This request for discussion was issued by a close friend on Facebook, just as the Ireland vs France soccer match kicked off. You see, Joe, was never one for timing!
In fairness, it was perfect timing. Yes, the match had started, we were 1-0 up, all was great in the world! The request also provided a reminder of the show witnessed by the Promoter the night before. Adele had played the headline slot on the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday night of the world famous Glastonbury festival, sandwiched between two veteran headlining acts, Muse and Coldplay, respectively.
Did Adele warrant such an accolade, as being the festival’s peak headline slot? Would she be able to handle the pressure, ‘own the stage’? Was the balladeer ‘strong, resolute, and spirited’ enough to provide a performance to give justice to the faith placed in her by The Eavis family?
In her career to date, Adele has released three multi-million selling critically acclaimed albums, topped charts globally and inundated our radio waves for what seems an eternity. In truth, it’s not much more than eight years since her debut record, 19. We’ve all heard her powerful, yet softly cockney voice emanating from radios everywhere. One could describe it as lying somewhere between Dusty Springfield and Amy Winehouse.
The choice of Adele as a ‘headliner’ was inspired. Her performance on the Pyramid Stage was electric. She had the crowd melting, molten through the depths of her beautifully volcanic voice. Her voice seemed to cover the crowd with a spirit, a vibe of togetherness, which, as Paul Radcliffe from the BBC later described as ‘never witnessed before’. She also disproved (again) that musical snobbery has no place whatsoever at this most eclectic music festival.
However, between each song, it seemed we were given a private audience with Adele, as she described (in comic detail, at times) the inspiration behind the songs, her thoughts on certain social matters (including a cat-fight witnessed at one of her shows in Belfast!) and generally, just good banter. Her strong Tottenham / Brixton heritage is prevalent in her speech and dialect. She is a lady who exudes ‘a rags to riches’ story (in words and deeds) and there certainly isn’t any airs or graces with her.
Stand out moments from the show included her opening announcement of her arrival (‘Hello’), the stand alone maverick Skyfall, the reverential torchlight cover version of Bob Dylan’s classic (Make You Feel My Love) and the euphoric finale, Someone Like You.
Adele has achieved meteoric rise to ‘stardom’ as a result of the amazing talent that is her voice. But this performance was about so much more. It was about her wonderful, charming and endearing personality, the emotion and strength she brought to every rendition and the connection she had with her audience.