I filled my last weeks in London with so many things that I still haven’t gotten around to writing about them all! So bear with me as I go back in time to tell you about the Adele concert I went to at Wembley Stadium way back on June 28th.
I managed to get tickets during the pre-sale in November, 8 months before the concert. At the time, I didn’t know that it would be just one week before I left London, but it ended up being a really nice farewell to the city. I took my wonderful flatmate (who is also one of my best friends from college) and it was also a nice farewell to him, since although he is moving to NYC, I won’t see him for a while either!
Security was very thorough, since it was just a month after the terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. I had been to Wembley twice before – once when I ran through it during the North London Half in 2015, and once in March of this year to see the England vs. Lithuania football match – but this was a much tighter level of security than before.
We got to Wembley an hour and a half before the concert started and it took about 45 minutes to get inside. All men were patted down, as well as some women by female officers (but not me) and all bags were closely inspected and tagged to show that they had been checked. They even had me open the change purse in my wallet – they were very thorough! Below you can see the throngs of people making their way into the stadium.
We got food and then found our seats, wayyyyyy at the top of the stadium. It was a sold-out crowd of 98,000 people – the largest crowd EVER at Wembley Stadium!
When the concert was about to start, the video image of Adele’s eyes blinked and opened, and she walked down a long aisle to the stage as she began singing her first song, Hello.
This was the setlist:
One and Only
I’ll Be Waiting
Rumour Has It
Water Under the Bridge
I Miss You
Don’t You Remember
Make You Feel My Love
Send My Love (to Your New Lover)
Take It All
Set Fire to the Rain
When We Were Young
Rolling in the Deep
Someone Like You
The concert was, of course, incredible. It felt like an out-of-body experience at first, since I was so excited! I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore Adele fan to the level that I know anything about her personal life (I had to google her last name, husband and son since I was curious at the concert) but I’ve been listening to her songs since around 2009, just after her first album came out, and know all of the lyrics to most of her songs.
Even though we were so far away and Adele was a tiny dot, she’s so great in front of a crowd that it still felt like we were just having a chat in her living room. She was clearly very overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and said she couldn’t believe she was playing Wembley. She was also so happy to be ending her 16-month tour in London, her hometown!
I promised myself I wouldn’t spend the entire concert taking videos because I wanted to experience it in real time, but I did take a few videos and was so glad I did because I went back and watched them many times after. I couldn’t find a way to embed them without uploading them to YouTube, but these are some photos I took throughout the night.
The emotional part of the evening came when Adele talked about the massive Grenfell Tower fire, which had occurred just a few days before the concert. Adele spoke about how the tragedy was close to her heart and how she would continue to support the victims going forward, and asked audience members to donate money by texting a number projected on the video screens.
Then she asked everyone to put their cell phone flashlight on and sang “Make You Feel My Love” as a tribute to the victims and survivors of the fire, which was as tear-inducing as you would imagine.
After that, the mood picked up again, and one of the high points was pyrotechnics during “Set Fire to the Rain.” That was a very cool moment! I didn’t take any photos, but there was an interesting music video of Adele underwater that played during Skyfall, as well as a 100+ male chorus of background singers that stood around the edge of the stage.
At the end of the night, Adele performed her final song – “Someone Like You” (another heartbreaker) and then got in a London cab (that pulled up backwards to the stage) and drove away down the aisle in the middle of Wembley Stadium, hanging out the back window of the cab and waving to her thousands of fans.
What a star.
The concert I attended was the first of four that Adele was supposed to play in London at Wembley Stadium as the conclusion of her 16-month world tour. We attended on the first night (a Wednesday), then Adele performed again on Thursday…and on Friday night, she announced that she was forced to cancel her Saturday and Sunday night concerts due to damaged vocal chords.
We considered ourselves extremely lucky to have gotten tickets for the first night. I can’t imagine how heartbroken I would have been to have missed the concert after waiting for 8 months. I can only imagine how upset all of the fans were – especially those who had planned trips around the concert and had traveled from very far away.
But we managed to get lucky, and seeing Adele at Wembley really was the crowning jewel of my year in London. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
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