And suddenly I see what has happened to Adele. She’s turned. She’s lost her way. She believes the hype. She has allowed all the smoke that’s been blown up her (bleached?) arsehole to cloud her judgement. And I don’t believe her anymore. Some critics say they can hear her singing voice taking on more of an American lean, and frankly I don’t really care. It’s her speaking voice that bothers me. The way that when she wants attention and sympathy and understanding she seems to turn up the salt of the earth, I’m the same as you, working class London just a few notches, to fool the rubes back home. She’s moved on, and now you can’t touch Adele anymore; the old Adele is a myth, a ghost, a giant marble folly in the grounds of the person that she used to be. And it’s not just that she’s been engulfed by the American celebrity way of life, there must be plenty of reasons to fall for it; no, the problem lies with the fact that she seems to have stopped caring about the very people who got her there.
So it was with freshly pepper sprayed tears that Adele came clean to the world yesterday and confessed that the show was very much not on. “I’m so sorry, but my show ain’t ready” she gulped, as her ludicrous fingernails performed some separate sort of chin dance; a kind of upside down, fake keratin Medusa. It was meant to look heartfelt and spontaneous but to me it looked like about Take 12 (‘and this one’s got to be the last, cos I ain’t doin’ this all fackin’ night’). She explained the problem very carefully, with lots of dramatic pauses, to give her besotted fans a chance of understanding. You see they have tried so hard, like really hard, but it seems that “half” of her team have Covid (which seems an awfully large proportion, what have they been doing with each other?) and that Adele just isn’t ready to give them what they want, because it just won’t be good enough for them. Now, now, Adele, let’s not be too hasty. Indeed, they’ve been trying so hard that everyone has been awake for 30 hours “trying to figure it out”. And that’s when I laughed.
People have come to expect big things from live music these days. In fact it isn’t really about the music at all: for a lot of acts it’s about providing as many distractions as possible so that the crowd forget that the music, and by implication their taste in music, is a bit shit. So much of today’s popular music is so bereft of soul, class and, well, good music that it has to be tarted up with silly dance routines, endless costume changes, grid outage levels of lighting, dry ice and back screens that can be seen from fucking Neptune. What would be really nice as a change would be to get back to basics and stay there – most musicians that make it start out in pubs and small clubs where the prop list is lucky to occasionally include a chair, a light bulb and an audience other than the cleaner. But it is in this crucible that musicians find their way and become who they are, and surely that’s what the people truly want to see.
My point is this: what did Adele and her half-a-team spend 30 hours awake deciding? If Adele loved her fans as much as she says, and is as sorry as she says ( which was too many times to sound convincing) then she could have done something so much more spectacular that some flashy, glittershit Las Vegas pantomime and instead just grabbed a small band of session players, stood in front of the crowd, just as Ella and Aretha would have done, and let her voice do the work. That’s what she does. That’s how she got this far. I read that once these concerts have been rescheduled, she’ll be taking in about £500,000 a show, which is a lot of money. Perhaps she should think about using all that cash to refund the journey costs for all those fans that will be flying in from around the world to see her, because she’s so big now that the mountain comes to her and her residency. But if you ask me anyone stupid enough to fly around the world to see Adele is therefore also too stupid to get a refund. I started to go off Adele the moment she did Oprah, and revealed just what a load of bollocks she’s been feeding on out in California, but this is a new and much lower low: a singer who won’t sing, because her supper has already been paid for, is no musician at all. I’m afraid I am going to have to cancel my interest. Pity.