Adele lights up Hyde Park for BST Festival
Two piano chords, instantly recognisable, announce the entrance of Adele in front of the BST Hyde Park audience. Hello, the perfect intro to this homecoming for the singer, reverberates throughout the park, as a thunderous choir of voices rises from the field to sing along. The artist is visibly moved, “thrilled”, as she confesses, to be back in front of a live audience. And what an emotional night it is.
Her powerful voice and the setlist, comprising both oldies and new tracks, and bouncing from the most dramatic to the lighter songs, would be enough to satisfy the crowd. But Adele’s engaging performance and interactions with the concertgoers – making jokes and adopting a friendly approach, her chatting relatively low in volume like she’d be talking to a friend in a quiet bar – make for an all-encompassing show. And that’s even before mentioning the great use of the BST stage, from the mesmerising digital backgrounds to the confetti and disco balls, which further enhance the impact on Hyde Park spectators.
Her glamorous appearance is far from stiff as she makes facial expressions during Rumours Has It; the heart pounds as the drumbeats roll throughout the invigorating hit. Smoothly, the singer-songwriter dips into One and Only, a powerhouse of a melody with intense and lingering vocals. Attentive, she constantly keeps her eyes on the audience, even as the night draws in, and that’s how she spots someone waving from the crowd for an emergency and stops the music to call on security.
The setting turns almost solemn when the beginning of Skyfall kicks in; an ardent performance that induces goosebumps. The upbeat Send My Love (To Your New Lover) anticipates the shooting (in the literal sense) of signed shirts from canons across the field for the ecstatic fans. The following “karaoke session”, as Adele calls it, takes place on the catwalk that elongates the stage well into the park. She is accompanied by her pianist, Eric, for a segment of some of the most soulful hits: Easy on Me, debut album’s Make You Feel My Love and Someone Like You. The dancing restarts to the spirit of Oh My God. Moodily backed by a display of musicians’ silhouettes playing under the rain, the artist brings real fire on stage for the choruses of Set Fire to the Rain. But the real explosion lands with Rolling in the Deep, a vehement rendition.
The ending returns on more sweet notes with Love Is a Game, finishing with fireworks that light up the sky of Central London. A splendid, wholehearted welcome back from Adele, a pleasant, cheerful and elegant host.
Photos: Courtesy of BST Hyde Park/Gareth Cattermole
For further information and future events visit Adele’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Oh My God here: