To try to introduce Adele. Well, that would be a complete waste of time. We all know who she is, so … on with the story. But, here is the back story of Instinct’s recent adventure getting tickets and spending some time with the star.
Adele was scheduled to kick off a series of residency shows in Las Vegas, offering a more intimate experience with her audience, and just hours before the first show, she canceled it, and had to go do some serious work, on herself, and the show, if she was going to feel good about what she was giving to us. With shock and speculation, many of us were waiting to see what would eventually happen.
We were lucky enough to score tickets, by winning a “lottery-like” slot to get into an electronic Ticketmaster torture chamber to be able to buy tickets. It was insane, the anxiety of sitting in a waiting room for 20 minutes with a screen saying, “There are 2000 people ahead of you” while it worked its way down.
Finally, the fates helped and we were able to score 4 tickets. We might as well have won the lottery for real. We found out later that the tickets next to ours were on scalper sites within a day… selling for $6000 each. One of our 4 tickets was going to a certain gay musician who I am friends with, (Not going to mention any names) but he got engaged on Christmas Eve, and said it would end his engagement in sheer disaster if he were to go without his fiancé… So, well, I had to sell that one. (I was reasonable, didn’t ask for 6K).
So, that was in August 2022, and we waited until February 11, 2023, it was a very long wait.
Venue: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: February 11, 2023
Long-term Vegas Residencies are nothing new in Vegas, it all started with Elvis Presley, and has had everyone from Frank Sinatra, to Lady Gaga, to now, Adele… I will just let you know, this one is the crowning event so far.
We made the trek to Las Vegas from Salt Lake City and were counting the minutes all that day until she performed in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. If you ever wondered how excessive Las Vegas can get, just check out Caesars Palace. The Colosseum and its stage seemed to have been remodeled and redesigned just for this residency. There was an “Adele Boutique” selling all the merch from hoodies to shot glasses, all with Adele’s face and signature on it.
And then, the concert began.
There was a white piano on the stage sitting between two large partitions of a curtain making an “A”, and that was where the show began. A well-dressed man came out, sat at the piano, and started playing “To Be Loved,” and Adele came out a few moments later to kick up “Hello.” It is her biggest hit, and I wondered why she opened with that one, well, how else would you open a show by saying “Hello?” It was subtle, but she had everyone cheering by the first chorus we heard her deliver with all the force and elegance her voice could offer. We all kind of stood there breathless as she went through the next verse, and we were all under her spell by the 2nd chorus.
Then the piano went into “Easy On Me” and she asked us all to sing the first line for her. The audience was happy to, and we kept on singing with her, while she just made us all feel very weak up against what she was doing, it was just a magical moment.
And on the turn of a dime, Adele started talking and went from this elegant angelic soul-inspiring vocalist to the friendliest girl from South London. She said “(H)ello (H)ello (H)ello” as if she was Audrey Hepburn straight out of “My Fair Lady”, not quite a cockney accent, she could sound the letter “H” when she was singing. She introduced all of us to Eric, her pianist, and told us this was her 22nd show, and she was having the time of her life, dropping f-bombs with unspeakable charm. She instantly was everyone’s best friend and was happy to tell us about how much fun she was having, and she was expecting all of us to be having just as much fun as she was.
She assured us all that after canceling and redoing it all, she was going to give us a great show. She mentioned “Easy On Me” winning a Grammy for a piano ballad, and then she went off about why she wrote “Turning Tables” and explained it was inspired by the Lazy Susan on the table at a Chinese restaurant. It was the 3rd piano ballad, and we were all hypnotized by then.
After that, she decided to talk about going to see Rihanna the next day at the Super Bowl, then she told the story about “Take It All.” She reminded us about the relationship she was in at the time and how it shaped the whole album “21.” She confessed to learning about American Country Music while being a chain smoker hanging out with her tour bus driver. Then she invited her backup singers Lauren, Amanda, and Katie to join her.
PAUSE BUTTON. – I am going to shamelessly promote one of my favorite female vocalists here. Adele has some of the best female singers backing her up, and I know this because I have met and photographed one of them. Amanda Brown is a fantastic singer in her own right. She was one of the finalists on “The Voice” a few seasons back, then she was snatched up by Adele, and also sang backup for “The Killers” among other projects. I was blessed to see her first solo album tour “Dirty Water”. Amanda Brown is not just a soul or RnB singer, her album covered so many genres, the opening song on “Dirty Water” called “No Good” could have been a James Bond theme. She can nail it with Chaka Kahn, Aerosmith, and even Radiohead. The fact that she isn’t as huge as Adele is something I don’t understand. So, check out Amanda Brown’s “Dirty Water”, (They are all great) and her just-released EP called “From Here”. Give her a spin, and fall in love with her music, … You’re welcome.
NOW BACK TO ADELE.
She was joking with the audience for a minute then as if out of nowhere she started singing “Didn’t I Give It Up”… and it startled us cause it happened in mid sentence. That’s when the backup vocalists helped elevate the entire experience out of the piano ballad section, to “The Show.” This is what we all came here for, the music. I had not watched any bootleg phone videos, nor peeked at the setlists aside from my wife showing me a video clip here and there, I wanted to experience it like this.
We got “I Drink Wine” with almost a church choir behind her, and then “Water Under the Bridge”, which had the entire venue standing up and dancing. The full band was in view on stage now, everyone into the whole groove, singing “If you’re going to let me down, let me down easy.” It’s a great song, but much more of a catchy tune when done live.
Adele has a few fun moments in the show that has nothing to do with music. One instance was when she played “Seat Lottery” when she picked a set of seats from the highest tier in the way back, and invited the occupants to come sit in two seats in the front row as her guests. Tonight, there were two sets of seats open, one that she said, “Went to a scalper, or someone who was really rich and didn’t care to show up” and said to the lucky people she picked, “I want to meet you in a few minutes.” What are you supposed to do when that happens? You get up and go meet Adele.
Back to her banter with the crowd during the show. She introduced the next song saying, “This is to any ex-boyfriends or girlfriends you might have, and don’t like. I mean, I don’t really like any of mine either.” She kicked off “Send Me Love” and everyone was dancing in perfect rhythm. This is the moment of the show when you realize that the recorded version of the song sounds nowhere near as great as the live version. I love this song, but Adele live sounds so much better, even when she holds out the microphone and asks us all to sing the chorus with her. Suddenly we all felt like WE were her backup vocalists.
She gave us “Oh My God”, and “One and Only” in pure perfection and then paused to go down into the audience to met her “guests” in the front row seats, who she just invited down.
Adele will pride herself that she might be one of the biggest singers in the world right now, and she has NO problem making a complete fool of herself, doing something to her own expense, if she is going to get a good laugh with people. So, Adele in a glorious evening gown, her hair done up to the nines, and as glammed out as can be, said, “So, I decided to get a t-shirt gun, fuck it, it’s so much fun.” She gave a disclaimer, and said, “I know you’re all Americans, so don’t sue me” and she was handed a t-shirt gun. “If this hits you in the face, you had it comin'” and said that the shirts were signed. The then proceeded to shoot her fans in the worst seats in the venue with t-shirts. And being proud of herself for hitting the back row. I have seen her do things like this on TV, so, why should I have been surprised? She bantered with the audience about being 35, then more about the Super Bowl, asking who wanted the Eagles to win. But getting her pianist Eric to chime in that he was a Philly fan.
Then she went down into the audience to meet some of her fans. She chatted with Matt Williams, on his birthday, and his husband, and congratulated him for being married for 6 years. Then that they were a nice gay couple from Kansas. This was Adele just hanging out and getting to meet as many people as she could. Then one of the two songs I came to hear was “Don’t You Remember.” This one I felt rising and leaping out of my chest, I can’t properly describe how you feel when you hear her sing your favorite songs just a few meters away. I felt as if Alison Moyet had just come out of retirement and was singing “She Keeps on Whispering Your Name” (I can always dream right?).
The then drums started beating, sounding like an angry Nina Simone while she rolled into my all-time fave song of hers since I first fell in love with her work. “Rumor Has It” came to life with all the power it could harness. I was done at this point, nothing could have made a better moment.
She played “Skyfall” and the screens lit up with very “James Bond” imagery while what looked like an orchestra was on the screen behind her playing the strings. I realized it was an actual orchestra behind a thin enough string, stacked up like “Hollywood Squares.” This production was incredible, so much compressed into such a small place. This whole production must have cost a fortune, showing that Adele will give you nothing short of EVERYTHING.
When she played “Set Fire To The Rain,” a white piano on the stage was on fire, with rain pouring down on it (not really on fire but propane flames bursting out of it, nice effects though).
A few numbers later the venue was raining paper-printed copies of her Polaroid collection. Adele was sharing her memories with the rest of us and there were a lot of them.
She went down into the audience and just picked people and random and talked to them about where they were from, and what fun memories they had from childhood. She spent several minutes connecting with as many fans as she could, thanked all of us repeatedly for paying such insane prices for tickets, and said she hoped we all thought her show was worth what we paid for it. Don’t worry Adele, it was worth EVERYTHING. All of this goes into her song “When You Were Young.”
She played “Someone Like You” and we, the entire audience was singing along with her just because, well, she wanted us to. I am not ashamed to say, I was crying my eyes out to sing this to any lost loves in life up until now. It’s amazing what emotions she can pull out of you, just by asking you to sing with her. She thanked us all for coming and said “Have the BEST FUCKING 2023” assured us she had the time of her life that night, and gave us “Rolling In Deep”
To make sure we all knew a finale was coming she was on stage for “Love Is A Game” and we got the most unexpected exit. After thanking everyone she was on stage while a mountain of confetti was dropped on her, and she vanished through a trap door before it had all fallen. And like that, “POOF” Adele was gone, and we were all left in complete AWE.
After crying and lots of hugs from strangers, we wandered out of the venue in bewilderment at what we had just experienced. That was it, did we want anything more? I don’t think we could have asked for more. I am sure Adele speaks very little through the week, just so her voice can be ready to deliver a show like that, every weekend.
If you are into numerology, this was the 22nd show of her residency, 11th weekend, on Feb 11, that is 2-11, becoming 22. What can I say, the stars aligned and it buried any expectations we had. I will tell you this, I had very high expectations, and she buried them. Out of almost a thousand concerts in my life, this is one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.
I was back at my hotel and crashed, and missed a message from Amanda Brown to say “hi” by the stage door. A missed connection but, I’m sure the stars will align another time.
Thank you Adele from the instinct readers and family.
Here’s an Adele links, but, really? Do you need it?
Here is where you can find Amanda Brown