LAS VEGAS – Halfway through her first song on the opening night of a residency that many never expected to emerge, Adele mouthed the words, “I’m so happy.”
As the crowd of 4,100 indulgent fans blasted the chorus of – naturally – “Hello” back at the British star on Friday, Adele was all smiles, her nerves clearly relaxed.
Yes, she was happy.
Her devotees – many of whom spent thousands of dollars for the bragging rights of attending the first of 32 “Weekend with Adele” concerts at Caesars Palace – were happy.
And whatever concerns about the production caused Adele, 34, to cancel her original program of shows in January less than 24 hours before kick-off, well, her instinct was familiar.
This expression of artistry is a stunning two hours, even for casual Adele fans (although considering the ticket prices, this multi-generational audience was filled with the most die-hard fans).
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Between the dazzling video elements that lead along the massive Colosseum stage and her vocal repertoire on songs like “Take it All” from 2011’s sophomore album, “21” and the light galloping hit, “Water Under the Bridge,” he loved Adele’s presentation. .
Nor did she avoid any apologies.
“Thank you so much for coming back to me,” she told the crowd after singing the sublime “Easy on Me,” which she performed as she sat next to pianist Eric Wortham II.
This was the first of several mea culpas for stiffening the many fans who had traveled from around the world to attend her initial residency.
But Adele was clearly sincere when she said at the end of the show that cancelling, “was the worst feeling I’ve ever had, but the best decision I’ve ever made.”
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Her look was pure glam – a figure-hugging dark dress (with black stockings which she showed off nicely) and luxurious honey colored hair spilling over her bare shoulders.
But the mood was “having a few pints in an English pub” – rowdy, emotional and completely unscripted (“Were you at a pool party?” teased some latecomers). She attributed her outburst to nerves, but any Adele acolyte knows that she could spend the full two hours of the show delivering hilarious profanity-laced tales.
Although there was plenty of audience interaction (fans in the lower level were impressed that she came out to chat before belting out “When We Were Young” from the aisles), Adele clearly wanted the focus of this show to be on the music. .
On every song, whether it’s a newcomer (“I Drink Wine,” from her Grammy-nominated album “30”), or a catalog classic (“Send My Love [To Your New Lover],” performed under hot pink lighting), Adele’s voice was as perfect as her sculpted eyebrows and French hands.
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While the show opens quietly, with just Adele and Wortham on stage, her eventual introduction of her six-piece band, and, during the climactic “Skyfall,” a 24-piece string section, is making it clear that, despite the show, the song is what it’s all about. .
Adele remained in the same outfit throughout the show, leaving the stage briefly after about 90 minutes only to make way for the production elements accompanying “Set Fire to the Rain” – a stage-length waterfall , fire collided with him from the floor and a piano drowned.
The behemoth stage also features walls of video screens that cover the room – Adele’s expressive eyes and luminous smile appeared frequently – and sliding platforms for the band members.
Adele deftly sprinkled the 20-song set list with some of her own favorites, such as the soul-pop vocal triumph that was “God Only Knows,” along with the lights-throbbing gotta-plays of “Rumor Has It.” red, and the eternal pain “Someone Like You.”
But she also imbued her choice of songs – and her location – with consideration.
“Rolling in the Deep”, his rousing march, backed by Adele and her three hip-smacking backup singers, seemed like an obvious finale.
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Instead, she weighed in on the closing track on “30,” the majestic “Love is a Game.” The combination of strings and organ, a stage bathed in pastel colors and heart-shaped confetti pouring from the rafters imbued the song with cinematic beauty.
As the band steered the song to its final notes, Adele disappeared in a poof of fairy dust, a musical mirage that the fans – finally – got to see.