Adele pays tribute to Prince as U.S. tour kicks off with dazzling Minnesota concert

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Adele Delights St. Paul Audiences

Two eyes, enormous and tightly shut, greeted the Adelefans filing into the sold­out Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the opening night of the British superstar's long-­awaited U.S. tour. Those darkly shadowed lids were immediately identifiable as Adele's, of course, and flashed from a pair of immense screens that met at a point centerstage. As the introductory piano chords of "Hello" rang through the arena, the eyes opened.

Adele emerged in person, no less dramatically, on a smaller, square stage at the middle of the venue, wearing a Christopher Bailey­-designed Burberry gown made of black silk and spangled with floral sequins. As they would throughout the night, her fluid gesticulations accentuated her robust voice. Mid­song, she strolled through the audience to the front stage, where the crowd sang her hit's coda back to her.

7 Things We Can Expect from Adele's North American Tour

After a sip from a mug (just warm honey, she'd later reveal), Adele went right into "Hometown Glory," from her debut album, 19, shots of the St. Paul skyline appearing onscreen behind her.

During the bluesy "One and Only," the screens went transparent to finally reveal her musicians: a six­piece band, an eight­piece string section, four horns, and three back­up singers.

Then Adele starting talking. And Adele can talk.

Before she was ready to belt out the sassy "Rumour Has It," Adele had told the audience about her first Fourth of July in the U.S. (she saw a parade in suburban Minnesota) and a local delicacy she'd sampled at a Minneapolis diner (chicken on a donut). She'd also joking asked: "Did anyone come who didn't want to come? It's usually a husband or a dad," and accidentally voiced the first of the evening's surprisingly few "f­-words". (They often pepper her speech despite her attempts at self-censorship. Her response to the foul­mouthed slip? "Oh, s***!")

Then Adele announced, "We're going to have a good time," before adding, with the fast­paced, good­humored self­deprecation that would characterize her banter throughout the evening, "but it's not going to be a party – because I sing very sad songs."

Next up was "Water Under the Bridge," drawn, like nearly half of Adele's 18­-song set, from her latest blockbuster, 25, which first topped the charts more than seven months ago. But first, Adele had recounted a trip to the Mall of America (she was not expecting an indoor Ferris wheel), confessed her inability to dance and propensity to sweat, and invited an entire family – mom, dad, four children – onstage to take a selfie.

Adele introduced her James Bond theme, "Skyfall," by casting shade at (but not naming) the less stellar songs written for the franchise – "I'm not being judgmental. I'm just being a bitch." – and sang the swelling anthem draped in a Tottenham flag that a fan had tossed onstage while a simulated storm cloud loomed in three­-dimensions behind her.

Adele then played a short acoustic section which, she explained, "gives us permission to sit down."

Just two guitarists backed her on the nostalgic "Million Years Ago," then her bassist and drummers joined them for "Don't You Remember," which had a slight Americana feel that Adele said was a tribute to the "so divine and so sublime" bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

Before moving on to her current single, "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," Adele asked, "Do any of you have someone in your life that you wish wasn't?" Stripped down to just acoustic guitar and upright bass, this performance was the most drastic reworking of the night.

Rejoined by the full band, Adele introduced Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" with another nod to the local crowd, saying "since we are in Minnesota, we must pay homage," but after the opening piano chords, shouted "Oh, s***, stop, stop, stop." She'd forgotten to say that this was when the audience was supposed to light up their phones. They did, and the song recommenced.

Adele's 10 Best Tour Moments: Twerking, Proposals, Spice Girls Covers & More

Adele returned to the smaller, mid­arena stage to sing her breakthrough hit, "Chasing Pavements." Then she moved obligingly around the perimeter, bent at the waist, posing for multiple selfies,lamenting "I always make this face – it's so annoying."

As multiple ghostly images of Adele overlapped on a four­walled semi­-transparent screen above her, the singer performed the heartbroken "Someone Like You" as a full­arena singalong. (Of course the audience, much of it happily wine­tipsy, had been singing along full­-throatedly, with or without the star's encouragement, for most of the night.) Adele's set closed with the dramatic "Set Fire to the Rain," and water dropped from above all around her, encasing her in a cage of liquid.

After Adele disappeared into the stage, the main video screen displayed the video for Prince's 1994 hit "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" in full. When she returned, he admitted that she didn't feel worthy to offer a full tribute to the late genius herself – "I did maybe consider covering a song, but f*** it, it's Prince."

After a full­voiced "All I Ask," backed only by piano, Adele told a heartfelt story about the difficulty of reconciling motherhood and a career by way of introducing the huge ballad "When We Were Young," which was set to a slideshow of childhood photos. The show closed with a climactic and rousing "Rolling in the Deep" as confetti cannons fired into the air. Closer inspection revealed that each of the rectangular scraps was inscribed with an Adele lyric, made to appear handwritten.

Adele Ljve 2016 setlist at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota (July 5):

Hello
Hometown Glory
One and Only
Rumour Has It
Water Under the Bridge
I Miss You
Skyfall
Million Years Ago
Don't You Remember
Send My Love (to Your New Lover)
Make You Feel My Love
Sweetest Devotion
Chasing Pavements
Someone Like You
Set Fire to the Rain

Encore:
All I Ask
When We Were Young
Rolling in the Deep

See more from Adele in the gallery below!

29 PHOTOS
Adele through the years
See Gallery
Adele through the years
COLOGNE, GERMANY - DECEMBER 06: Adele attends the television show 2015! Menschen, Bilder, Emotionen - RTL Jahresrueckblick on December 6, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images)
MAIDSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 11: Adele performs on the Main Stage on the second day of the Radio 1 Big Weekend at Mote Park on May 11, 2008 in Maidstone, England. (Photo by Rosie Greenway/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 09: Singer Adele arrives at the Mercury Music Prize 2008 at Grosvenor House Hotel on September 9, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 17: Musician Adele performs at the 9:30 Club on January 17, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 13: Adele attends the Keep a Child Alive organization's 5th annual Black Ball at The Hammerstein Ballroom on November 13, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Singer Adele arrives at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center on February 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Singer Adele, winner of two awards; Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for 'Chasing Pavements' and Best New Artist, poses in the press room during the 51st Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center on February 8, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: Adele performs onstage during 2009 VH1 Divas at Brooklyn Academy of Music on September 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
British singer-songwriter Adele poses for a portrait in West Hollywood, Calif., Monday, Feb. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Singer Adele arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 28: Singer Adele performs onstage during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Recording artist Adele poses for a portrait Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Adele arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Adele performs onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2012 file photo, performer Adele arrives for the Brit Awards 2012 at the O2 Arena in London. Four years after her last album, the singer appears to have teased British television viewers with a snippet of new music, broadcast during an ad break on prime-time TV. The 30-second ad shown Sunday evening, Oct. 18, 2015, during TV talent show "The X Factor" featured Adele's distinctive tones over a black screen on which heartache-filled lyrics appeared. (AP Photo/Jonathan Short, File)
Musician Adele poses with her six trophies at the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Adele arrives at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Singer Adele poses in the press room with her best original song in a motion picture award for 'Skyfall' at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in Beverly Hills on January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Singer Adele speaks onstage at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Singer Adele, winner of the Best Original Song award for 'Skyfall,' poses in the press room during the Oscars held at Loews Hollywood Hotel on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Singer Adele arrives at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Singer Adele performs onstage during the Oscars held at the Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Adele is seen on November 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gardiner Anderson/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Singer Adele is seen in Soho on November 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- 'Matthew McConaughey' Episode 1689 -- Pictured: Musical guest Adele performs on November 21, 2015 -- (Photo by: Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0373 -- Pictured: (l-r) Singer Adele plays 'Box of Lies' with host Jimmy Fallon on November 23, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0374 -- Pictured: (l-r) Host Jimmy Fallon and The Roots sing with Adele during the Music Room bit on November 24, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 24: Adele is seen on November 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gardiner Anderson/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

More on AOL Entertainment:
Dolly Parton wants 'more boobs' in presidential race -- but isn't endorsing Hillary Clinton
Gwen Stefani says learning of Blake Shelton's divorce was like 'being handed the gift of a friend'
Kourtney Kardashian is vacation goals in a cherry red crop top outfit: See the sexy look!



Read Full Story

From Our Partners