There really, truly is no other way to put it: Adele is incomparable. If you’d like to debate me on this, then go grab two glasses of water and we can get started, but you will lose. She’s a very authentic artist, an honest songwriter, and she has the most hilariously biting personality any human being could possibly possess. This much I always knew. But, there really wasn’t enough knowledge, preparation, or re-watching television interviews and awards speeches of hers on YouTube until 4 a.m. for several consecutive nights that could properly prepare me for the experience she graciously gave to the sold-out Los Angeles crowd at the Staples Center on Tuesday, August 9—one of a record-breaking eight sold-out shows at the venue on this tour of hers. I considered myself honored (and still do) to have been a tiny face in that crowd.
Prior to the show, I arrived at the Downtown Los Angeles hotspot hours before the doors even opened for two primary reasons: 1) so I could get my hands on one of those 150 limited edition lithographic posters that are sold for each and every show of hers, all individually customized with the date and location of the show, as well as a different photograph for each show (not just each city—they are literally exclusively—made for each and every single show), and 2) driving, parking, and the general form of existing is a nightmare in this city. And guess what? I not only got copy 122 of 150 of the posters, but I also got a premier parking spot in the garage across the street from the Staples Center. Dare I say the word “blessed?” (I just did.)
One other thing I really want to highlight before we get to the show itself: Adele’s ticket management with this tour. Her and her team brought the method of ticket sales to an absolutely incredible new height with this tour, as their primary goal was to legitimately establish a way for scalpers to not get their hands on tickets. After all, this tour was an anxiously-awaited one by millions and millions across the globe, and for several years, too. For non-fan club purchasers, they used the simple method of “show your ID and the credit/debit card you purchased the tickets with at the door in order to claim your tickets.” For fan club purchasers, the tickets were to be picked up at will call on the day of the show. These tickets were tucked into a folded blood orange piece of cardstock that read “Welcome to your evening with Adele” beneath the slit that held those high-demand prizes. That piece of cardstock was then tucked into a slick black sleeve, with the front of it having the songstress’ name embossed in gloss on the front. It was like we were all handed the envelopes for the Academy Awards. Nevertheless, with these two methods, there were very few ways for tickets to get into the hands of scalpers, which is a huge win for Adele, her team, and the future of the touring industry.
Now, on to the show! How did the music industry’s own commercial behemoth open? She rose from the bottom of the B stage in the center of the Staples Center. And those first three words…
“Hello, it’s me.”
DIVA. Rolling through tunes as notorious and strongly-worded as “Hello,” “Hometown Glory,” “One and Only,” and “Rumor Has It,” Adele started the electrified crowd off to a roaring start with some of the most familiar tracks of her discography. The finest thing I’ve ever seen in a concert was the occasional moment when she’d sing an album track from any of her three studio albums—19, 21, and 25—and the whole audience sings every word back to her. On “One and Only” (from 21), “Hometown Glory” (from 19), and “Water Under the Bridge” (from 25), the audience sang almost as strongly as the British songstress herself did. It was incredible to see a moment like that.
Anyone who knows Adele’s personality is aware of how much of a chatterbox she is. The woman talked our ears off. Ranging from the muscular status of her “bum” to how it doesn’t fit in the stools they provide for her on stage, and all the way to her favorite British foods she found while grocery shopping in a world market-esque store, she covered just about every talking point one could possibly think to cover for any conversation with any human being, ever. She went on so many tangents, all of which were absolutely adorable, hilarious, and charming. I really think I might be in love with Adele. Don’t tell the boy I’m dating.
One of the show’s highlights came when Adele went country. That’s right: she put on a straw hat, some shimmery black overalls, and sat on a hay barrel. (Kidding, but how fun would that be? Maybe she can corral Carrie Underwood for a collaboration and make my world complete.) Adele began to go into an in-depth discussion about her deep and profound love affair for Alison Krauss, how she loves her songwriting, and how her adoration for the country singer is just shy of borderline-stalker-ish. See? Adele’s just like everyone else! The moment in the show faded into her “country-est” song she’s ever done, “Don’t You Remember.” An album track off of 21, she brought her entire band to the center of the A stage, gathered around just a few microphones, and serenaded the audience. The performance was an incredibly striking moment; one that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced at any show, ever.
The rest of the show barreled through a string of other hits of hers—“Make You Feel My Love,” “Set Fire to the Rain,” “Someone Like You,” “Skyfall” (her James Bond song from the film of the same title, which went on to win her a damn Oscar), and “Chasing Pavements”—all of which were met with sing-alongs from the crowd. Adele’s powerhouse vocals soared through the arena, captivating each and every person’s attention with each passing tune.
Her encore was nothing short of spectacular, as she ripped through the nostalgic “When We Were Young” and finished off with the timeless “Rolling in the Deep.” As confetti barreled through the air, Adele brought down the house with her final notes, followed by a farewell that I never wanted to come.
The show was spectacular. Adele is spectacular. She is, again, incomparable.
CRAIG JAFFE | Ugh | Head Editor