Adele‘s surprise show at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Feb. 12 was truly the hottest ticket in town. It was her first concert in the city since 2011 — “I haven’t played in L.A. for years,” she told the audience early on in the night, and remarked that her “best show here” in L.A. was at The Wiltern, back in January 2009.
The diva — who was introduced to the stark stage by her carpool karaoke pal, The Late Late Show host James Corden — opened the concert with her Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 smash “Hello.” The 16-song set (including a reprise of “Hello”) struck a balance between new and old material, and featured seven cuts from her latest album, the Billboard 200-topping 25. In addition, she played earlier singles like the Hot 100 leaders “Rolling in the Deep,” “Set Fire to the Rain” and “Someone Like You” (all from 21).
Throughout the evening, the diva was charming — and hilarious — as ever. She chatted about going to Disneyland the day before the show (and meeting Belle from Beauty and the Beast — her favorite Disney film), joked about how hot she felt on stage (“I feel like my makeup’s about to slide off me face!”) and sang “Happy Birthday” to a lucky fan named Marissa.
The surprise gig was only announced two days earlier, and its tickets were offered to Adele’s fans in California who were previously registered with her website. Thus, the historic 84-year-old theater — with a maximum capacity of 2,300 — was stacked full of devoted fans who knew just about every word to every song. (Among those in attendance: actors and musicians like Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Katy Perry, John Mayer, Josh Groban, Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, David Foster and HAIM.)
Further, the tickets could only be picked up once inside the venue, in order to prevent scalpers from reselling the $50 tickets for a higher price.
“Sorry if it was a pain in the ass getting the tickets,” Adele told the audience. “Did any of you pay more than $50 for any of these tickets? … They were all saying ‘oh let’s do $150 a ticket, oh yeah! So-n-so said that…’ I said $50.” Her declaration of being firm for the ticket price drew a thunderous applause.
“I would have [charged] less, but my record label is paying for this,” suggesting that the last-minute nature of the show prevented them from doing a full-on production that would have been much more expensive. She then joked that the bare-bones stage was a reflection of the low ticket prices. “As you can see by the set, we’ve run out of money.”
Adele’s sold-out tour starts in a little over two weeks, and she told the audience that “the show is great,” but “didn’t want to give anything away.” (She also noted that the set list for The Wiltern show will not be the same as what she performs on the road during the tour.)
The tour launches Feb. 29 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is scheduled to play more than 100 shows in Europe and North America through November. The North American leg of the tour starts on July 5 in St. Paul, Minn., and includes six-night stands at both Madison Square Garden in New York and Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Before her final song of the night, “Rolling in the Deep,” she led the crowd in a reprise of “Hello” — but this time only with the audience singing. She wanted to capture the moment on video, and before the song kicked off, she exclaimed, “I need some kind of recording device. Hang on!” She then ran offstage into a darkened corner, mic still in hand, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Someone give me a phone! Oh come on, there’s like 20 f—ing people back here, give me a phone!” (Cue roaring laughter from the audience.)
After the audience sang nearly the entire song, Adele joined in for the last bit of the track. “That was f—ing amazing. That was a whole f—ing song! You are amazing! … That was amazing. Thank you.”
Here is Adele’s setlist at The Wiltern:
One and Only
Rumour Has It
Water Under the Bridge
I Miss You
Million Years Ago
Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
Someone Like You
Set Fire to the Rain
All I Ask
When We Were Young
Hello (reprise/audience sing-a-long)
Rolling In the Deep