Based on some shows I’ve reviewed for the site in the past, you might find it odd that I would take the time to go see Adele live at Radio City. Mrs. Bastone won 2 free tickets for the show. I like Adele’s music well enough, she’s got a fantastic singing voice, and seems to be a real and likeable person. So, I’m game. Let’s play. We head off to see Adele.
I had already known before we started our excursion that the show was being filmed for a major television special. I expected that that would bring out a lot of industry insiders, celebrities, and other publicity seekers. So the fact that this could potentially be a bit of a pain in the ass was on the menu.
We get there and wait in an enormous queue of other ‘lucky’ contest winners. It becomes apparent that the crowd is split into three factions: the aforementioned industry people, your celebrity/privileged/invited guest types, and a horde of people who have won tickets from their local radio stations.
I warn my wife that we are likely to be placed as far back in the venue as is possible, figuring all the ‘beautiful’ people will be front and center for the cameras. To my surprise, we have great seats, 30-35 rows back in the orchestra, dead center. Famous people were sprinkled all around us. Donald Trump, who easily seemed to get the most play of all the celebrities (the crowd around him waiting to take a selfie with him before the show was obscene), was actually a handful of rows behind us. We spot Hoda and most of the other Today Show people nearby us. We see some current SNL cast members. We hear Bill Murray and Chris Christie are in the neighborhood. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Tina and Amy, the crowd is buzzing.
It takes three requests to slow down the starfucking a bit and we are directed to take our proper seats for the show to begin. Jimmy Fallon comes out to do the intro and, of course, has to say something that turns me directly off. He introduces Adele as ‘a voice that only comes along once in a generation’. Really. Really, Jimmy. The girl has released 2 records. One that had marginal success, and a 2nd that was an absolute monster. One of the best selling albums in recent memory and, admittedly, probably one of the best pop records released in the last few years, also. But why does everything that has some success automatically have to go to the best ever, the ultimate, and so on?
Adele takes the stage to her new hit single ‘Hello’. We are treated to a dozen tracks, plus an encore (‘Rolling in the Deep’), some new, many from the 21 album, and a couple off the first, 19, plus ‘Skyfall,’ the song she did for a James Bond movie. One of the new ones, that she co-wrote with Bruno Mars, ‘All I Ask’, is a particular standout. She spends a lot of time conversing with the audience. She truly seems thrilled to be back on stage, after a 4 year absence. She geniunely seems to be gobsmacked by the spectacle created for her in NYC. She is warm, funny, and everything we expect. Oh, and did I mention, her performance is flawless. The only thing that rustled my feathers a slight bit, was that she introduced a good half of the songs by saying in her Cockney accent, ‘this song changed my life’. Then again, who am I to judge. I think a large part of the reason Adele’s music holds such massive appeal is that when she sings these songs, you don’t just hear them, you feel them. If she can somehow keep that passion and energy going for an extended period, maybe the tag as ‘one of the voices of a generation’ will be apropos.
– John Bastone
(John is a frequent contributor to the Iris Records website and a revered and sage record/CD dealer. He also is the host of “Jangle Time,” a great power pop-ish program on WBXO Radio, Beekman, New York. We often stream his program in our store as we wind down our Sunday night on Brunswick Street. Find out more about WBXO programming schedule on their website, including the time and date of John’s next program.)