Adele Live Review
iTunes Festival, London Roundhouse, 07/07/11
You’re sitting in your living room, having a beer and chatting to a friend... admittedly there’s a five piece band, two backing singers, a crowd of hundreds and far too many slightly wonky lampshades involved, but this is incidental; listening to Adele sing, as well as intermittently chat, giggle and swear about love, friendship and loss is an all consuming experience that demands your full attention.
The singer, whose second album spent 11 consecutive weeks at number 1, opened with a crowd enrapturing Hometown Glory. She continued to showcase the soothing yet poignant voice that makes her Britain’s most successful current artist with tracks including Set Fire To The Rain, Chasing Pavements, a stripped back version of One And Only and her haunting cover of the Cure’s Love Song.
However, it was by no means a sombre affair. After finishing Take It All she explained that it is about her ex-boyfriend and summarised her feelings on the subject with a swift hand gesture before breaking into a Barbara Windsor-esque cackle, exclaiming "let’s have a laugh" and launching into Rumour Has It, which receives the same euphoric response as Rolling In The Deep does during the encore.
And this is Adele’s skill. Her sophisticated and soulful set is punctuated with stories ranging from lost love and friendships, to Beyonce’s weave and her mum’s criticisms about her cover choices. She can mix London landlady with polished songstress without seeming contrived or unbelievable.
Whilst covering Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me, a song which judging by her nervous glances and admission that she had been practising it all year, means a lot to her, she commented that she thinks it’s ‘perfect in every single way’.
Adele herself isn’t perfect in every single way and neither is she trying to be, and it is her human imperfections, when contrasted with spine-tingling vocals and heartfelt lyrics, that make her songs so believable and her performances so powerful that she wasn’t the only person fighting back tears as Someone Like You closed the set.