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Concert Reviews:
Adele makes fans feel her love at The Palace

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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AUBURN HILLS -- After a 15-day break, Adele told a packed Palace crowd on Tuesday night, Sept. 9, that she was "nervous for you," a prospect she found "exciting" as she began the final third of her Adele Live 2016 tour.

If that was indeed the case, then a poised Adele must be something to behold.

The British singer's 16-song, two-hour show, the first of two at the Palace, was everything atop-shelf diva experience should be -- inventively staged, smoothly executed and, most importantly, well sung. Adele was in pristine voice throughout the evening, no doubt partly a product of those couple of weeks off. But from the opening notes of "Hello," delivered from a satellite stage at the middle of the arena floor, through the go-for-the-jugular attack of "Rolling In The Deep," Adele was a captivating force of nature, handling seemingly every note she sang like her life depended on it.

But this was no mere rote recitation of her platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning material. The joy of Adele's show was her obvious joy in being there. Following the Barbra Streisand/Celine Dion school of chattiness, Adele accented the night with plenty of lightning-fast between-song patter, often significantly longer than the songs she was introducing. But she did so with a bubbly giddiness that was both genuine and infectious.

As she explained at one point, "I love seeing you; That's why I talk so much."

And talk she did, about everything from illuminating song inspirations to cyber-stalking Alison Krauss (before "Don't You Remember") and her love of Bob Dylan to empathetic comments about men who might have been dragged to the show -- and promising there would be a reward (nudge nudge, wink wink) for their indulgence. Adele had no problem letting everyone know that her rear-end was larger than the stool she sat on for a mid-show acoustic set, and that she spent much of her recent time off as a "day drunk," mostly on beer. She spoke about learning to love her "potato fingers" (with nails that on Tuesday were "au natural"), and for the fashion-minded she revealed secrets about her dress -- a black Burberry with multi-colored sparkles that was actually the fourth of the tour, but identical to the first three.

She also brought a mother and daughter from Detroit on stage for a selfie, then took time late in the show to walk the perimeter of the second stage to indulge fans and their cell phones. And despite her reputation for salty language, Adele kept Tuesday's show profanity-free.

That personable and downright chummy ambience only made Adele's performances of her personal, emotion-dredging songs that much more impactful. She noted early on that, "If you came to have a party you're in the wrong place...My songs are pretty miserable." Cathartic is more like it, of course, and there was enough singing along throughout Tuesday's show to demonstrate just how well the songs connect with her fans -- especially the female side of the fence.

And it helped that Adele absolutely slayed nearly everything, whether it was the torchy, emotive moments such as "One and Only," "Someone Like You," "Chasing Pavements," "Million Years Ago," "When We Were Young" and Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel Love," the cinematic drama of her James Bond theme "Skyfall" or more buoyant songs such as "Rumour Has It," "Sweetest Devotion," "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" and "Sweetest Devotion."

All were deftly delivered, in various configurations, but a 21-piece band that included string and horn sections and three backing vocalists -- but was pared down to just Adele and her pianist for "Someone Like You." The visual production, meanwhile, was tasteful and even elegant at points, using transparent curtains and a massive rare-stage video screen for tasteful and gimmick-free visuals -- at least until the ceiling-to-floor waterfall that surrounded the second stage during "Set Fire To The Rain."

Adele's only snafu of the night was telling the crowd she hadn't been in the area since her first album, "19," when, in fact, she supported its successor, "21," with a May 2011 stop at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. She did, however, promise that she'll be "coming back later, so I'll see you again."

And after Tuesday's triumph, that time can't come too soon.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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