At the risk of perpetuating an absurdity, the words ‘diva’ and Adele have no reason to ever turn up in the same sentence. The ‘D’ word was jokingly invoked by the lady on stage – muttering that her tea was Earl Grey, and she doesn’t like Earl Grey – but the likelihood of Adele ever throwing a flouncy hissy-fit doesn’t seem very high.
I must admit, the BRIT School background made my cynical impulse flicker a little but there’s something about Adele’s scatty-yet-assured lack of self-consciousness that’s utterly disarming. There’s the talent too, of course. Not only can the girl sing; she can perform.
With her band arrayed on raised platforms behind her and a flashing sign above, Adele had a large expanse of the Alexandra Theatre’s stage to herself. Typically, she apologised to us for not dancing around and making use of it all.
The setlist comprised the whole of debut album ’19’ as well as covers of The Coral’s ‘Dreaming of You’ and Etta James’ ‘Fool That I Am’ – both excellent although the former had strong shades of Mark Ronson/Amy Winehouse’s Zutons cover.
For the most part the album tracks gained much from their live arrangements – the full band set-up breathing life into several songs that fell a little flat on record. That said, one of the highlights of the evening was a solo rendition of ‘Hometown Glory’, just Adele and her guitar alone in the spotlight.
Unlike some of her peers, and despite her background, there’s little hint of her being overly stage-managed. At least, if someone had taught her to flap around excitedly and run in circles when presented with a ‘happy birthday’ sign I’d be very surprised.
Professionalism was restored, however – the chatty, down-to-earth charm replaced with a strong yet easy-going performance of ‘Chasing Pavements’ that made me forgive and forget it’s teeth-grating radio ubiquity – and that’s no mean feat.
Right As Rain
Melt My Heart To Stone
Best For Last
Dreaming Of You (The Coral cover)
Make You Feel My Love
Crazy For You
Fool That I Am (Etta James cover)
(encore) Chasing Pavements