Apparently, “Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall” was the
biggest-selling DVD of 2011. This isn’t surprising, because
Adele’s 2011 release, “21” was the biggest-selling CD
of 2011. From the stage during this concert, Adele mentioned
that 10 million copies of the CD had been sold, and that was
just as of September 22, 2011. I’m not certain what the figures
are as of this writing. However, what IS obvious is that
Adele Adkins (1988 – ) is the hottest and as of now, most
successful Popular singer in the current musical firmament.
How she became so popular is well known, and Adele willingly
recounts many incidents from her life and career from the stage
during this concert, which is replete with profane “colloquialisms.”
In fact, a “Contains Mature Language” sticker has been placed
upon the outside sleeve of this combination DVD/CD set.
The DVD has a running time of approximately 101 minutes,
much of which is Adele’s “between song” audience banter,
which explains how the purely musical part of the concert
could fit on the accompanying CD. She has keenly established
her down-to-earth persona, and couldn’t do a better job of
connecting with the capacity audience. In fact, Adele had
this crowd in the palm of her hand.
As for her singing, her contralto voice is most effective in the
lower part of her range. Millions love this voice, and I feel
somewhat funny criticizing a voice that many regard
as sui generis. Nevertheless, as effective as her voice is in
her upper register, I can’t help but detect a tendency to
sometimes strain a bit when reaching for a note, to produce
an emotional effect. This technique is fine up to a point,
and is of course quite common in Popular music. However, I feel
that Adele would do well to take care of her beautiful instrument,
and protect it by perfecting her technique, particularly when
changing from her chest to head register. Yes, I’m writing this
with the full knowledge that she famously underwent vocal
surgery, just a couple of months after this concert.
What was most important was that Adele sang with a sincerity
clearly loved by her audience, thereby guaranteeing a
successful concert. She either wrote or co-wrote most of the
17 songs she performed, with the lyrics taken directly from
her own life experiences. Although Adele plays a few instruments,
she didn’t play them during this concert, and instead relied
upon the skills of a large backup band, replete with two violas,
two cellos, and eight violins (the “Wired Strings”), in addition
to about five other instrumentalists, and two female backup
singers. This was obviously a first class production, and the
technical reproduction on this DVD was impressive.
An eight and one-half minute bonus feature depicting her
preparation for this gig, and interviews with members of
the audience is included. It’s entitled, “You, Me and Albert.”
Any true fan of Adele’s will want to view and probably own this
DVD, as it provides an overview of her two-album career thus far.
I’m glad that I watched it, because I was curious to see what
all the “fuss” was about. Watching her sing “Someone Like You”
and “Rolling in the Deep” sure beats hearing those songs
overplayed on the radio, all the time. I can now see why
Adele is so popular with the masses.