Gig review: Adele, Usher Hall

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In an interview with Jonathon Ross, Adele recently admitted that she gives her management team a massive headache every time she goes on tour. She’s far happier playing to a small venue than the big ones her promoters are keen to line up. Their fiscal loss, however, is her fans’ gain particularly at the Usher Hall on Saturday. In an intimate, atmospheric gig, Adele had the 2000 seater packed to the rafters.

Opening first were The Civil Wars who can only be described as “Meg and Jack White Stripe cover the Cardigans at a John Denver tribute night in too high a pitch”. Their cosy relationship with Adele highlighted by mutual plugs during their respective sets and the revelation that they share matching tattoos (three dots in a line to signify the phrase To Be Continued). Adele’s audience also seems to have an excellent relationship with the duo, the pair receiving an astonishingly positive reaction for an opening act.

Following The Civil Wars was Amos Lee, a dazzling if uncharismatic talent with the easy voice of an ageing blues singer trapped in the body of a young beardy folky. Playing a series of songs from his fourth album, Mission Bell, and chatting with the audience about his Scottish roots and experience with Transatlantic Sessions, it looks like we’ll be hearing more from Lee on this side of the pond in the future.

Arriving on stage in a glamorous sixties silhouette against a backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral, Adele began with her first single from debut album 19, Hometown Glory. Still suffering from the chest infection that saw her first six shows of this tour cancelled, the 23-year-old’s sensational contralto was almost the better for it, occasionally gaining a raspier, croakier edge.

Perching on a stool and sipping hot water and honey for much of the performance, Adele’s disarming honesty and chatty banter between songs transported the crowd from a bustling auditorium into the singer’s living room. Receiving warm standing ovations from the upper circles for Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me and encore Someone Like You, Adele comprehensively proved why she’s just sold her 11 millionth copy of new album 21.

Josie Balfour