Review : Adele - Live at the Royal Albert Hall
PopmattersSince Adele is so open on her albums, I will begin this review with an honest statement: I don’t care for Adele’s music. Yes, her voice is unbelievable and her everygirl personality is refreshing, but musically and artistically I find her a bit dull. In fact, one of my favorite pieces of music writing of 2011 was ex-Arab Strap singer Aidan Moffat’s withering Quietus piece on “Someone Like You” (look it up; it’s worth more than the energy it takes to type “Aidan Moffat Quietus” into Google).
I tried putting personal opinions aside when watching Live At The Royal Albert Hall and listening to the accompanying CD. Although the experience taught me that Adele is an engaging enough performer, the overall sensation remained one of boredom.
Amy Winehouse, before she devolved, emanated sass and sadness; she compelled in a live setting. Despite possessing a blazing voice, Adele is at her liveliest when bantering between songs. Performance-wise, she does little more than sway. Likewise, her backing band lacks the swagger of Winehouse’s Dap Kings collaborators.
However, Adele’s devotion to her audience is refreshingly genuine and, apart from her voice, the most intriguing part of her performance. When the big hits come, she surrenders the mic to the audience, who sing the choruses of “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep” (the set’s mighty closer) word for word. The latter song’s force, however, is slightly marred when the heavens open to pour down gold confetti. For a song filled with such hurt and vengeance, the gesture feels a little out of place.
Due to being only two albums deep into what looks to be a prosperous career, the Royal Albert set is heavy on covers. Of the lot, her versions of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” (sung in tribute to Winehouse) are the most successful. Both seem deeply heartfelt, like Adele understands, and is the only one who can make these words that are not hers ring true....full text
LatimesThe release date for Adele’s “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” CD (which also includes a 90-minute concert DVD) is auspicious, and not because it comes just in time for the holidays. It reminds us of what Adele’s recent throat surgery sought to preserve: her rich and lusty voice that soars to whatever blustery cliffs the songs demand.
Listening to Adele on these 17 songs recorded in her hometown earlier this fall is a bit like watching a pro running back score a touchdown. There’s a great athleticism to her vocals, as she dashes and twists her way through thickets of melody. Sometimes she reserves her energy, dodging around the note; other times she pins it down with a stylish growl. Reliving the songs as she sings them, Adele occasionally lets out a satisfied cackle, like at the end of “If It Hadn’t Been for Love,” a train-yard blues number that could almost be in Tom Waits’ repertoire. Sauntering through the bubbly Bacharach-style jazz on “Right as Rain” from her debut “19,” you can hear the smile on her face.
For all her prowess, “Albert Hall” also catches a few slip-ups from Adele, times when she hits a flat note or showboats to the point of slackening the song’s momentum. Sometimes her band sounds a little thin behind her. But she is human, after all, and this is the first full-length live record of what will likely be many capturing an exciting moment in Adele’s career....full text
HeraldsunShe comes on stage to Hometown Glory - the gorgeous closing number of her debut 19. It's vocally tender, intimate and intense.
She follows it by saying in a thick Cockney fishwife accent, "Royal Albert F----n' Hall!"
Yes, here's more reason to love Adele - an anti-diva with a killer cackle who you'd love to go to the pub with. Filmed in September just before her globe-seducing voice packed up and her tour was cancelled, it's the closest we'll get to seeing her on stage for a while. Our loss.
It's part slick concert, part behind the music with the chatty, honest, potty-mouthed Adele part soul vocalist, part Little Britain character.
After I'll Be Waiting she tells the crowd: "That was a very rare happy, upbeat, optimistic one. I'm pretty miserable on record." She re-starts Take It All stating, "That was a sh-- note"....full text
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