It was a day when heat, all factors considered, did not produce that usual Brisbane humidity. Thank God for a breezy afternoon that walking outside did not much involve worrying about sun damage. It was also a day of Adele’s 25 concert held at the Gabba stadium.
On my way to the venue, I had a sense of calmness. I was so calm that I wasn’t my ordinary over-thinker self. I knew there were tiny little things my mind needed to magnify before I could actually feel safe within myself. After all, this was my first major concert attendance, and as new experience as this was, I have little knowledge about what to wear, what to bring, what “NOT” to bring, how to act cool, where to go, and a bunch of maybe silly questions. But I wasn’t nervous at all.
Even after seeing an enormous number of people scrambling to get to the stadium, getting lost in the midst of it all wasn’t a thing of worry to me. I was alone (literally). I have no one to talk to. All concert-goers came in pairs and groups. Strangely though, I drew comfort from the buzzing noise of talking people. The thoughts, I knew, were incomprehensible yet so meaningful in a way. I felt like we all shared one thing in common -that maybe was Adele.
When I got to the stadium, that was the moment when I was confronted of the enormity of the event. Oh that place could fit a town’s total population, I’m telling you. It was massive. People from different age groups, from varied walks of life, were like tiny colorful sprinkles on a cake.
I suddenly felt something I couldn’t quite put a name to. It was so familiar but how could something be familiar when this was the first concert I’ve been to in my life. And maybe this will be the only concert I will ever get to attend. To witness such tangible anticipation in the faces of the people that was present was like a scene taken out of a film. I was suddenly in the middle of a slow motion moment surrounded by people jostling around doing mundane things before an event. In a way, the unnoticeable becomes magnified. The faces of excitement, the smile and laughter of people.
That’s it! I was sold. I felt it the energy. It was like I was consumed by the same feeling.
The line for each gate was full to bursting. There were people selling Adele shirts , foods, and program books. A woman’s voice was on a loop of repeated reminders and instructions on how to go about mobilizing people safely into the stadium.
While in the queue, I tried hard to eavesdrop on what other people were talking about. Maybe I would hear something that could be useful for later. Or I was just being paranoid that maybe I was in the wrong gate. Anyway, I didn’t know what other people were thinking, what they were talking about. But I’m sure they were all excited not to see and hear Adele YET (because the show did not begin until 3 hours later) – but to get inside the stadium. I didn’t understand how those people were unfazed by waiting and standing outside for hours. It seemed to me that they were drawing strength from a powerful desire to hear Adele sing live. And that was reason enough to endure the hurdles that came with it.
The moment authorities started taking people in, my heart gradually builds up to a slight nervous state. I fear that they wouldn’t let me in. This was because I bought my ticket from a website (I didn’t know was credible) and issues with it was the last thing I wanted to be caught up with.
They finally opened the gates. I queued where bags are checked for security reasons, just because I brought a small backpack with me. I could feel the emotions starting to creep in. Slowly walking towards the inside of the stadium, we walked into this sort of short tunnel, then an image of Adele’s pair of closed eyes flashed around the circular stage. It was surreal! The feeling of being in that moment when I was ushered towards where my seat was. My heart could not possibly contain such enormous joy discovering I’m only literally a few meters away from Adele herself, and the idea of seeing her up close enraptured me.
Then the excitement died down…
I sat on my chair waiting for the concert to begin. It was a good 3 hours worth of wait. In that 3 hours, people were gradually building up filling the entire stadium. Some took snaps, others are snacking and drinking sparkles. Sitting there waiting, I was in a state when everything that was going on in my life came to a halt. My inner struggles were only about my grumbling tummy screaming to be filled in. Other than that, I was just being present in that moment.
With all the bustling of whatever people were being busy about, I was patiently seated on my designated spot talking to a friend and my sister (on messenger). In that moment, while the excitement and anticipation hung in the air, I have forgotten I was by myself in that sea of 60,000 people. It felt like we all became connected, and astounding as it was how a single person could bring such a crowd together in one night.
When finally everyone has settled and all the seats were filled, suddenly all the lights went out, then a woman’s voice opened by saying “Hello” in a melody that reflects the first word of a song. It echoed in the stadium. At that same moment the pair of closed eyes draped around the stage suddenly opened. It was Adele’s voice pumping out the speakers. There was a few seconds pause before the same voice spoke again in the same sort of melody, mouthing another “Hello”. During this time, the massive screen encircling the stage dramatically rose and the pair of eyes blinked. It was a surreal moment of overwhelming feeling when all the anticipation and excitement had come to a new altitude. While the stage covers were lifted, the intro for her song “Hello” rolled in revealing Adele stood on the center of stage with all the lights creatively highlighting her presence. And then she started singing. The noise of the whole arena drowned out as Adele’s vocal prowess overpowered. It was as though some magic had plastered the mouths of all the people in that stadium. I was just completely speechless.
I knew then that for me to connect to this experience I had to focus on feeling the moment. I had only a few photos and videos, and they are mainly snaps -not covering an entire song. I had to set aside my phone and channel all my attention and emotion towards Adele. Who was nothing short of spectacle herself.
She was having fun. She was warm to her audience. She had such an infectious energy on stage. She was vulnerable and feather light. All these on top of her talent.
No one could do it like Adele. Her vocals were on point. Strong and tender at the same time. Soulful and emotional. Luckily, her humor and realness compensated to her gut wrenching and emotionally charged songs.
The lady did not need costume changes or elaborate antics and stage design. Her presence was enough to fill the stadium with overflowing joy. Her authenticity was bigger than anything She was true to her core, and that was what the point of the concert was: to make you feel something in your heart. It diverged from being entertained by intricate dance routines, a number of costume changes, stage design, and crazy stunts. It was just raw vocals and the amazing woman that she is.
For the entire duration of the show, I lost count of the number of times I had hair raising experience every time Adele started singing. The night consisted of screaming, laughing, kissing (kissing cam), treats (from Adele), and getting up dancing and singing.
It was a night to remember.