REVIEW: @Adele @GentingArena #Birmingham 30 March 2016

The question is, how do you review an Adele gig? How many superlatives that have already been used to describe her success can one review contain? Well, let’s be objectionable – or at the very least, try.

Let me take you back to September 2011, and the Cardiff gig that never was. Adele had a bad cold and cancelled both that night and her gig in Blackpool, meaning one very disappointed Poptart (i.e. Me). Fast forward to December 2015 and she announces she would be touring 25, but the question on everyone’s lips – well, mine and a couple of thousand Welsh people, would a Cardiff gig be part of the tour?

Well, that aside and the huge demand online when the tickets went on sale, I managed to get some tickets for my friends and I for the Genting Arena in Birmingham, suddenly I was Mr Popular.

So how would a night in the presence of Miss Adkins turn out after all this time? I know sometimes gig reviews tend to spoil some of the surprises of the night, and as much as I can I won’t. But in saying that, even if you do know the set list, an Adele gig isn’t about special effects, set or costume changes – it’s about the sound and how her music makes you feel.

It’s never going to be a big on dancing kind of night – even by her own admission several times, but some gigs aren’t about dancing – they’re about how you connect to the song and how it makes you feel. For this Adele’s back catalogue could probably feature in the soundtrack to most people’s lives whether that’s heartache or reminiscing. There will always probably be one song that reminds you of a time in your life, her lyrics are that good – oh, and her choice of the odd cover version is genius too (Dylan’s Feel my love).

There are no clever tricks, it’s just a woman, a Mother’s Day mug full of a hot drink (no caffeine though since that dries out your vocal chords – thanks Adele!), and a lot of chat in between songs. This is where many artists fail. Now whether you like that kind of thing is another thing, but she’s there with the likes of Buble and Robbie. She’s funny, charming and if you so happen to be in her eye line, you’re very likely to be talked to, and for example at the Genting, she’s likely to pull you up on stage for a selfie – yes, an actual selfie with Adele.

So what did we learn from the gig? Apart from Adele likes to chat, we also learnt she was part Welsh, visits Penarth a fair bit, and her family were coming from Llantwit Major on Saturday to see the gig. There was also mention of her previous gigs in Wales – Buffalo bar in 2007 (when 90 people saw her), and St Davids Hall in April 2008 which was (her words) half full. You’d think we all the Welsh connections, some kind of effort would’ve been made to do a Welsh leg of the tour? Anyway, I digress (big time!). She also won an iHeartRadio award for Best Song for Hello (and did the acceptance speech live on stage.

A couple of standout moments of the night include hearing Skyfall, Feel my love and Someone like you. But can’t fail to not mention When we were young, a song without that, according to Adele, 25 wouldn’t have been released.

If I had to use just three words to describe the night they’d be “faultless, fun & emotional”. Until the next time Miss Adkins (in Wales? Maybe the Paget Rooms in Penarth, you could do a residency?)


Hometown Glory
One and Only
Rumour Has It
Water Under the Bridge
I Miss You
Million Years Ago

Don’t You Remember
Send My Love (to Your New Lover)
Make You Feel My Love
Sweetest Devotion
Chasing Pavements
Someone Like You
Set Fire to the Rain

All I Ask
When We Were Young
Rolling in the Deep

Review by Patrick Downes