Super Mario eats a mushroom. She's huge and powerful and crushing everything in her path. If you trace back the career of each iconic artist, you can pinpoint a chunk of time — it can be a year, a week, a decade — where that artist is firing on all cylinders, flying with almost supernatural ability. Its arguable that both Beyoncé and Adele are in this rectangle of their respective careers, but Adele is shifting into a gear we didn't know she had. And to witness that firsthand, that would be special.
A concert, at its best, is more than just music. It's an experience. The sound and color and $15 beers — it all adds up to an experience. So, whose going to put on a better show? There is something to be said about the understated elegance of Adele live. The ingredients are straightforward and fresh, presented simply yet gorgeously on a clean white plate. People come to here Adele sing and she doesn't beat around the bush. But, dude, who are we kidding? When it comes to production — lasers, dancing, fire, spectacle — nobody beats Beyoncé. I mean, just look at her hair. It's literally always blowing in the wind. Always. She could be locked in an underground bunker seven miles beneath the earth's crust with no electricity and her hair would still be dancing like it was made out of feathers. You could shave Beyoncé's head like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta and, the second you blinked, her hair will have miraculously sprouted back to life, glistening in the breeze.
2. Cultural Importance
When it's all said and done — when we're six feet beneath the ground and polar bears are a thing of the past — who will have a bigger spread in the history books? Both Beyoncé and Adele have forever altered the way we look at female celebrities. The two are as positive a role model as a child could ever hope to have, preaching honesty, courage, and authenticity at ever turn. At the 2012 Grammy Awards, a tearful Adele laughed as she accepted her award for Album of the Year, wiping at her nose as she said, "Oh, I've got a bit of snot." What a message to send to the young girls of America: It's okay to have a bit of snot. We're just human, after all. Adele has showed the world that vulnerability and self-confidence can coexist triumphantly. What Beyoncé did was different but equally as important. In 2001, she along with the rest of Destiny's Child, told women around the world that not only was it permissible to have a little bit of jelly, but you could do with that jelly whatever the hell you please. Since then, she's been teaching the world how to be a survivor, how to be single, and how to be irreplaceable. Simply put: Beyoncé makes you feel like you can run the world, while Adele makes you feel like you understand it a little better. For that, both are heroes, and we have ourselves a tie.
Winner: All of us.
1. Special Guests
And so it comes down to this: Who is more likely to give you that extra bang for your buck? The last time Queen B was in Miami, she brought along her husband, Jay-Z. Yes, they were technically touring together, but it was still a sweet two-for-one deal. On her last self-titled album, Beyoncé's list of collaborators include Frank Ocean, Drake, and Jay-Z. She hasn't announced any details about opening acts or support on this tour yet — and she's more than capable of carrying a show all on her own — but when you compare B's list of collaborators with the fact that Adele's last album was a completely solo effort (no guest features at all), the odds on this one are with Beyoncé. We might get no one at Beyoncé's concert. Or we might get Jay-Z or Drake or a Destiny's Child reunion. This is, after all, Beyoncé's first show of the tour. If there ever was a time to pull out all the stops, it would be live in Marlins Park.
And so, even though there is no wrong choice here, if you can only afford to go to one show, we have to counsel you to pick Beyoncé. If you can afford to go to neither, we unofficially recommend you burrow your way into Marlins Park like El Chapo. Godspeed.
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Winner and champion: Beyoncé.
Adele. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, October 25 and 26, 2016, 7:30 p.m. American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; aaarena.com. Tickets cost $36.95 to $146.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com.
Beyoncé. 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Marlins Park, 501 Marlins Way, Miami; 305-480-1300; miami.marlins.mlb.com. Tickets cost $45 to $305 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Presale tickets are available starting February 9; general public tickets go on sale Tuesday, February 16, at 10 a.m.