When Adele announced 25 back in October, fans around the world wondered when they would get to hear her perform live again. Soon, though, she’d be everywhere.
First came news that she’d appear in a BBC special on her home turf in the U.K., then came the NBC press blitz, which featured stops at Saturday Night Live, Today, Fallon, and finally an hour-long concert special, Adele Live in New York City, which was filmed at Radio City Music Hall in November.
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After weeks in the vault, the special aired Monday night on NBC, and featured an all-out diva fest from the British singer whose latest album already broke all the records and sold more than 5 million copies. She ran through the old hits (sup, “Rolling in the Deep”), treated fans to new favorites (“When weeeeeee were youuuunnnnng”), and broke down in tears as she finished her first full concert in over four years. Though this is just a warm-up for next year’s global tour, here are the best moments from Adele Live in New York City.
1. The opening credits
Adele’s got jokes! Adele let her beloved bizarro flag fly during the special’s opening. She jokes about a flip phone (“Hello” humor!), pretends to wail on an acoustic guitar, and clutches a tumbler of booze for dear life while “Rumor Has It” plays in the background.
No other words were needed to start off the show. Adele jumped right in with no introduction and ran through the multi-platinum first single from 25 as black-and-white projections of her face displayed behind her. “It’s me,” we said collectively from our couches.
3. Adele’s funny faces
And the jokes kept coming. After finishing “Hello,” Adele stuck her tongue out as if to say, “Phew! We did it.” Later in the show, while the crowd helped her sing along to “Someone Like You” (we’ll get to that soon), she did it again. Anxious Adele, she’s just like us.
4. And her one-liners
There really wasn’t enough Adele-the-person in NBC’s special, and we only heard a few of her asides that came out of the taping. But “I do make lovemaking music” was a winner.
5. Oh right, also her cackle
Adele’s laugh is more of a cackle, and through press tours over the years it’s become infamous in its own right. She let ‘er rip a few times during the broadcast.
6. That potty mouth!
“It’s f—ing hard to sing!” she wails after singing “All I Ask,” off 25. “So is ‘Hello.’ I just sh– myself! I love you, too. I love you, but you scare me.”
7. “Someone Like You-oooo”
Oh, how we’ve missed this weepy jam. “I wanted to write a song that would be my song and I wanted to write something that would last forever,” Adele says while introducing the track from 21. But as the opening chords play, she stops the backing pianist. “I don’t sing this from the same place anymore because I sing it from an amazing place because of my man who’s here tonight. This is the first show he’s ever seen me do. I hope you’re enjoying it, and I’m so glad you’re here.”
She then launched into a raucous performance of the track, which featured a sing-along from the audience (they definitely didn’t hit those high notes) and, yep, a little stuck-out tongue.
8. Adele’s music makes even Adele cry
After she finished “When We Were Young” the crowd gave her a standing ovation, which led to a candid confession and a whole bunch of tears. “I know I’ve been quiet,” she said, referring to the long period in between 25 and 21. “I just wanted to come back and surprise you. I didn’t want to tell you anything because I wanted it to be a surprise. I feel like this is the start now. We’ve been planning it for months and I’m just so happy and before the show I was like, ‘Oh God I want it to be over,’ because I was so nervous, but I’ve managed to remember every moment of this show.” Sob city all around.
9. “Rolling In The Deep”
“I’ll never forget it, thanks!” Adele says after finishing the show with a jovial trip through “Rolling In The Deep.” “Same,” said everyone in their seats.
10. A teary goodbye
But the show didn’t stop right there, for those who kept watching through the credits. The cameras follow Adele backstage and into an elevator, where she sobs into someone’s arms as the doors close behind her, marking the end of her first full concert in over four years. Job well done, Adele.
Watch the full special below: