The Gabba 04.03.2016
Not since Jeff Thomson opened the bowling from the Vulture Street end in 1975 has an entire city been so unified in events at the Gabba. Tonight, Adele was playing to a capacity crowd in the round. Before she hit the stage the audience were entertained with a killer mix tape that included everybody from Simon and Garfunkel to Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in The Sky’.
All eyes were on Adele’s eyes as a structure the size of Apollo 11 sat in the middle of the stadium projected a still shot, and then a video, of the singer’s heavily lashed lids… closed tight.
Finally, the eyes open, the screen lifts and there’s Adele belting out ‘Hello’. Walking the 360 degree stretch of the stage, the singer has the audience enthralled from the outset.
Next comes ‘Hometown Glory’ and ‘One and Only’. Adele welcomes us with her best Australian accent. She explains she is used to playing Arenas, but a Stadium, in the round no less, is an entirely different ball game. She might chatter on a bit, she adds, but that’s due to her nerves. Frankly, this woman could do stand up, so it’s a win/win.
‘Rumour Has It’ moves things up a gear and is followed by ‘Water Under The Bridge’ and ‘I Miss You’. It’s humid in the stadium, but it’s damn hot on stage. ‘Even my eyelids are sweating’, she reveals. Still, it doesn’t stop the powerhouse voice.
Next comes one of centrepieces of the night, ‘Skyfall’. Adele talks about how the song came into being and how playing cool when initially talking to the Bond producers almost cost her the gig. Thankfully she got it. A male choir, who look good, but do block site lines on the floor, join her. Tonight, the song is incredible.
Throughout, Adele chats with a familiarity that is totally engaging. Sharing her love/stalking of Alison Krauss, right through to how she spent her day, the talk both calms her and sets the songs up beautifully. Next comes a stunning interpretation of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’.
The video installation pieces are first rate. The sound is superb. Adele’s voice echoes during the banter for the first half an hour, but that’s somehow rectified. The set and stage are grand enough to pull off the notion of one performer, with a band tucked away almost under the stage, to work in a venue this size. As the latter half of the set is filled with hits and album tracks, the main set concludes with fireworks as the front rows are showered with song lyrics during ‘Set Fire To The Rain’.
After a few video tricks, Adele returns in a velvet suit to perform a three song encore. We won’t give away any spoilers, but ‘Rolling In The Deep’ is amazing and remains one of the great soul/pop songs of the new millennium. Adele herself marries the soul of Dusty Springfield with the vigour of Cilla and is one of the greats of the new generation.
A magic night. Adele is not to be missed.
Words: Sean Sennett
Photo credit: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.
Tour Dates: The Gabba, Brisbane March 5. ANZ Stadium, Sydney March 10, March 11. Adelaide Oval, Adelaide March 13. Etihad Stadium, Melbourne March 18, March 19. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland March 23, March 25, March 26. For complete tour, ticketing and VIP Package information, visit: adele.com/live or livenation.com.au.