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It was the worst news for Adele fans. The British singer’s much-hyped Las Vegas residency came to a stuttering halt last night (Thursday 20 January), after she revealed that half her team had been struck down by Covid, and a number of deliveries had failed to turn up. In a tearful video posted to Instagram, she said she and her team had been awake “for over 30 hours” trying to figure out a solution, but had been unable to make it work. She apologised to the people who had travelled miles to see her perform at Caesar’s Palace, promising rescheduled dates would be announced soon.
“We’ve tried absolutely everything that we can to pull it together in time and for it to be good enough for you but we’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and Covid,” she said. “Half my crew, half my team are down with Covid, they still are, and it’s been impossible to finish the show… and I can’t give you what I have right now and I’m gutted, I’m gutted, and I’m sorry it’s the last minute.”
Fans are justifiably upset – some are angry – at the way the announcement was made. “It’s my birthday and I am on an airplane right now using the last of my vacation time for a whole year to see you along with some non-refundable deposits and a week of babysitting... I’m sad you couldn’t decide this until the last minute,” one wrote.
It certainly might have made more sense to warn fans of the issues earlier. But the way Adele’s Las Vegas saga has unfolded – and her apology video – is a classic example of how she tends to carry the burden of expectation on her shoulders alone. Back in 2017, she was forced to cancel the final two shows of her Wembley Stadium run after she damaged her vocal cords. She was apparently so desperate not to let her fans down that she’d considered miming. “But I’ve never done it and I cannot in a million years do that to you. It wouldn’t be the real me up there,” she said at the time. “I’m sorry for your disappointment... You know I would not make this decision lightly… I’m sorry. I’m devastated… Please forgive me.”
Adele has always treated her fans like family, so any time she feels she’s let them down comes with a hefty dose of guilt. In recent interviews, she spoke of being hurt when she saw some fans who felt “let down” by her recent weight loss, even while acknowledging that their feelings about their own bodies was not her responsibility. “It makes me sad that people expected that much from me, because that’s unattainable for anybody,” she said. “Things that people say, how someone looks, whatever. It’s not my job.” Despite this, you got the sense she couldn’t help but worry about them.
She also seems to be blaming herself for the collapse of the Las Vegas residency. Yet it’s not her fault that the music industry has been devastated by the pandemic, or that deliveries didn’t turn up on time. I doubt we’d see such an emotional apology from Ed Sheeran, or Drake, if the circumstances were so clearly out of their control. Adele should take her own advice and go easy. No one can deny how hard she’s tried.