By Nathan Grech
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last fortnight, you’re probably aware that one mammoth voice shook the concrete foundations of Etihad Stadium to their core on March 18 and 19 this year. That voice belonged to the 28 year old humble but uber-talented Adele, the voice behind a James Bond theme, countless breakup songs, and three critically acclaimed studio albums.
Adele has been on tour for a good 12 months, and brought her world tour to Australia in support of her commercially record-breaking album 25 – a record about growing into her adult skin and healing from the trauma of the relationship breakdown that spawned 2011’s soulful and raw 21 album.
Opening the concert with the single that reached number 1 in almost every country it charted in, Adele announced her arrival with the haunting piano ballad “Hello”, an appropriate opening number that signalled her arrival at the show and served as a prelude for the rest of the evening to come.
Adele walked her circular-designed arena stage to belt out tunes from her three studio albums, and included the James Bond theme “Skyfall” accompanied by an all-male choir encircling her on stage to enhance the sonic experience for her audience. But perhaps more impressively, we saw why she has such a loyal and strong cross-generational fan base when she paused between songs to give insight into her life, her career and gain insight in return into her audience’s lives.
Her down-to-earth banter and engagement with the crowd both close to the stage and in the tiered seats high above (including people in penthouses in apartments outside the stadium who were lucky enough to have a view below into the Stadium) are a testament to her showmanship and skill as a performer. Across two nights in Melbourne, she managed to give a fan in the highest level of seating a personal letter out of pity for her impeded view, shoot signed t-shirts from a gun into the audience as mementos, use an electric fan on stage to mimic Beyoncé’s sassy hair flick and cool herself down, bring a small girl on stage to sing, and facilitated a man’s proposal to his partner by lending him her microphone.
These actions explain why Adele is so popular with everyone lucky enough to hear her sing. The importance of Adele’s concert lies not in her incredibly on-point vocal delivery. Rather, it is her ability to balance belting out her signature tunes with audience interaction and banter that creates a connection that is not replicable for many of her musical contemporaries.
Her concerts did not need choreographed dance moves or a glittering laser show to wow the audience. Instead, her pitch, tone, and the intimate nature she managed to create with the 70,000-strong crowd were more than enough to leave memories that will last a lifetime.
Although it’s unclear whether and when she will ever return to tour so far from her native England again, fans will eagerly await to see what the next move from Adele will be. And all the while we will be listening to her life story through soul, pop and rock-inspired tunes that invite us into Adele’s world and live her journey alongside her.