On Saturday night my lovely girlfriend and I took our seats at ANZ stadium amongst 95,000 other Adele fans. Well, maybe 80,000 fans and 15,000 boyfriends/husbands dragged along for the ride. Just after the sun set, the stadium lights went down, the stage in the centre of the stadium the focal point in the darkness. The gigantic screens surrounding the circular stage displayed an image of Adele’s closed eyes. At 8pm, the eyes opened and the screens lifted into the air. With no formal introduction, no chatter with the crowd, the woman who brought Sydney to a standstill greeted us Hello.
And that’s when I cried. I mean really cried. It surprised me. I’m not usually one to get all gushy over famous people. But it’s been one hell of a year, hasn’t it?
From the first time I heard Adele sing Set Fire to the Rain on an episode of Graham Norton, I knew I wanted to see her live. I love her lyrics and her willingness to put her feelings out there for everyone to hear. She sings about things we all feel – love, hurt, regret, insecurity – unapologetically and with conviction. As someone who dreamt of a singing career as an overweight young girl, I envied her powerful voice and her beauty at every size. And I admire her self-deprecating sense of humour.
When tickets to her first Sydney show went up for sale, I was in hospital post-surgery and despite Naomi and some good friends trying to get tickets, we missed out. So when her second show was announced and Naomi managed to get tickets, I was thrilled.
We weren’t too fussy about our seats. We didn’t want to be too close to the front (because we were being ‘sensible’ re cost of tickets) but not too far back because we had no idea how my recovery was going to go and didn’t want me having to hike up stairs if it was going to be a struggle. (Plus my vertigo kicks in looking up at the high seats, I can’t imagine looking down!)
So when I sat down in my seat having been able to endure the train trip and the walk from the station to gate ‘I’ at the stadium, via a merchandise stall and a food stall, I was overwhelmed. I was hot and sweaty, a combination of physical exertion and menopausal hot flushes, but I was there. The three months that were ahead of me when we booked this and all the hurdles I had to overcome had passed. At least for the minute I was NED (no evidence of disease) and physically able to sing at the top of my voice and shake my hollow body along to a woman I have so much admiration for.
Perhaps it’s because her music almost encourages you to wallow (if only for a little while) and embrace and experience your rough times rather than push through with positive thinking and optimism that I like it. Whatever it is, that concert is the most moving performance I have ever been to and I can’t imagine anything matching it.