Adele, one of the most popular British recording artists today, performed in the Royal Albert Hall in September 22, 2011 as part of her tour. The concert was recorded and released on DVD and Blu-Ray. Adele sang eighteen tracks throughout her performance: (1) Hometown Glory, (2)I’ll be Waiting, (3) Don’t You Remember, (4) Don’t You Remember, (5) Turning Tables, (6) Set Fire to the Rain, (7) If it Hadn’t Been For Love, (8) My Same, (9) Take It All, (10) Rumour Has It, (11) Right As Rain, (12) One & Only, (13) Lovesong, (14) Chasing Pavements, (15) I Can’t Make You Love Me, (16) Make You Feel My Love, (17) Someone Like You, and (18) Rolling In the Deep. The tracks are from Adele’s debut and sophomore albums, 19 and 21. “Lovesong,” “Make You Feel My Love,” If It Hadn’t Been For Love,” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me”are the only songs that Adele did not write herself; as the first song was written and originally performed by The Cure, the second one was by Bob Dylan, the third track was by The Steel Drivers, and the fourth one was written by Allen Shamblin and Mike Reid and originally performed by Bonnie Raitt.Adele’s songs are categorized as both pop and soul.
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During her performance, in between some songs, Adele talked about her memories and experiences that inspired her to write the lyrics to her music. Based on the song lyrics, Adele is greatly influenced by her experiences in previous romantic relationships, especially the sad, disappointing, heartbreaking, and bitter ones. The major themes of her songs include conflicts between lovers, separation, unrequited love, abandonment and the despair that follows, and longing for someone’s love or attention. During the concert, Adele also admitted that the songs she selected to cover had sad and depressing themes. For instance, Adele mentioned that the song “If It Hadn’t Been For Love”by the Steel Drivers is about a man who ends up killing his wife. Because of the major themes in Adele’s songs, her music is often characterized by slow and mellow tempo and weak rhythm. She only performed two or three songs with fast tempo – “I’ll be Waiting,” “Right As Rain,” and “Rumour Has It,” with the drums and guitar as the dominant accompaniment in these songs. In other songs, the accompaniments included the violin and the piano. In the song “Turning Tables,”in particular, the violin and the piano were the only accompaniments, while in “Hometown Glory,” there was only the piano. Adele had two back-up singers aiding her vocals.
Like any other performance, there were also flaws in Adele’s performance. During her performance of “Turning Tables,”the harmony was noticeably discordant between the violin, piano, and Adele’s singing. Adele was singing too fast, while the piano accompaniment was slower than the violin. Later on, while performing “Take It All,”Adele asked to start all over, because her pitch was off on the first few notes. During her performance of the song “One & Only,”Adele was also unable to hit some notes properly. During one of her speeches, however, she mentioned that she is recovering from an illness, which explains some few failings in her singing, and asked the audience to bear with her. Aside from those previous mistakes, she also fumbled the words to her song “Rumour Has It”towards the end. Realizing her mistake, Adele made obscene gestures at the end of the song while the lights were off. Aside from the obscene gestures, Adele also constantly used curses during the concert, making it one of her most controversial performances.
Despite the flaws and controversy, the audience enjoyed Adele’s performances. Towards the end, Adele performed one of her greatest songs, “Someone Like You.” During the song, she asked the audience to sing with her, and judging from the viewers’ voices, almost everyone obliged. Adele’s performance was so powerful that the audience gave her a standing ovation, after which she became emotional. The concert was concluded with another popular song, “Rolling In the Deep.”Adele was still emotional, thus, her performance was a little off beat and off-key. The powerful rhythm of the drums and the guitar and the accompaniment from her back-up singers helped with the performance. She also had brief pauses by asking the audience to sing along. After the song, Adele waved to the audience and left the stage.
Adele is such a charismatic and entertaining performer that it is easy to enjoy oneself while watching her perform. She is not only talented, but she also has a special way of engaging the audience with her stories. Adele’s success reflects the greatness and uniqueness of her talent, but watching her live performances shows her candid side, which helps viewers appreciate her more not only as a singer but also as a person. I was personally entertained because not only does she write deep and soulful songs that most people can feel and relate to, she is also a receptive person, unguarded, and sincere, with a wicked sense of humor; and from watching the audience filmed in the concert, they were palpably entertained because of the same reasons. The set at the Royal Albert Hall also contributed to the success of her concert. The set-up was closed, intimate, and simple, as if the stage was designed so the audience will only focus on Adele and her voice. All in all, Adele is a powerful and captivating performer, and despite the flaws, she is undeniably talented.
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