March 27, 2008
The Rivoli, Toronto - March 26, 2008
By JASON MacNEIL - Special to Sun Media

TORONTO - It was a tad short, it was sweet and they'll be more of where that came from in June.

British soul singer Adele, one of what currently appears to be an assembly line of such acts, brought her debut album 19 to an attentive sold-out crowd Wednesday evening at Toronto's Rivoli.

The 19-year-old performer ended 2007 as one of the artists to look out for in 2008 from across the pond. And while accompanied by a guitarist and a keyboardist for most of the set, it was Adele that was front and centre, both literally and figuratively.

Sitting on a stool, strumming an acoustic guitar and admitting she was a bit nervous, the singer went right into Daydreamer, the folksy opening track off the album that primed her vocals for the remaining material. Whatever butterflies she had soon disappeared during the romantic, tender Crazy For You.

Stating the stripped back style was how she first performed these songs for her "mum," Adele apologized for any notes she would miss the rest of the night, mentioning she "got really drunk last night" after a Montreal gig.

No apologies were needed given how well the tunes came across, including Right As Rain which resembled a bossa nova track in this format rather than the punchy album number. Nonetheless, it earned a solid response despite the slight rasp in her voice. She also managed to spot someone's head at the back of the club bobbing along to the song, thanking them for grooving to it.


Wearing a loose fitting black blouse, matching pants and her hair pulled back, Adele belted out Chasing Pavements despite an acoustic guitar trying to do the work of the bass with mixed results. Fortunately she managed to carry the tune perfectly and looked like she worked for it, quickly dabbing sweat from her cheek and forehead with a towel afterwards.

Probably the greatest asset she has is her voice sounds like an older one, one not quite suited yet for somebody still six weeks from entering the realm of twentysomething. This was particularly shown on the cover of Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love. After saying how much she loved the tune, Adele captivated the crowd with a controlled yet soothing, stellar rendition, pouring herself into the tune but not overdoing it.

Perhaps the lone mediocre number of the 10 was a cover of Sam Cooke's That's It, I Quit, I'm Movin' On that felt a bit forced. But Adele regained her form with the finger-snapping, strutting ditty My Same that had a touch of jazz, a bit of pop and a lot of soul as she added her own little scat throughout.

After joking she would lay on the black baby grand piano next time in town for the song, Adele held the microphone for Melt My Heart To Stone and First Love, the latter inspired by an Alicia Keys song.

The only downer of the night was the ending. A collective "awww" was uttered when Adele said Hometown Glory would be the show closer, coincidentally the album's finale. She quickly replied she would return in June, but left some feeling they were given the cold shoulder having not played Cold Shoulder and leaving no chance for an encore.