Adele is a pop superstar with immense vocal talent, charisma and the ability to captivate an audience with her profound performances. After almost a year of delays, Adele finally began her Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which she had postponed only 24 hours before the first show. The shows were initially scheduled to occur between January 2022 and April 2022 but were delayed until November 2022 through March 2023, with Adele claiming the show was not ready because it had “no soul in it” and felt disconnected. The artist claimed that postponing the shows was the right decision, and anyone who was lucky enough to attend one of her stellar performances at the Colosseum will likely agree with that statement.
With a 15,700-square-foot stage and more than 4,300 seats, the Colosseum feels large yet intimate, which is a feature Adele worked to take advantage of. Prior to the start of the show, the stage feels small, with just a white piano and LED screens blocking the majority of the stage to create the shape of an “A.” Adele explained early in her show that as she moves through the setlist, the stage grows and the minimalist setup turns into an immersive spectacle.
To the surprise of no one, Adele chose to open with her Grammy-winning hit, “Hello” (2015). As the piano began to play, the 34-year-old artist took the stage, illuminated by the lights behind her. When she belted the first chorus, the black screens across the stage suddenly illuminated, and the venue was greeted with crystal-clear footage of Adele. There was a sense of pride and joy plastered on her face and an enchanting energy that left the audience cheering for many minutes after the conclusion of the first song.
Sticking with the simplicity of piano ballads, Adele continued with “Easy on Me” (2021). She stood in the center of the stage with a simple green backdrop courtesy of the massive screens; her voice was enthralling, with every note sounding better than the last. After the lead singles from “25” (2015) and “30” (2021), she chose to return to her youth with two songs from “21” (2011): “Turning Tables” and “Take it All.”
The bridge of “Turning Tables” left the audience speechless, before they erupted in applause and cheers as she tackled the final chorus, all while the screens allowed the audience to see every ounce of emotion on her face. “Take it All” marked the introduction of Adele’s three backup singers who perfectly complemented her vocals throughout the show and helped elevate each performance they accompanied.
Returning to “30,” Adele’s performance of “I Drink Wine” was the first time the stage began to grow, with some of the screens receding and a chandelier made of wine glasses descending from the ceiling. It was at that moment that the show became a spectacle.
Those who have watched interviews with Adele or who have had the pleasure of attending one of her concerts know that the Tottenham-born singer is known for her fiery, comedic persona, which she brought out at Caesar’s. From cracking jokes, swearing in her iconic accent and little personal anecdotes, Adele connected with the audience, making them cry, laugh and everything in between.
Adele is aware that a majority of her songs have to do with heartbreak and made it a point to include a couple of her upbeat songs to get the audience on their feet. Before moving into the upbeat trifecta of “Water Under the Bridge” (2015), “Send My Love to Your New Lover” (2015) and “Oh My God” (2021), Adele spoke to the crowd and said, “This may be a seated theater, but this is not a seated show. So, if you want to get up now and dance, now’s your chance.” The audience instantly rose from their seats dancing and clapping alongside Adele, with many younger audience members and Adele herself mimicking the Megan Thee Stallion “Body” dance, which someone made a viral trend after they synched it up to “Water Under the Bridge.” With “Oh My God,” the screens played the music video alongside Adele’s performance, making it feel like you were watching an IMAX version of the video.
After about 12 minutes of dancing to her lively, cheerful songs, Adele moved into a remarkable performance of “One and Only” (2011) accompanied by a full band and her incredible backup singers before taking a break to chat with the audience and give out some gifts. With a T-shirt gun in hand, Adele began firing shirts up into the highest mezzanine of the venue. Each shirt was signed, had a handwritten note with it, and 50 dollars to — in the words of Adele herself — “get a Christmas drink on [her.]” The moment was wholesome and proved just how much love Adele has for her fans.
The laughter after the T-shirt gun tangent soon subsided as Adele sat down on the edge of the stage to sing “Don’t You Remember” (2011). The entire performance of this song was breathtaking, with Adele belting every note and capturing the raw pain and anger the song is all about. Doing a complete 180, Adele brought the audience to their feet once again with “Rumour Has It” (2011), a performance that was filled with sass and the best kind of diva energy.
One of the benefits of seeing a show at the Colosseum is that the roughly 110-foot-wide and 34-foot-tall screens make the experience immersive on a level not seen at many other shows. Adele used these to her advantage and her attention to detail and use of the screens were most notable during “Skyfall” (2012), her Oscar-winning song for the James Bond film of the same name, and “Hometown Glory” (2008).
During “Skyfall,” which was the best performance of the night vocally, the screens played clips from the opening credits of the film and clips of Adele herself. As she approached the first chorus, a clip of a dragon setting fire to the screen at the back of the stage played before engulfing the whole screen in fiery images. As the fire blazed on the screen, the screen rose up revealing a full orchestra that was previously hidden behind it. It was a dramatic, sensational moment and perhaps the second-best moment of her residency. “Hometown Glory” similarly featured aesthetic clips of London projected over the orchestra, creating yet another immersive experience.
Without a doubt, the best performance of Adele’s residency was “Set Fire to the Rain” (2011). The song began with the screens completely covering the stage while a video of a raging storm played on them. As the song progressed, the screens retreated to show water falling like rain behind Adele and her white piano. When the song reached the second verse, the piano began to catch on fire, starting small at first before engulfing the piano entirely and spreading to the stage behind her, creating a wall of fire. While belting the last chorus, Adele sang “I set fire to the rain,” perfectly synchronized to bursts of flames behind her. The intense performance was the most memorable, not just because of the flames, but the power of Adele’s voice.
The remainder of the show featured many of Adele’s most popular songs and the most intricate set designs. While singing “When We Were Young” (2015), Adele walked through the crowd before confetti of Polaroids of herself at various ages in her life rained from the ceiling. During “Hold On” (2021), lanterns descended over the crowd and pulsed in sync with the music. “Someone Like You” (2011) featured the screens displaying live footage of the crowd, likely Adele’s way of thanking her audience and saying that she will “never find someone like” her fans. The second to last song, “Rolling in the Deep” (2011), once again had the audience up from their seats and dancing, with a surprise twist of the piano coming apart in a cloud of smoke while white confetti, meant to resemble dust, spewed at the audience.
Concluding with her full band, orchestra, pianist and backup singers, Adele performed “Love Is A Game” (2021), the final track on her most recent album “30.” The performance had the perfect ending, especially when it was paired with the artist disappearing in a cloud of pink confetti at the end of the song.
There is no denying Adele is a once-in-a-lifetime vocalist, but her Colosseum residency proves that she is also an exemplary performer. Her residency is not a concert or promotional tool for her latest album, but rather a spectacle that tells the story of her life as an artist, featuring songs from all of her albums. Adele is graceful and witty, inspiring and candid, magnificent and unmatched. With a crowd ranging from age 9 to over 70, it is clear her music has touched the lives of a wide range of people — a true testament to her talent.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly titled “Rolling in the Deep” as “Rumour Has It” when referencing the penultimate song in Adele’s performance.