We’ll never know what Adele’s Las Vegas residency looked like back in January when she tearfully canceled the shows on the eve of opening night. But after Friday’s (Nov. 18) first performance of Weekends With Adele at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, we know exactly what it looks like now: utterly and breathlessly spectacular.
The beloved British singer/songwriter addressed the cancellation toward the end of the two-hour-plus concert, calling it “the worst feeling I’ve ever had but the best decision I’ve ever made.” It’s hard to argue with her after seeing all the massive technical flourishes and tiny thoughtful touches that color the 20-song set. It’s clear that Adele lovingly dedicated the past 10 months to creating the intimate show of her dreams, and the lucky 4,000-plus fans who got to be in the room returned the love tenfold, reducing the singer to tears more than once throughout the poignant night.
“I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience or any disappointment that I caused,” she told the crowd. “But we’re here tonight, together.”
Of course, the show wasn’t all waterworks – this is Vegas, after all, and this is Adele, whose concerts frequently double as a stand-up comedy routine, with her trademark cockney one-liners and between-song banter. She also wielded a T-shirt gun to launch merch, a handwritten note and a $50 bill for cocktails to four fans, seamlessly working in a Rambo reference between her heart-achingly personal breakup ballads. And the audience got out of their seats on more than one occasion too, with Adele reminding the crowd ahead of “Water Under the Bridge”: “I don’t have many uptempos, so if you want to dance, now’s the time.”
But the true centerpiece of any Adele performance is her inimitable voice, and on Friday, her powerful and nimble vocals sounded up to the challenge of carrying two shows a weekend into the new year and beyond — and when she needs a break, her fans are always more than happy to sing every word.
As she kicks off five months of shows in Sin City, come inside the room with Billboard for the seven best moments of Weekends With Adele’s opening night.
Hello to Those 180-Degree Screens
As Adele told Oprah in their One Night Only sit-down late last year, she’ll likely “always” have to start a concert with “Hello” from now on (“it would be a bit weird if it was halfway through a set”). She doesn’t change course here, but what is surprising is when the audience’s eyes go from the stage’s simple initial setup of just a piano and Adele framed by an A-shaped opening to realizing that half the perimeter of the Colosseum – basically from one balcony to the other above the stage – are actually floor-to-ceiling video screens. The reveal comes just as the 10-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit’s bombastic chorus kicks in. Hello, indeed.
The dynamic screens are used to striking effect throughout the set, from seemingly immersing a wall of string players in the watery opening-credit sequence of Skyfall as Adele belts the Oscar-winning theme song to the 2012 James Bond film, to putting you right in the bustling, neon-lit streets of London for “Hometown Glory,” to projecting a live shot of the opening-night concertgoers themselves across the screen for “Someone Like You.”
It's a Big Week for Adele for a Lot of Reasons
You can always count on Adele’s endearing stream-of-consciousness chitchat between songs, and the best example came early in the night when the pop star reflected on what a big week it was for her – but you might be surprised by one of the reasons. “I’ve got a lot to tell you. It’s a bloody massive week for me, this week,” she began, unexpectedly shifting to the end of a TV era. “It’s the Walking Dead finale on Sunday! Do we have any Walking Dead fans here?” After she got a pretty healthy dose of screams from the crowd, she was a bit surprised. “Oh! I thought this was going to be a stiffer crowd than that. I’ve been obsessed with The Walking Dead for like over a decade, and on Sunday it’s all coming to an end. And obviously it’s opening night, and it was the Grammys [nominations], and it’s the World Cup – f—ing hell, there’s a lot going on!” Oh right: Adele scored seven 2023 Grammy nominations on Tuesday – including a trio of Big Four nods – and a global soccer tournament kicks off on Sunday.
A Sweet Seat Upgrade
Adele revealed that she spent part of her production rehearsals checking out the audience’s perspective, and she was horrified by the view from two particular seats on either side of the highest balcony. “I couldn’t believe, there was lit’rally a wall next to your face,” she said, holding her hand inches from her cheek. “And I was like, ‘Naur.’” So she did something about it, gifting one of the fans in those seats (sorry to the other side; Adele says that seat will be upgraded at Saturday’s show) with a pair of floor seats right next to the stage. “I’m sorry if you’re a group of more than two and someone’s been left out,” she said. “I hope you’re still friends afterwards.”
Adele Literally Sets Fire to the Rain – And a Piano
One of the most jaw-dropping visuals of the night came during another of Adele’s Hot 100 chart-toppers: “Set Fire to the Rain.” It was impressive enough when a torrent of raindrops poured down in front of the full band (sparing Adele’s perfectly coifed hair, thankfully), but then a fire started burning under a white piano before spreading across the entire stage, eventually engulfing the piano. We could feel the heat of the wild flames from the crowd, so we can only imagine what it feels like for the performers with a front-row seat to the fiery spectacle.
Adele’s Nostalgic Trip Through the Crowd
Adele took the opportunity ahead of performing her nostalgic ballad “When We Were Young” to take a trip down memory lane with the audience, bringing a mic out into the crowd to ask people their favorite childhood memories. The best answer was from 12-year-old Blake, who sweetly said his favorite memory when he was young was “well, kinda right here, right now.” Adele continued to saunter through the crowd while performing the 25 single, pausing to hug a drag performer dressed like her and to kiss her sports-agent boyfriend Rich Paul. As she made her way back to the stage, confetti with Polaroid photos of the singer at different stages in her life rained on the crowd.
Not One, Not Two, But Three Confetti Moments
That wasn’t the only time confetti fell from the Colosseum ceiling. In addition to “When We Were Young,” the final two songs each got their own confetti moment too, starting with the high-energy ending of yet another Hot 100 No. 1, “Rolling in the Deep.” The energy was so high, in fact, that the crowd seemed surprised when Adele launched into yet another song, playing 30’s “Love Is a Game” as the finale. She clearly wanted to drive home the message of love to wrap up the night, as rainbow-colored confetti shaped like hearts fell from the sky. One of the hearts that Billboard spotted on the way out of the theater was appropriately printed with the message: “Better late than never!”
Adele’s Charming Mix of Nerves & Gratitude
“I have no idea what I’m embarking on for five months, but I can’t f—ing wait,” Adele said early in the night. “So thank you for being my first night.” She referenced her nerves a few times over the two hours (“I am so scared and I am so nervous but I’m so happy” and “I’m talking this much because I’m so nervous; I’m sh–ting myself”), while she also marveled at her dreams finally becoming a reality (“Is this a daydream or is this real?” and “It looks just like what I imagined it would look like”). It was remarkable to see a performer at her level be so present and take in all she had accomplished in arriving at this moment.
Weekends With Adele Night 1 Set List
Easy on Me
Take It All
I Drink Wine
Water Under the Bridge
Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
Oh My God
One and Only
Don’t You Remember
Rumour Has It
Love in the Dark
Set Fire to the Rain
When We Were Young
Someone Like You
Rolling in the Deep
Love Is a Game
Weekends With Adele Upcoming Dates