Saturday 1 July 2017
I’m writing this letter to you as I listen to your music on shuffle on my iPad, in my Wembley hotel room, having had the great privilege of seeing your first Wembley show on Wednesday. ‘Set Fire To The Rain’ is currently playing – of all of your songs, this one’s my mum’s favourite. I’m I-don’t-know-how-many-thousands-of-miles-away-from-home (14 698 km, or thereabout, back home to Western Australia) but your music voids that distance. I never travel without your music.
I woke up this morning, along with so many of your other fans, to the news that your final two Wembley Stadium shows had to be cancelled due to your vocal cords being damaged during the first two shows. This is obviously not something that you need reminding of because you’re living it. So, I thought I’d drop you a line: a note from a fan to one of the most influential musical performers in the world. Hope that’s okay.
Your statement via Social Media was heartbreaking to read. It was devastating, gut-wrenching, excruciating to read. Not because I will miss out on seeing you perform. No, I was lucky enough to see you in Perth, and also on Wednesday night at your first Wembley show. But I’ll get onto chatting to you about that later. No, it was devastating to read because, just like the way you write your songs, your statement explaining why you regrettably had to cancel the shows was heartfelt, and real, and genuine, and honest. And those are rare qualities to experience in a ‘regular’ person, let alone someone of your public status. Reading the statement, I was, and still am, devastated for you and those who will miss out on seeing your perform in such a massive stadium. But mostly for you because it’s evident that you experience these downs harder than I think most performers do. That’s what it seems like from outside your world.
Sure, there will be fans who are gutted because they’ve travelled from other cities, towns, villages, counties, and countries to see you. That’s a given. However, I’m sure they’d be even more gutted to find out that you’d chosen to go ahead with the shows, and screwed up your vocal cords permanently. To not ever hear new music from you is something I don’t ever want to contemplate, because you are, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, a) the voice of a generation, and b) f**king brilliantly talented.
I can’t help but empathise with you because you give so much of yourself to your fans when performing, and because you genuinely appear to struggle with the depth of the decisions you are required to make regarding whether or not a performance should go ahead. The fact that you wrote that you were seriously considering miming the show demonstrated to me that the burden of feeling that you’d let fans down was unbearable on your shoulders. I do not envy you this situation. Instead, I admire and respect you all the more for the level of professionalism you choose to embody. You could have come out and done a half-arsed show for the fans, but you’ve chosen, instead, to make the undoubtedly difficult decision to cancel the shows, with the potential of rescheduling if it’s possible. For your peace of mind, primarily, I hope that rescheduling is the option that you are able to take. I can only imagine how sh!t you feel at the moment.
This morning I’ve read many tweets regarding the cancellation of the shows. For the most part, your fans understand, particularly those who’ve travelled from other countries. They all have one wish, and that’s for you to have a speedy recovery. They understand that this is beyond your control. You couldn’t have predicted that vocally you’d have some trouble after the first two shows. So really, there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel bad or apologetic. These things happen, and I think it’s part and parcel of the risk any of us take when purchasing concert tickets. There’s always the possibility that unforeseen circumstances kick in, and we, as fans, are faced with the potential of having to reschedule or accept refunds. What we want most of all for you, is a solid recovery, particularly in light of your previous surgery.
Obviously, there are some fans who are angry and bitter about the cancellation. Fair enough – we all have the right to feel how we feel. However, what I really want to cover about this anger and frustration, is that these people are lashing out, probably because once we knew our tickets were confirmed, it was a long countdown to get here. Please, please, do not be burdened or hurt by their reactions. They have a choice of being angry, or understanding your current circumstance and feelings. I know which one I’d rather go with, especially having travelled from Australia specifically to see you.
Backtracking to your Wednesday night show. Personally, I had no idea you were pushing or struggling. You sang beautifully, and I don’t write that lightly or because I’m a fan. I write it because it’s true. Your performance, to my ears, was better than I thought it was in Perth. And I thought it was pretty bloody phenomenal there! I’m not belittling how you felt your voice was during that show, because I’m not a singer so I don’t know anything about that stuff. All I know is that you sounded divine, and I felt so privileged to have been able to hear you in your home city. Yes, privileged is the right word. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric – you must have felt it. You looked right at home, despite telling how nervous you were. Sh!tting yourself? Nah, didn’t seem that way. And we do all love your witty banter. It’s a part of what makes your shows so f**king great. Everyone loves hearing your stories – again, it’s all part of what you give to your fans. And that makes you who you are as a performer, Adele. That’s a big part of why we love you so much.
I sincerely hope that you are able to reschedule the final two Wembley shows, more for closure for you. So you can end your world tour the way you had intended, not the way that it just happened to have ended. Actually, no, I’m not going to refer to the cancellation as ‘the end’, because it’s not. It’s just a couple of steps back. It’s a slight roadblock in the finale of your world tour. You have already performed 121 shows – that’s a hell of a lot of singing with little time off. I don’t know that there’d be many other singers who’d have been able to undertake that commitment to their fans, sing so powerfully for so many nights (not to mention sound checks), and still be up standing for four final shows.
Take the time you need to recover properly. We’ll wait. We have no issue waiting for you to be at your best. We’d rather see you there than at any other level. Surround yourself with those who will take care of you and your interests, those who understand the pain and devastation you’re feeling at this moment, those who want you back at the top of your game, your family, friends, and loved ones, and take no heed of the naysayers, negative commentators, or arseholes. As my brother so aptly put it when I messaged him this morning: there are always arseholes out there.
There are so many lines from so many of your songs that I could use to conclude this letter, but I think I’ll go with these: ‘Everybody here is watching you, ‘cause you feel like home, you’re like a dream come true’, and ‘I wish nothing but the best for you’.