Fans of Her Adelity, as Samuel L Jackson calls her, will have known, along with every lyric and story of her love life in the 2010s and 20s, that 30, her new album, was coming. The great and the good of showbiz also got the memo, and are all out in their finery for a night at the Palladium with Adele – “It was like the most chaotic Graham Norton Show line-up of all time (Norton was there too, obviously)”, said Katie Rosseinsky in the Evening Standard. Must felt a little sorry for whichever A-lister had to sit behind Boy George’s towering powder-blue bowler hat. Adele herself, chuffed and nervous and ever down-to-earth at “the first time I’ve been back in ages”, promptly fills the hall with thrills in opener Hometown Glory.
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While the rest of us might be chewing the curtains backstage, like Will Ferrell in The Shrink Next Door, even Adele bless her, shows a few nerves, nursing not so much a martini as a cup of tea, and even restarting a song she feels she’s flunking (“one more time, I’m sh***ing myself”). And along with the soaring power of her voice, the banter in between numbers further lights up the evening. Rosseinsky says she has “more than enough charisma and candour to ease things along – it’s hard to imagine any other star of her level introducing Samuel L. Jackson with a shout of “Oi oi!” or admitting that her tights are getting “all baggy in the crotch” – and tells anecdotes like she’s regaling a bunch of friends in the pub.”
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Rachel Aroesti in The Guardian goes further, awarding Adele a full five stars and calling her “A master comedian at work: a consummate entertainer, raconteur and MC”. The Telegraph’s Ed Power calls out the questions from the slebs as “pre-rehearsed” but applauds “a heartfelt reunion with her favourite English teacher, whom Adele hadn’t seen since she was 12”. Before long Adele has everyone on their feet and dancing, no mean feat in an Edwardian auditorium, to Send My Love… which might be an awks-fest if it were anyone but Adele, cutting through with straight talk, good cheer and sheer blazing musical quality.
First shown November 2021.