Adele’s 2016 Arena Shows: What To Expect From Her First Tour Since 2011

In a move comparable to the release of a new Smiths album or John Virgo bowing to intense global pressure to return to the arena of the televised trick shot, Adele has announced that she will be singing in public in a series of giant arenas next year. It’s big news not just because Adele is the biggest artist on the planet, but also because she’s repeatedly talked about her dislike for performing in front of large crowds. Here’s what we might expect from her first tour since 2011.

The Jitters

Adele has shied away from the stage during her incredible rise due to chronic stage fright, which she claims is worsening as these dates approach. She’s previously claimed she’s terrified that the throat problems and subsequent surgery that blighted her 2011 tour might reoccur, and that she’d rather play 12 years at the Barfly than one night at the O2. So should we expect late, nervy arrivals, Adele pushed onstage by a team of slavering accountants while a support squad of hypnotherapists and Jez from Peep Show-style life coaches feed constant reassurances and centring mantras to her via an earpiece throughout the show? Maybe she’ll even perform via satellite link-up from the car park, giving a whole new meaning to the line “hello from the outside”…

Orchestrated Emotional Bellowing

Whether solo with a piano, backed by a philharmonic orchestra or joined by an unlit bunch of session plodders as she was on her 2011 tour, That Voice will be the biggest instrument in the room.


Album Replicas

Adele has said that she won’t be changing a note of any of her songs for the tour as she loves hearing the sing-alongs. “You know when you go to a show of someone that you love, and they play a record that you absolutely love, but they play it so many different ways that you can’t even sing along?” she said to NPR. “One of my favorite things about going to a gig and, doing a gig, is the singalongs — the crowd gets to sing with you and you get to sing with the artist. Like, that’s one of my favorite things personally. So I would never want to perform a song completely differently. I mean, imagine if I started doing a bashment version of ‘Hello.’ Everyone would be like, ‘What?'”

A ‘Comfy’ Stage Set

Adele’s 2011 tour saw a sparse set-up featuring a row of homely-looking lamps across the back of the stage as if to resemble a jazz club or exotic front room. The plan of designer Rob Sinclair was to stop anything drawing focus away from Adele’s voice, and since her new album sticks firmly to the formula of ’21’ we should expect the stage show to be similarly stark. Just glammed-up-girl-next-door Adele singing emotional songs with big hair. Ker-ching.


You don’t get through a whole evening of heart-wrenching ballads without telling the stories behind some of the songs, so expect a few extra hints about the identity of the mystery man she’s been banging on about in song the whole decade. Hopefully one night she may finally reveal that he was, in fact, John Virgo, who will then appear to perform a trick shot. We can but dream.


It’s been four years since Adele had to write out a regular setlist for an entire tour, but back then there were a smattering of covers including The Cure’s ‘Lovesong’. With ‘25’ she now undoubtedly has enough material to fill an entire gig, but it’d certainly be refreshing to hear her tackling a few more unexpected indie rock tunes. Our votes are for Slaves’ ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ and Fat White Family’s ‘Touch The Leather’.


Tobias Jesso Jr

The rising piano man wrote for ’25’, so it’s a fair bet he may well appear on the tour in some form. The support act perhaps, a special guest or a regular backing musician? However he does it, he should be showcasing the shit out of himself on this tour.