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Someone Like Adele

Marisa Kouroubacalis

Photo courtesy of Paul Marotta / Getty Images for BT PR

Review by Marisa Kouroubacalis

I have yet to come across a person who doesn’t like Adele.  When someone asks me my favorite artists, I feel like listing her name is too cliché to even say.  It’s a no brainer.  Adele has been on the scene for quite some time, but hardly anyone has actually seen her live.  She hasn’t toured for over five years.  I wondered myself, “Can she really sing like on her album in real life?”  I am now truly embarrassed that I even questioned such a thing, because, not only does she sing like the album, but she sings even better than the album.

On September 14, I got to see Adele in concert at the TD Garden in Boston, a concert I highly anticipated since I received tickets for my birthday last December.  I have been to a lot of concerts (over 100), but not one of them compares to this one.  I was in so much shock I couldn’t even talk or try to sing along.  I watched the show covered from head to toe in chills, staring as every perfect note left Adele’s mouth.  Speechless.  Impossible.

From the first song, “Hello,” I felt as though I were in the presence of an angel or a goddess.  This may sound like an exaggeration, but I personally feel it doesn’t even capture the feeling strongly enough.  The whole audience focused every ounce of attention on her performance.  Jaws were locked hanging open and eyes didn’t dare to blink.

The first song finishes.  She starts to talk.  Her thick cockney accent engulfs every word.

“Hello everybody, I’m Adele!  Oh, it’s so nice to finally meet you in person!  Thank you for coming!  I’m so lucky to get to spend my night with all of you!  If you came to have a good time, I’m so sorry to say that I think you’ve come to the wrong place, because if you know me, I sing quite melodramatic sad songs that make you ball your eyes out.”

Everyone laughs.  That beautiful, serious, finessed singing voice comes out of her?

She sings her next song, but in the middle, she doesn’t sing a line and waves to two small little girls in the audience.  She then swiftly resumes singing.

After the song finishes, she announces with a giggle, “Whoops, sorry I didn’t sing that line, but I was terribly distracted by these adorable little ones in the front.  Come up on stage girls!  Mom and Dad too!”

She brings up two little girls and their parents.  She takes her time saying “hello” to them, introducing herself, asking the little girls questions about how they like school, taking pictures with the starstruck parents, etc.  We all watch in the audience in disbelief.

Original photo courtesy of author.

Original photo courtesy of author.

The funny part is Adele doesn’t even realize she is Adele.  She even makes fun of herself frequently throughout the show.  She just seems like an everyday British girl who is interviewing to be a nanny or something.  Mary Poppins, perhaps?  There is still something quite special about her no matter how normal she acts.

She goes back to singing with that awe-inspiring voice, and that presence of something greater than life fills the room again.  We all stare without even moving.  You could hear a pin drop.  

She then finishes the song and talks about how she went to a Boston donut shop over the last “lovely few days” she has spent in Boston and asks if she went to “the best donut place around.”  

“I had my first Boston cream donut!” she proudly declares.  “It was so good, I had four!” she says even prouder with a big grin.  The audience bursts into laughter.

She talks for a long time in between each song.  She tells personal stories, she digresses because she thinks of something funny to tell as well, and she asks individuals in the audience questions as if they’re lifelong friends of hers.

“I was quite worried about performing for such giant audiences,” she reveals.  “I was afraid that it would take away from our connection with each other.”

She makes it her priority to form a connection with every person in the room.  The show was truly half talking, half singing, but it was much needed.  

While she talks, we all catch our breaths and feel like ourselves again, before that voice fills our soul and takes over our whole being.  It is so perfect that it seems as though it were a strategy or clever tactic to help us all leave there in one piece.  It was no tactic.  She was just being herself.  She was just being Adele.

She performs every single song you’d want to hear.  She has a stage at both ends of the arena and performs on a smaller stage for the people further back.  She breaks for an acoustic set to make for a more intimate feel, because she wants everyone to feel included and close to her.  She also wants everyone to really hear her sing.  No smoke and mirrors.

While she performs “When We Were Young,” there is a video screen behind her that displays her childhood photographs.  An adorable 6 year old redhead appears playing with her friends from school.  Even then, something about her looked like a star.

Before the show finishes, she performs two encores.  When she finally closes with “Rolling in the Deep,” confetti with little phrases that she wrote by hand falls from the sky.  They read: “Thanks for coming! Xo” and “All my love, Adele.”  They look like little notes a best friend or loved one would write with great care.  Something about seeing these thoughtful messages in her personal handwriting made a really special connection with the audience members.  Instead of all rushing out to beat the traffic, many took the time to read the carefully written notes that fell upon their lap.

And just as Mary Poppins vanished, she left the stage.