The last couple of months of 2015 running through 2016 was a purple patch in the music career of Adele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE. On 22 October 2015, the video for the lead single from Adele’s 3rd album, 25 (2015), was released on YouTube. Hello was watched over 27.7M times in 24 hours, setting a new record. It was the 7th-best selling single of 2015 (12.3M units) despite its late release.
The release of 25 on 20 November coincided with a UK TV special hosted by Graham Norton. The Adele Live in New York City concert (Radio City Music Hall, 17 November) aired on NBC on 14 December. 25 broke sales records in the UK, the US, Canada & New Zealand. When Adele started touring on 29 February 2016, she played at sold-out venues to enthusiastic fans. Here is a delightful exchange with a young girl.
The video was filmed on 14 May in Cologne, Germany. Adele is chatting and joking with the audience. She suggests that she only has two songs that aren’t miserable and talks briefly about her time in Germany (6 shows in 8 days in three cities), prompting some light-hearted inter-city rivalry from the audience. Wondering aloud what she should do on her one day in Cologne, she calls on a young girl. Her motive for calling on 10-year-old A’lia is soon revealed.
Adele’s son is four, so Adele is seeking a child’s opinion on good things to do in Cologne. Unfortunately, A’lia can’t help. She travelled from Dusseldorf with her mom to see the Adele concert. Nonetheless, the interchange between Adele and A’lia (and later A’lia’s mom) is a heartwarming moment in a show that received very positive reviews. Then Adele grooves into Rumour has it (from the LP 21, 2019). Here is Adele just over a month later, headlining Glastonbury on Saturday, 25 June 2016.
Adele’s Glastonbury concert has gone down in history as a great performance.
A couple of concluding comments on the 2016 tour, including Adele’s relaxed exchange with A’lia are in order. In 2011, Adele spoke to Rolling Stone about the anxiety she experienced when performing. She revealed that she had invented an alter-ego to help her cope: Sasha Carter. She explained that it was a combination of Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce and June Carter Cash. By 2016, Adele seems much more relaxed on stage, unless she is channelling the maternal aspects of June Carter Cash (of the influential Carter Family & Johnny Cash’s wife) when she speaks to A’lia, and Sasha Fierce at Glastonbury.
Lastly, Billboard’s Chris Willman took on critics who said that Adele spoke too much during her 2016 shows and should shut up and sing more. He says that Adele chatting less was “unlikely to be wished for by almost any of her actual fans, who surely recognize that they’re in the presence of not just one of the great singers in pop history, but one of the great broads.” He italicises “broads” to show that he’s not intending to be disrespectful, but lightly deploying a well-worn pulp-fiction term for good-natured, charismatic female entertainers. A “broad” is larger than life. Adele is a “great broad” like Beyonce, like Sasha Fierce, and like June Carter Cash.