Adele – Live At The Royal Albert Hall (XL)

The world of Adele seems to be in a state of confusion right now. The British singer has just had to cancel her U.S. tour do to throat surgery.  A growth was removed , but the status of her voice remains unclear. Her second album, 21, has just been nominated for 6 Grammys and there is speculation on whether or not she’ll be able to perform at the ceremony this coming February. One thing that is for sure, she wasted no time in getting this live DVD released.

Live At The Royal Albert Hall was recorded just two months ago…September 22nd to be precise.  It features Adele’s full show…17 songs, including most of the million-selling 21 album.

Adele has been taking a beating in the press lately as well. Stuff’s Simon Sweetman ripped her a new one in his blog last week. And while Simon may have some legitimate grips about Adele’s vocal abilities, I think he misses the point. That point is made abundantly clear on this DVD…Adele and her songs connect with her audience in a very real way.

The most revealing aspect of this live DVD isn’t Adele’s singing, it’s the bits between the songs. With her working-class accent and self-effacing attitude, Adele strengthens the bond between her and her audience here. Listening to her talk on stage is like having a gossip with your best mate. She loves to talk about her relationships…especially since they are the source of many of her songs…her new hair colour, other bands she’s been listening to, and the talk is punctuated by her  mildly risqué language and her cackle of a laugh.

The music itself is more than serviceable. She’s backed by a full band, backing singers and string section, but often pares things down to just voice and piano or voice and guitar. The gospel-ish Take It All contains a false start…Adele stops the songs after a few bars, claiming to have fluffed a note, only endearing her more to her adoring fans. She sings 10 songs from 21 and 5 from her debut album, 19. The two unrecorded songs are covers…If It Hadn’t Been For Love is a country-blues tune by Nashville band The Steeldrivers and I Can’t Make You Love Me is a tearjerker recorded by Bonnie Raitt. The country tinge in both songs suits Adele.

Speaking of tearjerkers, there doesn’t seem to be a dry eye in the house as Adele and her fans sing her number one hit Someone Like You to each other. The show closes with a triumphant Rolling In The Deep, one of the songs from 21 just nominated for a Grammy.

Yes, there were a few times when I winced at Adele’s singing, but the emotion she drew from her songs and her fans more than made up for any technical deficiencies.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to Adele perform I Can’t Make You Love Me at The Royal Albert Hall: