Adele headlined the U.K.'s famed Glastonbury festival Saturday, a much anticipated gig that the singer called "the best fucking moment of my whole life" during the show. The 15-song, 90-minute-long set featured the live debut of 25's "River Lea" alongside over a dozen of the singer's hits including the headlining set's closer "Someone Like You."
Live at the Royal Albert Hall features British vocal sensation Adele performing at the storied venue during her promotional tour for her 2011 studio effort, 21. Backed by her rock ensemble as well as a string section, Adele runs through most of 21 while adding in earlier hits off her 2008 debut, 19, including "Chasing Pavements," "Hometown Glory," and "My Same." Primarily, however, Adele focuses here on material off 21, including such cuts as "Rumour Has It," "Turning Tables," "Someone Like You," the über-ballad "Take It All," and the funky hit "Rolling in the Deep." In perfect vocal form here prior to her 2011 throat surgery, Adele is the epitome of a burnished soul diva with a singer/songwriter's heart. Beautifully recorded and performed, Live at the Royal Albert Hall conveys all the drama of Adele's music and is the perfect companion piece to 21.
Adele's 2011 blockbuster, 21, was all about turning pain into power. Four years and 30 million albums sold later, remorse is still her muse. But where 21 was the sound of a woman soldiering through bad romance, 25 finds her queenly and resolute, lamenting the past on songs with titles like "Water Under the Bridge" and "When We Were Young." Even "Hello" is a goodbye. The nostalgic mood is the perfect fit for an artist who reaches back decades for her influences, even as her all-or-nothing urgency feels utterly modern.