No subject is off-limits for the 28-year-old artist: shopping, flicking boogers, or allegedly turning down an offer to perform at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. You can chalk it up to her intense stage fright, her working-class roots, or her way of staying grounded through immense success and universal accolades for her three studio albums. The Grammy-winner’s gift of gab delights the attendees who are lucky (or rich) enough to attend her record-breaking 2016 tour, and vexes the critics who just want to hear the English-born singer and songwriter perform such hits as “Hello” and “Someone Like You.”
There seems to be a daily parade of articles reporting on the latest outrageous or unexpected comment Adele tosses out to break the ice with her audience. Sometimes funny and occasionally bewildering, these statements reveal something honest and human about a woman who is the closest thing we have to musical royalty. In an age where media has become so splintered, we hang on her every word for a kernel of truth not only about her but about ourselves. She is the mirror we gaze into looking for assurance that we are doing our best.
As Phoenix prepares for two fantastic nights of chasing pavements and setting fire to the rain, we take a closer look at some of the showtime banter from Adele’s 2016 tour that has made headlines, and what it says about her and her fans (aka everyone).
“It’s a two-hour show, and half is me chatting about a lot of bullshit.” - heard during one of her Chicago performances
“I got bad reviews in San Jose. I was like, ‘Shut up dude, suck my [expletive].’” - heard during her Oakland, California performance
Consider these quotes your warning: if you are bringing young, impressionable children to an Adele show, you’re going to need earmuffs to drown out the expletives that will inevitably come out of her mouth. Her penchant for curse words even caused a minor stir during her 90-minute performance at the famous Glastonbury Festival, which was broadcast live on the BBC Two channel. She blurted out 33 words that require dashes after the first letter. That’s a swear word for nearly every three minutes of her set.
If you were lucky enough to have Adele in your circle of friends, she would be the Samantha: free of inhibitions. You may feel exasperated after you're done talking, but you always appreciate the honesty she brings to the table. We all want to be that person who does not hold back or hides behind polite metaphors like Taylor Swift (who is totally a Carrie).
“I was considering covering a song, but then I thought, ‘Fuck it, it's Prince, you can’t do that.’” - heard after a Prince video played during one of her St. Paul, Minnesota performances
No one would cry foul if Adele used her pipes to pay tribute to “Purple Rain” or “Nothing Compares 2 U,” but her humility wouldn’t allow it. We often allow ourselves to belt out songs we love in the car or shower. It’s only after we’ve had a few beers on karaoke night that we find the courage to take the plunge in front of a crowd. Fear often holds us back, and Adele was scared to cover Prince, especially in his hometown. A pitcher of Bud Light would not likely change her mind, and her self-awareness and restraint are admirable.
“God, I’m so shiny” - referencing her makeup during a performance in Belfast, Ireland
“The first thing I do when I get off a plane in America is head to a Target store. I’m not kidding. I’ve been there twice since I’ve been here.” - heard during one of her St. Paul, Minnesota performances
"I’d like to stop picking my nose. It’s a really bad habit that I have. You know when you pick one, put it in your hand, roll them and flick them. Anyone saying, ‘Eww’ — you are lying. You have to do something with the bogeys.” - heard during one of her Chicago performances
“I know I'm not Beyoncé, I can't dance or anything like that.” - heard after announcing during one of her Los Angeles performances that she refused an alleged invitation to perform at the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show
Adele is someone who had to put her priorities in order. Her numeric album titles, which reference her age at the time they were written, indicate she is on a constant quest to express herself despite her place on the path of life. Her music may be fully-formed and mature, but Adele, like the rest of us, is still finding out who she is and how to keep it together.
She and her partner recently became parents. She told Vogue, “I had a purpose, where before I didn’t.” She made a risky decision, and took time off from performing and working on 25, her third album, to focus on being a mother. Judging by her candor, keeping up a facade is not high on her list. She will pick her nose and do her makeup wrong. She will go on a Target run before a show. She will not devote her time to enterprises that do not reflect who she is, such as dancing during the world's biggest sporting event.
Why does she need to perform at the Super Bowl anyway? Everyone already knows who she is.
“Is it true that koala bears have chlamydia?” - heard during one of her Los Angeles performances
It’s true that the sexually transmitted disease is wiping out the population of Australia’s cutest creatures, but it really has nothing to do with Adele as a person. Let’s chalk this up to jet lag.