Adele: she came, she sang, she conquered Australia. Now for NZ


Adele gives it her all during her final Melbourne concert last night
Adele gives it her all during her final Melbourne concert last night
Adele has owned Australia for the past couple of weeks. Now it's New Zealand's turn

Half a million Australians have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt or programme (a number secretly signed in advance), the two biggest selling items at the merchandise desks. Or maybe a coffee mug and baby playsuit.

Or they’ve gone home clutching scraps of “confetti” fired from cannons at the climax of the show, scraps of paper on which were song titles, lyrics and messages, such as “everybody loves the things you do” and “regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made”.

For the past couple of weeks, Adele has owned Australia, its paparazzi press and gossip sites. This week, it’s New Zealand’s turn.

In Australia, tickets ranging from $A100 to $A800 – much more on the resale market – sold out from the first show in Perth (65,000 people) to Sydney (a little under 200,000 across two nights), Adelaide (another 70,000) and Melbourne this weekend (150,000 across two nights).

Fans saw a concert “in the round”, with Adele and her very impressive voice alone on a raised stage in the centre of the stadium, her band tucked beneath the skirts of the stage. Things manage to be both tightly controlled and personally relaxed.

While running the same 18-song set list through the tour – beginning with Hello, ending with Someone Like You and featuring a choir of local chaps adding suited, manly support to her Bond theme, Skyfall – each show has had plenty of “Adele” moments.

She’s laughed about getting to the stage sweaty in a cramped box, which had been wheeled through the audience surreptitiously until this week, and warned that she’s liable to burp during a key change in one song.

She’s fired T-shirts into the audience and written notes that were then stuck behind a seat in the furthest back row of the stadium to be discovered mid-show.

And she’s walked many kilometres each night around the stage, down to the edge of the seats, and back again, trying to keep happy a stadium where at any one time three-quarters would be seeing only her back, her side or her image on a screen.

The industry chat is of guarantees to Adele of a minimum $A1 million a show, and probably much more for the biggest shows, and rumours of a return of more than $A1 million from merchandise at one of the Sydney shows alone – money that goes directly to the artist.

That seems a very tidy sum to take home to England. But the reviews, which have been almost uniformly positive, suggest it has been well earned.

There are always spontaneous moments: in Melbourne, Adele stopped her final concert mid-show to chastise a security guard.

“Just before we go to the next song … excuse me sir? Could you stop telling people to sit down?” Adele called out. “If you don’t like dancing, don’t come to a ****ing music show. If I see one more person get told to sit down, I swear to God.”

The superstar also unknowingly created a once-in-a-lifetime moment for a lucky couple.

As a gift to those attending her shows, the singer usually places signed letters on some of the seats in the arena.

However, Adele said she fell asleep in the afternoon and didn’t get around to writing the letters.

To make up for that, she said that a member of the audience would be brought up on stage.

Chris, 37, was selected after the saw the man burst into tears when she walked past him during her opening song.

Chris and his partner, Wade, were brought up on to the stage. Unknown to Adele, Wade got down on one knee and proposed to Chris in front of a packed Etihad Stadium.

Chris said yes to a chorus of cheers from the crowd.

Adele plays at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

It’s touted as being the biggest concert New Zealand’s ever seen.

Her promoters say the show will be bigger than Pink Floyd’s 1987 show (80,000 people) and U2’s 2010 concert (95,000 people), which is great for Adele but a lot of pressure for Auckland.

Flights across the weekend have sold out, with remaining flights more than $NZ300 one-way. They’re often as low as $NZ69. Air New Zealand is using a 312-seat international plane instead of the usual smaller aircraft on Christchurch-Auckland flights.

With accommodation filling fast, and remaining rooms priced up to $NZ1000 a night, fans are choosing to fly to Hamilton and stay 120km south of the stadium rather than bunk down on an Auckland couch.

For Auckland, it’s been a busy outdoor concert season, with Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Bieber performing during the summer.

Extra train, bus and ferry services will be in place. Trains and buses to and from the stadium will be free for ticket-holders.


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