Live at the Royal Albert Hall


After issuing two mega-selling albums before the tender age of 21, Adele Adkins has had fans raving about her as the second coming of Dusty Springfield. And she makes a pretty good case for that opinion on this full-length concert DVD recorded at London’s most venerable venue. Adele displays expert pitch and control, and a rare ability to wring visceral emotion out of a simple lyric like “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me” (“Turning Tables”). Her trump card is her power and expression: On the anthemic “Set Fire to the Rain,” she reaches a staggering vocal intensity without resorting to the busy melismas and vocal curlicues that pass for good singing nowadays. Likewise, on torch ballads like “Don’t You Remember” and “Someone Like You,” she exhibits both her rich chest voice as well as a feathery falsetto to equally stunning effect.

The unexpected bonus on the DVD (excised from the included bonus CD) is Adele’s unguarded and notably salty between-song banter, as she pokes fun at her status as the queen of misery and the emotional turmoil behind her hits. Given her recent tour-shortening throat surgery, Live at the Royal Albert Hall may have to tide fans over for a while—even if it contains only two relatively unfamiliar numbers (a cover of the Steeldrivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been for Love,” plus a heartfelt rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”). Fans will likely be forgiving, given this vocal tour de force. –Bob Cannon

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