ADELE's sold-out gig in the intimate confines of The Olympia was one of the most eagerly anticipated concerts of the year.
And it's easy to see why. Over the course of two albums, 22-year-old Adele Adkins has attracted an enormous fanbase, who are seduced by her arresting soulful vocals and deeply personal songs. The Londoner's latest album, '21', has broken chart records in the UK and, astonishingly, has accounted for one out of every 10 albums sold there in 2011 so far.
The atmosphere is as special as this venue has ever seen when she takes to the stage. Adele truly is the real deal when it comes to vocals -- her voice has a range that virtually all of her peers can only dream about.
Yet, the early part of the gig is not as magical as many would have hoped. Her voice can't be faulted, but there's something listless about the accompanying music. Her five-piece band fail to deliver a sound to match her vocals.
They redeem themselves somewhat on the rapturous 'Rumour Has It' and breakthrough single 'Chasing Pavements'.
But the gig is at its best when it's just Adele and a piano. The sparseness allows her voice to shine on 'Take It All' and the sublime tearjerker 'Someone Like You'.
And then there's the night's highlight -- a glorious cover of Bob Dylan's 'Make You Feel My Love'. Adele takes the song into new territory and makes it her own. It's a reminder of her gifts -- and why her voice should not be sullied by poor accompaniment.
Time to ditch the band, Adele.