Adele rolls in the deep in Electric Factory performance

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Avra Bossov ('11)/ Eastside Editor-in-Chief

Adele played a sold-out show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on Friday, May 13th as part of her North American tour supporting her newest album “21.”

Opening for Adele was a band called The Civil Wars, whose performance began at 8:30 p.m. Relatively new to the scene, as their first album debuted in February of this year, the Southern-based band’s sound served as an elegant warm-up for Adele when their beautiful harmonies rippled over the Electric Factory. Comprised of singer/songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White, the duo played a 6-song set including their hits of “Barton Hollow” and “Poison & Wine.” Also included was a folksy-cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Armed with just a guitar and two voices, the duo’s beautiful blending and brilliant chemistry offered the crowd forty-five minutes of musical excellence.

As The Civil Wars’ set began to wind down and the crowd grew anxious to see Adele, White joked, “we know you didn’t come to see us, and that’s just fine.”

With a twenty-minute turn-around, Adele claimed the stage around 9:30 p.m., singing “Hometown Glory” from “19,” the first song she ever wrote, with just her and her pianist on stage. After that song, the stage opened up to reveal two back-up singers, a drummer, a banjo player and a guitarist. As per usual, the stage was adorned with lampshades hanging that added dramatic lighting. For example, during “Set Fire to the Rain,” the lampshades’ light bulbs ignited. However, dramatic lighting was not the only captivating element of her performance.

Playing around twleve songs, including ones from both “21” and from her debut album  “19” which came out in the summer of 2008, the crowd was enraptured in her—her sound, her stories told in between each song and the idea of seeing her standing just feet away. Whereas most performers these days sound better in a studio recording, Adele managed to blow the crowd away by providing deviations to the recorded tracks that still sounded just as good—if not better.

At one point during the performance, Adele stopped to thank Philadelphia for being so receptive. Fans passed up a couple posters and a t-shirt that read “PhilADELEphia” as tokens of their appreciation. In these ways and more, Adele managed to interact with the crowd in the midst of her singing. She also felt her lyrics, as several times she paused to wipe tears from her eyes, to which the crowd responded by showing their support through cheers. Also, the crowd consistently sang along, offering a symbiotic community, if only for that one performance. After about an hour into the performance, Adele exited the stage, but then returned to offer an encore performance including her playing guitar for the introduction of “Someone Like You,” and then ending the show with a “Rolling In the Deep” finale extravaganza, as the windows of the Electric Factory shook and the crowds’ ears echoed with such catchy and inspirational lyrics, such as “throw your soul through every open door.”

Ending at around 11 p.m., a satisfied crowd exited the premises, enthralled after a few hours of an incredible performance.