Adele's U.S. tour kickoff: 15 best moments
She honored Prince, dropped F-bombs, and gushed about fried chicken on Tuesday night
The European leg of Adele’s 2016 tour, her first in five years and first ever arena trek, hardly went unnoticed. Couples got engaged, the star surprised a terminally-ill fan at home, and to the internet’s delight, she called Beyoncé, “Jesus F—ing Christ.” One time, she twerked and fortunately/unfortunately, on another occasion she burped. One fan was publicly shamed for video-taping a set, while another, a 12-year-old with autism, was welcomed to the stage to duet with Adele on “Someone Like You.” Each instance was met with delighted commotion — and further fanned the (ridiculously hot) flame of anticipation for when Adele’s North American dates would begin.
Tuesday night, after 51 shows abroad, she finally crossed the pond, opening in Minnesota to more than 15,000 ravenous attendees and one brutal thunderstorm. “Whaddup St. Paul?” she welcomed the crowd after a euphoric trip through the record-shattering 2015 anthem “Hello.” “I can’t believe how loud you are!” Referencing the July 4 holiday, she added, “You must all still be drunk from last night!”
Adele concerts attract a beautiful smattering of fans: Teens, tweens, moms enjoying a night without the kids, couples on first dates, couples on millionth dates, cool grandmas, college students who ask you to buy them wine, college students who already had too much wine, bros out for boys night, and grizzled, whiskered folks not afraid to sing along. Paying no heed to the Emergency Flash Flood warning lighting up cell phones across the area, they all came out — and immediately got in line for a tour T-shirt.
Over the course of a 135-minute set, Adele impressed them all, with her warm, full-bodied soprano as much as her off-color humor. Below are the 15 best moments from the night.
1. Pre-show hysteria
Adele tours with two stages: a main one, and a secondary platform that sits in the middle of the floor. At 8:11 p.m., when roadies wheeled a black box under the latter, anticipation turned into nothing short of madness. “She’s in that box!” fans began screaming with a desperation. (There was absolutely no way she and her ballgown were in that box — but it got people on their feet and the room buzzing.)
Will Adele ever be able to open a show with another song? More than one billion YouTube loops and half that on Spotify have done nothing but magnify the thrill of 25‘s first single. The song’s downside? It’s caused communication problems for the singer. Later in the set, she lamented, “When I call my friends and say, ‘Hello,’ they’re like, “Is this some sort of f—ing joke?!”
3. She knows how much you want a selfie
Adele spared four minutes in the second half of the set to work her way around the edge of the stage to give fans as many photo ops as possible. And each time she scooted to the next group and crouched, the same open-mouthed, smile would appear. “I always do this face!” she howled. “It’s so annoying!”
4. Adele, the people’s pop star
Adele also thinks standing through an entire concert is taxing: “The reason I gave you all seats,” she said before settling into a chair for a string of acoustic songs, “is so that I don’t look lazy when I retire to mine.”
She, too, breaks a diet for chicken and waffles. Adele celebrated her first American Independence Day this week, and while the parade she spotted was cool, it was what she had for dinner that had her gushing 24 hours later. “I had, like, a fried chicken on a donut?” she tells the crowd. Later, in the set she revisits the subject, admitting she knows it’s, “basically a heart attack on a plate,” before confirming she ate it all, anyway.
5. Her potty mouth was on full display
Famously, Adele loves the F-word. Tuesday evening, she treated fans to four bombs. First, in regards to Diplo’s set, which she thinks is, “f—ing great,” and later to tell the crowd why her career got off to a slow burn in America (“because it’s such a big, f—ing country”), along with the aforementioned distress over not being able to say “Hello.” The fourth came when she explained why she didn’t cover Prince in his hometown: “F—, it’s Prince!”
6. That cackle
On record, Adele is ever in control. Her vocals are enormous, but never unbridled. What she emits with absolute recklessness, instead is her laugh — a nose-scrunching, knee-slapping, hoarse, delighted, absolutely uncontainable affair.
7. The name’s Bond, Adele Bond — and she throws shade
Did you know Adele declined the offer to record the Skyfall soundtrack originally? “I was so scared,” she told the crowd before performing it Tuesday. “The best artists have done some — and some of them are really bad,” she explained before quipping, “I’m not being judgmental, I’m just being a bitch.” [Cackle] She then revealed that the Bond teamed swayed her by beating her at her own game, telling her they’d noticed her proclivity for naming her works after her own age.”This is the 23rd bond film,” they began. “And you’re 23.”
8. Adele’s dance moves
Adele says that her pre-show ritual of practicing Beyoncé’s “Formation” routine will never be made available for public consumption, but she’s hardly a slab of cardboard out there. Her moves, while very slight, are exceptionally sexy. Her sultry sways reminisce of your trendy aunt Joan who joins you and your friends for a drink after Thanksgiving dinner.
9. She stans for Alison Krauss
“Do you know the singer called Alison Krauss?” Adele asked the Midwestern crowd as her band assembled for an acoustic trip through “Don’t You Remember.” After their hearty affirmation, she explained, “Country and bluegrass aren’t that big in England so usually I say that and get like five yells, but I’m obsessed with her.” How obsessed? “Not like stalker vibes — but almost.” Almost meaning enough for her to model this section of her show after Krauss. With her band gathered in a semi-circle around the singer they infused the tune with new, rootsy energy.
10. Adele’s kind of freaked out by the Mall of America
Adele has been making the most of her time in the Twin Cities. She went to a parade, she ate fried chicken on a donut, and then, she visited the Mall of America. “I have never seen anything like it,” she remarked. “I mean, I know you in America do everything bigger and better but there is an amusement park in there!”
10. Adele’s music makes her feel as good as it makes you feel
Adele first covered Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” in 2008 and has since done so in her live sets. But she wasn’t necessarily a disciple of the iconic artist; that credit goes to her manager. When he first played it for the singer, she said the song, “broke my heart and fixed it, all at the same time.” That makes perfect sense given the millions who feel the same about much of her catalog — perhaps most poignantly with the bleeding-heart ballad, “Someone Like You,” off 21. “When I wrote this, I was miserable, obviously” she recalled before adding her trademark humor and a shrug, “that’s nothing new!” She set out to write a tune that would make her feel whole again. “After the first verse and chorus, it did what I wanted.” Tuesday night, 15,000 people got to show her how ardently they agree as they joined for the biggest sing-along of the set.
11. Adele says she’s waiting for a ring
At this point in the show, we’re all old friends, so it seems natural for Adele to explain her relationship status to us. “One magazine here says that I had a secret wedding,” she said, before her current single, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).” “But I haven’t. I’d tell you — I wouldn’t be able to contain myself.” So why hasn’t she tied the knot with longtime partner Simon Konecki, with whom she shares a son, Angelo? “I’m very busy, as you can see.” With an enormous laugh, she adds, “And Simon hasn’t proposed yet!”
12. Though she didn’t cover Prince, she honored the Purple One in his hometown in another way
The length of time between the final notes of “Set Fire to Rain” and the encore ran exactly the length of Prince’s “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” music video, which beamed from the backdrop in full. Fans clapped and sang along for their late home-state hero, and answered loudly when she asked the crowd, “Did you enjoy that Prince video?” upon her return.
13. Adele explains being a working mom
“I lost a massive part of me when I became a mum,” she explained, referencing how she put her career on hold in 2012. “That took a long time to get used to. And then I became fine with it, and that was even weirder. But after about eight months I got an itch.” She talked about how her desire to get back in the studio racked her with guilt and the mature faces in the audience gave her knowing assurances in response. Eventually Adele says she realized, “I can’t be the best mum I can be unless I’m me.” Writing “When We Were Young” brought her full circle. “I saw this asteroid coming toward myself,” she remembers of the session on a back patio in Los Angeles. “And that asteroid was me.”
14. No seriously, we’re all BFFs now
Adele made the crowd feel like a family over the course of the night. She hugged one woman from Australia because she’d come so far, took a photo with the Kenny family, and led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Daniel — he was turning 25 which delighted Adele, who assured him, with a wink that it’s a good age. Numerous other photo ops were punctuated only by Adele’s profuse “I love you!'”s to members of the crowd. We know that the women in the front are from Wisconsin and that the back corner 40th birthday was a crew from South Dakota. Adele didn’t just project her emotion outward — she welcomed fans in.
15. Confetti with a cause
“Take care of each other,” Adele said, bidding her public farewell while the final the notes of “Rolling In The Deep” still clung to the back walls. As she exited, the storm of confetti wafting through the air finally touched ground level and on each were scribbles of the singer’s lyrics in her handwriting. “It matters how this ends,” many read. For Adele Adkins and the thousands who filled the Xcel Energy Center Halls, it was nothing short of spectacular.