Adele - BST Hyde Park review: Londoner marks emotional return home with dazzling performance
When Adele stepped on stage to the opening bars of ‘Hello’ at Hyde Park on Friday night, it was a hugely emotive moment.
Her first public UK gig in over five years, the musician was visibly teary as the 65,000 strong crowd sang her hit back en masse. “I’m so happy to be here,” she enthused half-way through the song. “I’m back home.”
As ever, despite being one of the biggest musicians on the planet (stars like Tom Cruise were watching from the VIP area), Adele retained her familial relatability with the audience from the get-go. She embodied every inch of Hollywood glamour, dressed sleekly in black and gold, but her grounded Tottenham roots shone through. “The amount of times I’ve been down there, off my face, drunk,” she said, pointing to the crowd below, as cheers and laughter rang out. She also admitted, in her typically funny, candid style, that she was “f****** sh****** myself” with nerves.
If she did feel nervous, five years to the day when she was forced to cancel her Wembley shows due to damaged vocal cords, there were no signs of them on display as she delivered a masterful career-spanning set. It included a gorgeous rendition of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and a show-stopping performance of her acclaimed Bond song, ‘Skyfall’. ‘Rumour Has It’ was rousing, as was ‘Set Fire To The Rain’, which included plenty of pyro and fire blasts. The mass singalong that accompanied ‘Someone Like You’ reduced Adele to tears. “You sounded bloody lovely,” she tells them.
Adele spent a lot of time connecting to her fans on Friday, especially during a lengthy stint where she asked fans where they were from, how long they’d been here and what occasions they were celebrating. She chatted about everything from the “phenomenal” Billie Eilish and binge-watching Stranger Things to suffering from sciatica and getting older. One moment saw her offering to buy a fan turning 18 a drink, another saw her comically hurling t-shirts from a gun-cannon to the crowd.
At times, the musician seemed to be working extra hard with fans, perhaps after a last-minute cancellation to her planned Las Vegas residency disappointed so many earlier this year. She told fans last night that those gigs would be re-arranged “very, very soon.”
But Vegas seemed like a distant memory to fans on the ground, all of whom were too busy getting lost in the moment. They danced with sheer joy to buoyant numbers like ‘Rolling In The Deep’, or cried their hearts out listening to soaring ballads like ‘When We Were Young’ and ‘Easy on Me’. Adele’s songs still strike a deep and powerful chord with listeners who relate their own heartbreak to hers.
“London, I love you so much,” Adele tearily said towards the end. “I’m just so thrilled to be here.” As she powered through closer ‘Love Is A Game’ amid a blast of fireworks, there was no one more thrilled than her fans that Adele was back home.