Way back in 2007, a 19-year-old Adele Adkins performed in a (now closed) small venue on Southampton’s Above Bar Street. During her set, she performed a song called ‘Hometown Glory’, which would be released as a single in just a few days time. It was the first song she had ever written. It seems hard to believe now, and if it weren’t for a couple of YouTube videos from several years ago, this would be the stuff of myth and legend, but there she was – just her guitar and her stunning voice.
A few months later, in 2008, she played Southampton Guildhall. Eight years on, she was headlining Glastonbury.
Adele has become not only a national treasure, but a world record breaking artist. She is most well known for her studio albums – 19, 21 and 25 – which have made her almost synonymous with love and heartbreak. Her iconic performance of ‘Someone Like You’ at the Brit Awards in 2011 seemed to be the moment which catapulted her into worldwide stardom, with people across the globe resonating with her heartfelt lyrics.
My own experience of seeing her live in 2016 made me realise just how gifted Adele truly is. Her vocals were flawless, and her onstage banter kept the mood lighthearted. She had everyone in the audience in the palm of her hand, all laughing and crying. I have to admit, I’ve never seen that many people crying at a concert like they were with Adele – her lyrics really do mean a lot to people, and it was clear to see that many audience members had memories of their own attached to each song. The most breathtaking moment was when her microphone cut out during ‘All I Ask’, and every person sang at the top of their lungs to fill the silence. It’s certainly a moment that I will never forget.
However, despite seeming so natural on stage, Adele suffers terribly with stage fright. She has claimed in the past that touring isn’t something that she’s good at because her nerves get the better of her. At the end of her 2016/7 tour, which included over 120 dates across the world, she released a tour book for the final four shows at Wembley Stadium with a deeply personal note about her emotions when touring. She said: ‘I only ever did this tour for you and to hopefully have an impact on you the way that some of my favourite artists have had on me live. And I wanted my final shows to be in London because I don’t know if I’ll ever tour again and so I want my last time to be at home’. The shows were bittersweet with an air of finality about them, but unfortunately the final two were cancelled due to issues with her vocal cords, as yet unrescheduled (but we can live in hope, right?).
At present, it’s difficult to say whether we will see Adele performing live again. There are constant rumours in the press of new material fuelled by a heartbreaking separation from her husband, but it remains to be seen whether they will come to fruition. The world is her stage, and we’ll all be waiting for her when she’s ready.