When news spread that Adele would film a one night only show at Radio City Music Hall, tickets became a frenzy. Instead of monetizing fans and charging the boat loads of money that could be charged for Adele’s first US show in years, tickets were given away for free, lottery style. I was not selected, nor was any member of the EST. 1997 staff. So why am I writing this? Well, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Over the weekend I jokingly came up with this ridiculous idea: go stand outside the show with a sign that reads “Hello from the outside. At least I can say that I’ve tried.” Hysterical, no? I mentioned this to a colleague at my full time job, who thankfully had the perseverance to get me to get some poster board and make it happen, along with his help. We never could have guessed our result.
We stood across the street from Radio City, and asked someone to take our photo, holding up the signs with the marquee behind us. As the photo was being taken, a man said to us “Get in the line behind you. You’ll be very happy.” So we did. 2 hours later, after watching everyone else with tickets file into the venue, we were escorted across the street (like a mob), and were seated in the orchestra, dead center.
Adele was already into her set, but seeing her again (projected massively above the stage), radiant, glowing, and effortlessly vocally recreating her studio recordings was overwhelming. She was digging back into her 19 era when we were seated, jumping from “Hometown Glory” to “Chasing Pavements” and never missing a note. Between songs, she joked, cackled, and despite being taped for prime time, cursed like a sailor. It’s that charm that makes her so enduring and like able.
She also debuted new material from her highly anticipated new album 25. An unexpected union of Adele and Bruno Mars yielded the amazing “All I Ask.” The beautiful, piano driven ballad is this album’s “Turning Tables,” but with an ascending, black key-driven hook on steroids. “Million Years Ago” is acoustic, with a heavy dose of nostalgia. Of course, the much talked about “When We Were Young” was also performed. She called the song her “favorite thing she’s ever written” and gave its co-writer, Tobias, who was in the audience, a much-deserved shout out.
A standout moment was another 19 throwback, “Daydreamer” where Adele donned a guitar for the first time in “years.” She made note of all the songs she’s written on guitar (“Chasing Pavements,” “Someone Like You”) and joked about almost slicing her finger off during rehearsal. Another opportunity to make a joke, she bemoaned having to remove her perfect nails so she could play guitar, and joked that she looked like she had potato fingers now (insert cackle).
She rounded out the set with her third-ever performance of her Academy Award winning composition, “Skyfall.” While the stage was adjusted for the performance, she noted that the song was written very low because she wrote it while pregnant, and her pregnancy resulted in her voice dropping “down like a man,” before polling the women in the audience to see if they could relate (they could). There were also a few obligatory cuts from 21: “Set Fire To Rain,” “Someone Like You,” and the closer, “Rolling In The Deep.” The latter two were turned into sing-a-longs at Adele’s request, and the crowd willingly filled the hall with their voices.
After the show, I did the shameless post-up-at-the-stage-door routine many of us are known for doing. I met Adele 5 years ago and had an opportunity to get a photo with her, but squandered it. I wasn’t letting that happen again. The flawlessly made up Adele eventually manifested out the Stage Door, walked over to us, and started signing autographs. I got her attention and referenced the event we last met at (an intimate showcase), and her eyes got wide. The selfie was taken, and my 5-year old error was corrected (and crazy as I look, it all fits so well). Be sure to tune in for the whole show on December 14th on NBC. Adele’s 25 is released this Friday, November 20.