Stylist's Sarah Biddlecombe saw Adele in action last night at the London's O2 for her 25 tour - and was struck by her personable, easygoing back-and-forth with the audience. Here, she explains why it really makes a difference to have a singer who knows how to speak:
“I wake up this morning and great – I’ve got acne.”
These aren’t exactly the words you would expect to hear one of the world’s biggest superstars bellowing out to an arena rammed with 20,000 people. But then again, Adele isn’t your average superstar, and nothing about her stage persona is what you might expect.
After opening her sold-out show at the 02 arena last night with her hit single, Hello, the 27-year-old star took a breather with a cup of tea, disclosing to the crowd that the mug in her manicured hand was a Mother’s Day gift from her boyfriend.
Beaming under the spotlight, she held it up so the audience could see the photo of her and her son, who she calls her ‘peanut’, printed on the side. “My other half keeps it real,” she nodded.
Despite being one of the most successful female solo artists of all time, Adele is undeniably down-to-earth. While most stars might offer their audiences no more than a cursory ‘I love you, [insert city name here]’, the singer kept up a constant monologue with her fans throughout the night.
She even stopped halfway through last night’s rendition of Make You Feel My Love to shout with excitement that a couple had just got engaged, before insisting they joined her for a hug on stage. “That was the best thing I have ever seen at one of my shows,” she told the cheering crowd.
Adele’s knack of making an audience feel at home during her performances is all part of the singer’s appeal. She has built her reputation on being relatable: the dress she wore last night may have been custom-made by Burberry, but she’ll be wearing it for all 104 shows of her world tour.
And her no-holds-barred approach to hosting her shows is testament to her efforts to remain grounded.
After all, how many other Oscar-winning singers would stand in front of a crowd and talk about feeling vulnerable on their period?
As the (usually) notoriously private star rocketed through her back catalogue last night, she kept the audience entertained with snippets of chat about her daily life. In a meandering, easygoing patter, she referenced everything from spending her youth sneaking cider and cigarettes in Brockwell Park, to how pleased she is to have a makeup artist ato get her ready for her shows.
“I can’t do my own makeup. No one recognises me usually because I look like a tramp,” she cackled in her signature Cockney accent.
She also discussed deeper matters of the heart, disclosing that her first attempt at writing songs for her latest album, 25, had to be scrapped because they were all about her son, Angelo (now three years old).
Speaking on motherhood, she said, “I’ve never felt so proud of myself as I am now. I’m not saying you’ll find fulfilment as a parent, but I did.”
The antithesis of her fellow female superstars, whose glossy, choreographed shows put the singers on a pedestal, Adele feels more like a friend than a globally-famous artist.
She is surely the only star who can make an evening spent in an arena packed with 20,000 strangers feel like a cosy night in with a mate.
And throughout the evening, she remained committed to ensuring her fans enjoyed the show, inviting audience members to join her on stage and posing for selfies.
Maintaining her apparent policy of full disclosure, she also shared her excitement of playing the 02 Arena with the crowd, as last night marked the first time she had performed her own show at the iconic venue (she had previously performed Someone Like You at the 02 for the 2011 Brit Awards).
“I remember when I couldn’t even pack out Camden Roundhouse. I’ve always been too frightened to play here.”
These early experiences of trying to make it in the music industry might be what keeps Adele so humble today. She may have amassed a dizzying number of industry awards for her three albums, 19, 21 and 25, and have an estimated net worth of over £50million, but she’s keen to keep it real.
As the show drew to its close Adele revealed she wouldn’t be doing an encore, stating that they should be reserved only for stars such as Paul McCartney.
“Anyone who thinks they are bigger than Paul McCartney can literally suck my dick,” she hollered.
Keeping it real indeed.