Sharp, gracious, warm, funny and possessed of a lustrous, full-bodied voice that could not only charm the birds from the trees, but pull an entire forest, Adele is the UK’s soul-pop queen, no contest.
With the success of her throat surgery – needed to fix respiratory troubles that have worryingly dogged her for months – this live CD (part of a DVD set) is well timed and welcome. There’s usually no reason to buy a live LP if you have the songs’ original studio versions, but this record of her show in September 2011 at ‘the Royal Albert fucking Hall’ adds something crucial. That is, Adele’s reminiscences, gags and confessions – and the ebullient, unaffected self that floods her live performance.
Everyone knows she effs and blinds like a trooper – not to mention possesses a filthy cackle that would shame Babs Windsor – but it’s still a surprise to hear her hilariously potty mouth running off in between the Muscle Shoals-like swing of ‘I’ll Be Waiting’, rich and creamy ‘Rolling in the Deep’, a terrific reinvention of The Cure’s ‘Lovesong’ and her devastating cover of Bonnie Raitt’s tear-stained ballad ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. All hail Adele – she’s an (effing) star.