Dion pioneered 21st century Vegas pop star residency when, in 2003, she began her hit four-year career, “A New Day.” But “Weekends With Adele” is a distinct evolution of the formula. Adele could easily have booked an international arena or stadium tour in support of her latest album, ’30’, which in the US and many other countries was the best-selling album of 2021. Instead of this, she asks the public to come to her, in a theater that seats around 4,000 spectators, circumventing the complications of touring in the age of Covid and minimizing disruption to the lives of her family in nearby Los Angeles. . (Other stars with a similar gravitational pull, like Harry Styles, have organized their tours as a series of residencies, a pattern that tends to reward fans willing and able to spend the top dollar on tickets and travel.)
“Weekends With Adele” never really felt like a promotional vehicle for “30,” though. Of the 20 songs on the set list, only five were from the new album, and its most emotionally heartbreaking material – the devastating vocal showcase “To Be Loved”, the very personal “My Little Love” – was nowhere to be found. Instead, she seemed to most fully inhabit the material from her 2011 album, “21.”
She featured the fiery breakup ballad “Take It All” as her favorite song from that LP, while the vocal highlight of the night was a masterful rendition of longing “One and Only,” a mid-tempo track on the devoting herself to true love, during which Adele seemed to live every word. She was at least distinct on the more upbeat songs of ’25’: ‘Send My Love (to Your New Lover)’ and ‘Water Under the Bridge’ both got the crowd on their feet, but she still seemed unsure how to inject their own personality into such generic pop fare.
The show, said Adele, is meant to “grow” as it progresses, and its developments have been beautifully paced and often jaw-dropping in their reveals. “Set Fire to the Rain” was accompanied by a typically Vegas stunt and dazzling pyrotechnics that involve a prop piano, then half the set, bursting into flames, setting the stage so gloriously over-the-top it gave pound of Revelations.
For “Skyfall,” its Oscar-winning theme song from the James Bond film of the same name, a full orchestra was suddenly lit up from a previously dark part of the set. Viewers weren’t discouraged from using their phones, and the scene certainly seemed designed to look good in FOMO-inducing photographs. But the space and the show itself also felt satisfyingly immersive in a way that didn’t translate to the smaller screen. Here, perhaps, was that elusive intimacy that Adele had sought.
The most emotionally effective part of the night came towards the end, when Adele performed the brassy, Streisandian slow burner “When We Were Young.” To introduce the song, she (and a group of dog handlers) made her way through the crowd, asking a few lucky audience members about their favorite memories from their youth and, in doing so, arguing that she would be Oscar’s better-than-average host.
As she still walked down the aisles, the band started playing the song and Adele sang it beautifully, walking through the orchestra section to wave to different parts of the crowd and, at times, hug her fans. She hugged an ecstatic drag queen Adele and, at the climax of the song, paper photographs of young Tottenham’s Adele Adkins floated like confetti on the rafters. A diva, yes. But – in the right room and for the right ticket price – the kind you can reach out and touch.
“Weekends With Adele” continues through March 25 at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
#Adele #returns #stage #Las #Vegas #resolute #thoughtful