Last night, my daughter Michayla and I had the privilege of spending an evening with Adele, along with a record-breaking 98,000 others at Wembley Stadium. It was the first night of her four-night Finale, the end of her album 25 tour that began in February 2016.
This was her last tour, she says. Her son, Angelo has been with her throughout it, and its on him that she’ll now focus her attention.
“As of Monday morning, I’m solely a mum, I can’t f—ing wait.”
Of course she’ll keep making music, but live touring of this extent will likely not be in her future. But before she goes, she’s giving it her all in these final four shows. And boy, she didn’t disappoint.
Kicking off with her first hit, Hometown Glory, the synchronised screens above her displayed images of London’s cityscape ending in the now too familiar shots of a burnt out Grenfell Tower. I was touched by how she spoke of spending time on the ground there. You could hear her frustration with the continuing chaos and lack of support for it’s residents who are still homeless, but who “more and more just feel like a burden now”.
During these four concerts, she says, she wants to raise as much money as possible. All of it will go directly to the residents, she promises. They will get to decide what to do with it. As only Adele can, she challenged all of us to contribute, “Instead of buying that last glass of wine and getting s—faced and forgetting everything you f–king hear tonight, just donate £5.”
It wasn’t all about Grenfell Tower though. Throughout the show she chatted and shared herself with the audience, seeming more relaxed that she claimed. She told us what it took to shot the scenes we were seeing on screen during Skyfall. She asked if, like her, how many of us had had that one person who’d broken our heart, that we’d struggled to get out of our lives, sharing that “One day I’ll talk about it, what it took to get him the f–k out of my house!” I look forward to reading that book. I hope they leave all the “fucks” in it, it won’t sound like her otherwise.
She regularly spoke of her amazement at performing here at Wembley. It means a great deal to her, she says, because she attend concerts of some of her favourite artists here. Starting with, of course, the Spice Girls. God, I loved them, Geri was my favourite, she reminisced. And then she left the band!, still sounding shocked after all this time. George Michael was next, then One Direction, she snorted. “Mind you, you can’t f–kin’ hear the words to their songs” she says. “Too many gurls screamin’!”
When she wasn’t chatting, she was singing all the singles I love. I sang at the top of my voice during One and Only, When We Were Young, Someone Like You, Skyfall, Rolling in the Deep, and Make You Feel My Love – that last one sung holding my daughter’s hand, the person it always makes me think of when I hear it.
By the time she sung her final song I was hoarse and emotional. I admire her for all the traits I often struggle to show myself. She’s so unapologetically herself, no airs, no graces. Sung with that incredibly powerful voice, her songs are raw, revealing her very personal heartbreaks and her obvious love for her son.
If this really is her final tour, I’m so grateful I got to see her now when she’s on the verge of a new chapter in her life, when she seems to have laid her demons to rest and found peace and love in her partner and motherhood. My mothering instinct is to feel proud of her, to want the best for her, even if it means we don’t get to see much of her for a while.
For more details about last night’s concert, Neil McCormack, of the Telegraph has published a fairly accurate review.
Below are a few snaps taken on my iPhone 6. Please forgive the blurriness, we were sitting quite some distance from the stage. You’ll find the rest of the photos in my London Summer 2017 Flickr Album (keyword search ‘Adele’).