“Hello…” echoes out loud thrice into a stadium packed full with 90,000 fans all united in spirit, to witness and experience a very spectacular occasion in music history, as a world class singer is unveiled behind a mammoth screen displaying feline painted eyes, slowly raised above a circled stage. This world class singer who is none other than Adele, opened her second of four nights at Wembley Stadium – tour finale, with her 2015 comeback single ‘Hello’, which carried a heavy bass from her drummer as to say the singer had arrived. She graced the stage wearing a crystal embedded, custom-made Burgundy gown, designed by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad – taking only a whopping 500 hours to make. ‘Hello’ was a fitting opener song for the reason that Adele had finally returned back to her hometown, London, after spending almost a year and a half on a world tour. Starting in Belfast in February 2016, her tour has taken her from countries such as Sweden, Italy and Germany to the United States and Mexico, right through to Australia and New Zealand, and finally back to London, England.
The night was a little bit of an emotional roller coaster, pre-warning fans Adele joked “Are you ready to have a good time? …two hours of me moaning about my ex-boyfriends”. Center stage like a music conductor, Adele took the crowd on a journey into a glimpse of her personal life, with photo montages from her childhood, zoetrope inspired animations and artsy abstract films of herself all appeared on screen; crafted and curated specially for each song. These were paired with heartfelt performances of ‘Someone Like You’, ‘When We Were Young’ and ‘One and Only’, along with spine tingling belts during her performances of ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ and ‘Skyfall’. Commanding the crowd into moments of outrageous bursts of laughter in-between songs, Adele shared funny anecdotal stories and commentary on issues that irked her about modern day society, fame and popular culture (insert instagrammed photos of scantily cladded women). The singer was quickly able to make the audience shift from feeling they had been nursing an unknown broken heart, to feelings of elation with performances of her hit songs ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and ‘Set Fire To The Rain’, set against a display of punchy, on beat fireworks and confetti cannons.
During her show Adele paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, encouraging people to donate, she told the crowd “I’m raising money for the people who live in that block, or who lived in it rather, and those that survived, and I think it’s important that they get money, that they get to control. And although a lot of money was raised and is still being raised – don’t get me wrong. There’s no central point, there’s no organisation to the aftermath of what happened. And this money I want to keep it aside until they know exactly what they want it for and how they want it spent on them, and I can promise you I can make that happen”. She continued by encouraging the crowd to keep talking about the Grenfell Tower tragedy in honour of the victims, then went on to sing her tear jerking cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’. Though suffering from vocal cord damage which have now led to the cancellation of her last two London tour dates, Adele further displayed her vocal ability, this time her lower register, singing ‘Hometown Glory’ which also paid tribute to the Grenfell Tower fire victims, with visuals of London and a scene of the now empty tower displayed on screen.
To the contrary of her opening song ‘Hello’, could these final London shows be her last? It is reported Adele has hinted throughout her tour she will be retiring from touring. In her tour programme she left a handwritten message for fans.
An excerpt reads: “So this is it after 15 months on the road and 18 months of 25 we are at the end….Touring is a peculiar thing, it doesn’t suit me particularly well. I’m a real homebody and I get so much joy in the small things. Plus I’m dramatic and have a terrible history of touring. Until now that is!…And I wanted my final shows to be in London because I don’t know if I’ll ever tour again and so I want my last time to be at home.”
It is rather ironic Adele feels she’s terrible at touring when she actually commands the stage very naturally and holds her own with her unscripted comedic dialogue and amusing banter with fans. These type of chit chats feel like you are having a good ol’ catch up with an old best friend. The only issue to raise would be the occasional sound tech issues for those sitting at the top of the stadium, and that most fans would happily agree a two hour set with Adele isn’t long enough. With all these ‘goodbye’ hints, only time will tell if Adele will make a return to the stage.
After all, who likes to say goodbye after a fun catch up with an old best friend?