Tears, apologies, screaming fans, a cry from Celine Dion and more than 30 minutes of banter punctuated the long-awaited two-hour opening performance of “Weekends With Adele” at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Even before she took the Colosseum stage at exactly 8:15 p.m. Friday night, it had been a monumental week for Adele, who received seven Grammy nominations. But on stage, she revealed that the biggest event for her would come on Sunday because it’s the final from his favorite show The Walking Dead.
“I have many things to tell you. It’s been a hell of a week for me. It’s the Walking Dead final on Sunday – can you believe this? Do we have Walking Dead fans here? I was obsessed with The Walking Dead for more than a decade and on Sunday it all comes to a close… and of course it’s opening night, the Grammys and the World Cup.
This note was a lightest moment among the heaviest throughout the singer’s 20-song set. The evening was loaded with apologies for the events of last January abrupt cancellation hours before ‘Weekends With Adele’ began airing because it “wasn’t ready,” as she told fans in a video message earlier this year. Almost 10 months to the day later, no one in the audience seemed to really care. Ticket prices for the five-month run have soared into the five-figure range, with fans happily paying record numbers.
When the crowd of over 4,000 entered the Colosseum, they saw a single white piano on stage in an illuminated A-frame. With a strict policy that no one would be seated while she sang, Adele stepped out on time with her pianist Eric, in a black dress with a constellation design detail, at first sight a bespoke Schiaparelli .
She looked visibly nervous as music to “Hello” began. His first words to the crowd were, “I’m shitting myself.” As the thundering chorus hit, 180-degree floor-to-ceiling screens lit up and the room was surrounded by four huge projected images of Adele, allowing the crowd to see the singer up close.
In tears at the end of “Hello,” she said, “I should give you a standing ovation, thank you so much for coming back to me. You look beautiful, and it looks just like I imagined. Just perfect. Thank you. I can’t leave the stage for about 50 minutes, so I’m going to have shitty makeup streaming for the entire first part of the show.
‘Easy On Me’, the second on the night’s set list, was placed appropriately with Adele saying to herself and everyone, ‘I hope in time my nerves will go away.’
They did it quickly. Soon, the singer seemed as excited to be there as everyone else. Paying homage to the goddess who “built” the Colosseum, she thoughtlessly shared, “I’m not going to lie, I feel like Celine Dion…was the only reason I wanted to sing here. [It] was because of her.
After clearing all of that, she laid out the game plan for the night. “This show, the one we are all watching now, this show is growing and I wanted to start it small. I want it all to be about me and that’s why I came over and said “Hello” just him and me. I want you to feel what it’s like to me in the studio. What I do when I start writing a song is I’ll sit in front of a piano and fuck until something feels good. Then I just start making noise and eventually a lot of the songs you’ve heard about materialize. It might be a little wonky tonight because my nerves are out of control.
She overcame the nervousness by getting closer to the audience, walking through the crowd several times and sitting on a perch at the front of the stage, specially designed for her. At one point, even showing that she was wearing no shoes, just gym socks, she said, “Do you like my fancy socks? The crowd seemed to eat those relatable moments. Grabbing a t-shirt gun and firing it into the audience, she presented fans with items including new material, a handwritten note and “$50 for a drink.”
After “Turning Tables,” a song that “really pisses me off,” she again apologized for the delay in editing the show, telling an audience member, “It took nine months to get here, I’m so sorry.”
For “I Drink Wine,” the intimate setup of the singer and her pianist was transformed into a chandelier of hundreds of lowered glasses, and the A-frame widened for the introduction of the band and backing vocals.
As she sipped from a mug between songs, Adele explained, “It looks like I’m drinking wine, but I’m drinking hot honey. I don’t drink while I work, but I’m definitely going to need a shot after that.
By “Water Under the Bridge,” about 30 minutes later, Adele relaxed, revealing that last week she was “sick as a dog” and self-quarantined in the front row of the theatre. She said she knew that if she didn’t perform her first concert in Vegas, it would be game over and “I’m just gonna fall off the face of the earth.”
“So I was able to come to production rehearsals,” Adele continued, “and I had this balcony way up there.” In a gesture of goodwill, she drew fans from that area – “the two worst seats in the house” – to the front row.
Her set list also included “Rumor Has It”, as well as “Skyfall”, during which 24 string players played behind her, arranged Hollywood Squares-style with eight players in three rows.
Presumably taking a break to touch up that makeup, Adele was off stage during a pre-recorded presentation of her song “Cry Your Heart Out” which included vaporous video footage of her singing.
The show also wowed with even more stage effects. As Adele sang “Set Fire to the Rain”, the stage seemed to fill with cascading drops even as her piano and the stage partly lit up in flames, while during “Hold On”, the room looked like a lantern festival when it was scheduled synchronously. orbs danced above the audience.
Walking through the crowd, she asked everyone for their favorite childhood memories before entering “When We Were Young.”
After singing “Hold On,” she finally aired her thoughts on the rumors that swirled around in the months following the postponement.
“There’s been so much crap written about me since and I’m telling you it’s absolutely, completely made up and there’s been rumors that I moved hotels and I was moving theaters and stuff and I don’t never did it once [Caesars] To ask questions. They were amazing, so thank you for inviting me,” she lamented. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Then the lights came on and the cameras flipped, projecting the audience onto the screens during “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep,” turning the venue into a dance party. On the latter song, the piano temporarily levitated and appeared to shatter, as a dense storm of confetti descended, minimizing stage visibility. Another shower of confetti fell for the finale, “Love is a game,” as images of hearts on the screens displayed inspirational messages.
The last message on screen as Adele walked out of the building? “The beginning.”
As thousands of people walked out of the theatre, they demanded to go to the ‘Weekends With Adele’ shop. With a line stretching across the casino, guests waited to purchase items such as a $250 Adele varsity jacket featuring tracks from her albums 19, 21, 25 and 30 on the sleeve or a $45 Adele Saturn t-shirt – as well as nameplate necklaces with the words “Married”, “Divorced” or “Hello”. The dresses she had appeared in before were also on display, including the Schiaparelli from her 2021 Adele One night only a television special as well as numerous merchandise with the song title “I Drink Wine” and a Dear Adele postcard station with a red post box to drop a line.
If Lady Gaga raised the bar on Vegas residencies with her epic hit show ‘Jazz + Piano’, Adele took it a step further with ‘Weekends With Adele’. And judging by the mood in the audience, it was well worth the 10 month wait.
Click on the following song titles to see a snippet of each running:Hello,” “Set fire to the rain” and “hit bottom.”