I WAS THERE . . . Adele @ Roseland Ballroom, 5.5.09

Photo: Jon Klemm

Balloons of blue hues and plush purple cascaded down onto the crowd as Adele stood on stage so poised and polished it was hard to believe she just celebrated her 21st birthday. “Aww thank you! Really! Thank you!” she cried out as adoring fans cheered. That night the Roseland Ballroom, a former dance hall, blossomed once more as fans of all walks fell in love with Adele’s beautiful voice and humble spirit all over again. The two-time Grammy award-winning songbird sang all the crowd favorites (“Hometown Glory,” “First Love”) as well as notable renditions of The Raconteurs’ “Many Shades of Black” and Etta James’ “Fool That I Am,”–her idol and musical muse with whom Adele will share the stage on a short tour. Backing her lush vocals was a hearty band comprised of a string quartet, drummer, keyboardist, organ player, bassist, and guitarist. Think that having such a large musical entourage goes to her head? Not at all. Talent aside, Adele’s success is also the result of her personality: humble, bold, and bubbly to boot. “I was on Rivington earlier today and I found this candy shop and I bought some candy that I’d like to share with you! Is that okay?” she asked an already acquiescent crowd. The international phenom proceeded to throw handfuls of sweets out to the crowd. The show wrapped with “Chasing Pavements,” during which you could’ve heard a pin drop in the cavernous venue that is the Roseland. Amid the roaring applause, she poked fun at concert social mores and shouted, “Now I’m going to walk off stage like I’m not coming back, and then I’m just going to come right back out to sing s’more!” And she did just that, returning to the stage to share more sweet morsels of song to a crowd already on her sugar high.

Nicole Velasco

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