Adele showcases witty sense of humor, otherworldly voice as Vegas residency nears its end

LAS VEGAS – If that shiny silver outfit you wanted to buy online for the Beyoncé concert just sold out, blame Adele.

“I’ve been shopping on Amazon for something to wear to her show. I just can’t wait,” the singer told another packed house at Caesars Palace Sept. 1, a nod to Beyoncé's recent request that fans get glittery for her concerts. “I might look like a disco ball.”

Adele may be a singing phenomenon, but she has the wisecracking audience repartee of past Vegas greats such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Roll into your pricey seats at the wrong time and you might confuse her singing residency for a stand-up act.

Throughout the night – this being the 25th weekend of "Weekends with Adele" – the singer alternated between powerhouse renditions of her classics (with the lamentable exemption of “Chasing Pavements”) with riffs on topics ranging from cold sores to motherhood.

Adele is returning to Las Vegas for more Weekends With Adele shows.
Adele is returning to Las Vegas for more Weekends With Adele shows.

When she wasn’t shooting T-shirts into the crowd, she was channeling a talk show host and asking audience members how they met. Early in the program, Adele cut to the chase with her typical stevedore patter: “Yes, my songs are sad, but I’m really (expletive) funny.”

And what songs. “Turning Tables,” “Skyfall,” “Set Fire to the Rain,” “Rolling in the Deep.” All anthems in a rich set list that demands being blasted at full volume, which Adele and her mega-piece band (later complemented by an orchestra) did through a booming-yet-clear sound system designed to carry over into neighboring Utah.

With all the recent zeal over Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour and, of course, Taylor Swift’s gargantuan Eras Tour (now coming to a theater near you), it’s easy to forget that the pop music world trembled when Adele first announced her Las Vegas residency in November 2021 (the show is scheduled through Nov. 4).

With all respect given to the monster talents of Queen Bey and Taylor, Adele’s writing and singing talents are in the same heavyweight class.

It’s honestly hard to imagine little “Adele from Tottenham,” as she called herself, quietly gigging to a handful of disinterested souls in Camden coffeehouses in the London suburbs. This 35-year-old version of Adele seemed to threaten structural damage to the Colosseum with every full-throttle anthem.

As for the crowd, enraptured is the word. From pre-teens to grandparents, well-dressed to backwards trucker hats, all were on their feet, most singing every word back.

To get a full sense of the arc of Adele’s residency show and its assorted songs, you can’t do better than reading our Melissa Ruggieri’s review of Adele’s debut gig last November. Things haven’t changed much since.

But while back then Adele felt obliged to apologize to fans for delaying by months the original start of her residency back in January 2022, stranding and angering fans who had traveled to Las Vegas from all over the world, this time she allowed the topic one joke.

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After she kicked things off singing a number of songs with only a piano accompaniment, Adele cracked, “This isn’t the whole show; we didn’t delay for months for this.”

Adele, like many other performers over the past summer, has dealt with her share of fan interaction issues. Just a week ago, she halted “Water Under the Bridge” to check on a fan who suggested loudly they were being hassled by security.

At this concert, after she did a regular bit where she picked a balcony seat number at random to offer that fan and their guest her personal front row seats, the swap somehow led to fans in the balcony yelling that the wrong people had come down front.

“I don’t know what’s going on up there,” Adele said, jokingly averting her eyes. “Let’s move on.”

For all the banter in “Weekends with Adele” – including a long digression about how the singer was now fully embracing the allegedly deleterious effects of the planet Mercury being in retrograde (look it up) – one can’t help but be shocked by the power, range and emotional impact of that voice.

Las Vegas has no shortage of musical spectacle, with most shows accompanied by myriad costume changes, innumerable set pieces and the requisite dancers.

But with Adele you get a bit of old school Vegas. Take away the giant video screens and a few special effects, and you might be back in the days of Ol’ Blue Eyes, another voice from a improbable galaxy who mixed off-color wisecracks with singing that pierced your heart.

Like Sinatra, Adele as a talent is a shooting star. Catch her while you can.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Adele Las Vegas residency showcases wisecracks and staggering voice