Soul singer Adele has been nominated for six Grammy awards for “21,” written in part to exorcise or at least not repress the demons of painful, euphoric and sometimes severed relationships she’s experienced. She is genuinely adored for her stunning voice and volcanic emotional expressiveness the world over. Live At The Royal Albert Hall (XL Recordings), an audio cd with an accompanying dvd performance of her concert at the venue, encapsulates exactly why she’s so riveting. Both tender and brutal, ethereal and raw, people respond to her as if they know her because what she is singing about so closely parallels their own odyssey through suffering, ecstasy and the survival of both. Her concerts are intimate and pared down – I wouldn’t dream of her experimenting on stage with a show laser light or a lasershow the likes you’d expect at a U2 foray.
She also is known as being extremely caring where those who attend her shows are concerned, once stopping a concert to make sure someone who fainted was okay. Adele has been described as having the voice of an angel which is apropos not just as a vocal prettiness compliment but because she projects feelings so completely and forcefully it’s like listening to her soul swoop around outside her body, and what else is great singing if not that? Live contains among its 17 tracks her early breakout hit “Chasing Pavements” along with a wrenching cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Adele has the kind of voice that I used to wish I would hear on maintstream radio instead of finding it only on the stage and in clubs. Talent is often punished with the witholding of the kind of success it deserves. Adele has set fire to that status quo. She is a master at capturing that frantic pain that you believe in the crush of the moment is never going to subside and you’re going to twist in agony forever. On the DVD, she thanks the audience and her fans at large, saying “Thank you for making my dreams come true.”
You too, Adele. And if you ever find yourself thinking to buy laser light equipment, your career is done for.
4.5 / 5 bars