Our writer Rianna Stanislaus looks back on a night of music, visuals and funnily enough – popcorn.
On Friday 18th March, I went to the London O2 Arena with a friend and 19,998 other fans to see the Queen of Feels (Adele). It was a nightmare to get those tickets but after queuing for ages and constant screaming at my laptop, I managed to score 2 seats at £75 each.When I got to my seat in the arena and calmed down (that took a while), I was slightly confused because I saw no space for a band/ orchestra, backup singers or even Adele herself. It looked like a pretty plain set with just an image of her eyes shut and showing her famous cat eyeliner behind a tiny stage. There was a bigger stage in the middle of the arena with a trap door.
I think she must’ve known I was attending her gig because there were no annoying open acts and she appeared through a trap door on a smaller stage in the middle of the arena at 20:15. She was due on at 20:00, so she was pretty much early compared to Madonna who left her fans waiting for 3 hours. Of course she opened with ‘Hello’ and made her way to the main stage by the end of the number.
If you were one of the millions of fans attempting to buy tickets, you probably saw the price range and could see she wasn’t cheap. For £75, my seats weren’t that great and when she popped up on the stage, I was pretty miffed because she looked like a pea onstage. For all I knew, a man in a dress could’ve been lip syncing to her songs because I kid you not when I say she sounded exactly the same live as she does on her album. Thankfully, by the time she started singing her third number ‘One and Only’, she was plastered on a big screen behind the stage and her live orchestra also appeared behind the screen out of nowhere.
Words cannot describe how amazing she was! Every song she did, she sung with elegance, power and so much feeling. She hit every note – every single damn note. We all know she has a stellar voice but her concert just highlighted how vocally perfect her singing is. You can hear the BRIT School training and all the lessons she must’ve had because she has such control over her riffs and runs. But at the same time, you could feel the passion behind every song and understood what each song meant to her when she wrote it. I loved that she would explain the process behind writing some of her numbers because it showed how much depth had but she still went through the same things we all went and are going through.
Throughout the concert, each visual plastered onto the screen behind her was related to the song she was singing. There were pictures of her as a child when she was singing ‘When We Were Young’ and there was also one point when she was on the smaller stage where four screens enclosed her into the stage and a projection of her singing was on each screen. I thought it was quite eerie but beautiful at the same time (although I don’t envy Adele being trapped in those screens).
During her last number ‘Rolling in the Deep’, confetti was blasted all over the arena and on each piece, there was a hand written note from her (obviously photocopied, she’s a busy woman) which added a nice personal touch to the concert and showed how much thought she put into making sure her fans felt appreciated.
The best part of the whole Adele experience was seeing how down to earth she is. It comes across in her interviews and appearances but throughout the whole evening she was so casual and down-to-earth. She’d talk to the people in the audiences, stop to take selfies with fans and invite fans onstage for various reasons. She even invited a kid onstage and ate some popcorn when he offered it to her. For someone who was singing on stage with no dancers or crazy gimmicks, she kept the audience entertained with her personality and made everyone feel so comfortable. She also exclusively announced that she was headlining Glastonbury and it made me regret not getting tickets because I know that without a doubt, her set will be simple but amazing and memorable.
If I had to pick the best song she performed, it would have to be ‘Sweetest Devotion’ which is one of her less well-known songs from her latest album 25. It’s a song she wrote not long after giving birth to her son Angelo and it’s about finding a love that is overwhelming and gives meaning to one’s life. It is one of my favourite songs on the album (so I might be biased) but I could feel the raw emotion she had when singing the song and it brought me close to tears.
All in all, it’s clear to see Adele is an entertainer and was born for the stage. It’s amazing that with all the success she has had so far, she isn’t affected by her fame and doesn’t seem to understand how she has such an effect on people all over the world. It was probably one of the best nights of my life and I would pay double to see her in concert again. I’m going to see Beyoncé in July at Wembley Stadium (eek!) and let’s just say, Queen B has her work cut out for her because Adele has set the bar sky high.