On Thursday, October 6, the Adele Live 2016 tour rolled into the Air Canada Centre for its third of four installments, and I was ready. Having bought my ticket in late 2015, the nearly year-long wait had finally come to an end. I was finally sitting, waiting for the songstress to appear on stage.
All in attendance were greeted by a projection of the artist’s closed eyes projected onto the screen that dominated the main stage. At around 8:30pm, the lights dimmed and the eyes opened, followed by a playing of the iconic “Hello?” greeting that reverberated through the hearts of everyone perched on their seats. Adele did not need an opening act, that was all it took to excite the crowd. The cheers and chants were interrupted by a second hello, and then a third, but this time it was her voice and not a recording. Adele rose from the ground of a smaller stage, surprising us all, and belted a rendition of Hello.
The set-up and direction of the concert was the most minimalist I have ever experienced. The production was incredibly simple. Instead of focusing on pyrotechnics and choreography for entertainment value, Adele treated us to nothing but her voice and wit. By interspersing the two throughout the night, Adele created an atmosphere where it did not feel as if the audience was simply watching and listening to a performance, but rather as if we were having a conversation with a friend.
In between songs, Adele joked with the crowd and talked about the song writing process of each song she was about to perform. Adele wanted the audience to understand each song, what her emotions were at the time that she wrote it, and what events inspired her to pour her heart into the music.
Since 25 is a deeply personal album, Adele further gave us a tour of her life with the story behind each song. She told us about the heart-wrenching pain of growing apart from friends before singing A Million Years Ago, the joys of motherhood before serenading us with Sweetest Devotion, and the isolating loneliness that inspired the classic Someone Like You.
By the end of the night, when Adele gave her final farewell after an encore performance of Rolling In The Deep, it truly felt as bittersweet as saying goodbye to an old friend. I left feeling lighter, as if I was able to share my own stories with the singer. Adele created an environment of understanding. For years her fans have found solace in her songs, but that night it was her turn to open up to us. By being present and listening to her as she tried her hardest to make us understand her artistry, we were able to give back to her the same freeing feeling she has offered us for so many years.
In her simplicity, Adele created a show of utter, beautiful honesty. For the first time in a long while, I attended a show where the performance was solely focused on the vocals and the story behind each song being performed. Adele continuously demonstrates the liberating aspects of vulnerability, and how art overflows with feeling. She is a timeless performer, incomparable in her field.