My Night at Adele’s Concert

Two beetles, a small-scale debate about tv soap operas, a cackle and purple sequin ball-gown: this is a recount of the night I spent with Adele.

Last Thursday, Adele arrived in Auckland, New Zealand to perform her final three concerts after a year of touring. Her audience of 45,000 people were greeted by her larger than life eyes, adorned in her trademark eyeliner, on four screens hugging the centre stage. The eyes remained shut until just before 8:00pm when a “hello” echoed throughout the stadium. Her eyes snapped open as the screens slowly lifted to reveal Adele standing centre stage surrounded by a whirlwind of purple taffeta, ready to sing for the next two hours.

It was at this point I resigned myself to the fact I would never see her equal again in my lifetime.

Adele means a lot to people and I am no exception. The majority of my teenage angst was largely lived out through the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack… and I was first introduced to Adele when Hometown Glory was featured during the season four finale. Since then I have been a dedicated fan. I have purchased physical copies of Adele’s CDs (quite a feat in an age where CD stores are rapidly closing), so I could have her music in the car (alas, I have no aux chord). Over the last seven years I have sung along to every song on the way to uni, on the way home from work and during emotionally charged drives pre and post taxing social events. At Adele’s concert on Thursday I discovered the only thing better than listening to an Adele album is listening to her live.

Adele’s concert was a spectacle. The audience danced to Rolling in the Deep, lit up their phones during Make You Feel My Love in solidarity with London following the terror attack earlier that day, became fixtures in a Bond film during Skyfall and participated in group therapy by singing Someone Like You. Although the magnitude of the event was immense the essence of the show was simple: the show was Adele. Every aspect of the concert, the circular centred stage, the screen and clips, even her band, were orchestrated to complement and enhance her performance, not to distract from Adele herself.

Credit: @adele’s instagram account from March 23.

The second best noise of the evening was Adele’s cackle. I love a woman that cracks up 45,000 people, as well as herself. Adele warned the crowd she is chatty when she is nervous. Rather than sounding like nervous ramblings, Adele was a polished improviser and stand-up comedian. Her humour provided the “she is one of us” persona, which is a large part of why she is so beloved. I too freak out when there are bugs in my space, argue about TV shows with friends and like to tell embarrassing stories about myself (the drama she went through to shoot the underwater video for Skyfall had the crowd in hysterics. It did not take away from the power of her performance though.) 

During her show Adele expressed her pride and surprise that she had managed to complete her stadium world tour. It was something she had never done before and as a homebody, something she may have preferred not to complete. The realisation that touring was out of her comfort zone only added to the happiness of the evening. All 45,000 of us were celebrating with her. Not many people know what it is like to perform to a stadium of people, but we all know what it means to have fears and be determined to overcome them.

Credit: @adele’s instagram account from March 23.

By Adele’s own admission most of her songs are miserable, and those that sound upbeat, do not necessarily carry that tone through to their lyrical message. I was prepared to cry throughout the concert, thinking of past injustices done unto me on a scale spanning past heartbreaks and flirtationships to the time the supermarket ran out of my favourite dip (aubergine and coriander FYI). Instead of weeping, I found myself fluctuating between a state of shock and complete joy. And I mean complete joy because nothing else could have made me happier in that moment.

I did not cry during Someone Like You, feel vengeful while Rolling in the Deep or get nostalgic during When We Were Young. While Adele may have been in these mindsets when she initially wrote the songs, as she said on Thursday, she has found someone even better and moved onto better things. While she continues to sing these songs, she is the personification of joy when doing so. As I watched her on Thursday, I saw her become visibly moved when she heard the stadium sing her songs back to her. Her songs have transcended their original message. They are now cornerstones of her career and progression through life, which have seen her become a happy and successful young woman. And while she is no longer experiencing the emotions that originally inspired the songs, they still touch thousands of people, and that is their new legacy to her.

When I reflected on the concert I wondered if I did not experience it properly because I did not cry. After all, crying is an emotion synonymous with Adele’s body of work. Then I realised, like Adele, the emotions I felt when I used to sing along with her CDs are no longer part of my life and haven’t been for sometime. In realising those emotions were no longer present, I experienced a burst of joy and danced and yelled and wahooed my way through the two hour concert, delighting in Adele’s triumphs and my own small ones.

Thank you Adele, you are a gift to humanity.

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