Imagine: your favorite artist has announced a Vegas residency. You find out the dates and get tickets, book a hotel, maybe hire a babysitter, buy your plane tickets and head to Las Vegas. As you get settled into the hotel, the worst news drops: the residency is canceled. Now, you’re maybe hundreds of miles from home, thousands of dollars in – and there’s no concert. This is the reality that hundreds of Adele fans found themselves living this week after a last-minute cancellation left them scrambling.
Was Conflict at the Heart of the Cancellation?
There has been rampant speculation about what could be behind Adele’s last-minute cancellation of her long-anticipated residency. However, few answers have been forthcoming. Those answers may be trickling in now as a report suggests that a conflict between the singer superstar and set designer may have been at the heart of the plan breakdown.
Renowned set designer to the stars, Esmeralda Devlin, reportedly butted heads with Adele during rehearsals. According to the U.K. Sun and New York Post, as well as those close to the situation, Adele was unhappy with the set and clashed with Devlin less than an hour before it all fell apart.
The set was a multi-million-dollar extravaganza that included a 10,000-gallon lake built on stage at the Colosseum theater, and plans were for Adele to fly in on an overhead rig, joining other pop stars like Lady Gaga and P!nk who employ aerial acrobatics in their on-stage performances.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a stand-in had been employed during rehearsals up to the point where Adele was able to visit the set in person, which led to the breakdown. Per the LVRJ, “‘In spite of the set costing millions to put together, Adele was unhappy with the result, and she made her feelings very clear to Es[meralda],’ a source is quoted in the Post and Sun accounts. ‘(Adele) was already nervous and the falling out sent her spiraling into a panic because she was desperate that everything should be perfect.'”
Pieces of the set were seen being carried out of the theater early this week, which suggests that even if they do find a way to bring the residency back to life in the future – it won’t be for quite a while. Adele is known for her lack of enthusiasm for on-stage performances, so it is unsurprising that her need for perfection clashed with her anxiety, and everything came tumbling down. Caesars Palace is supporting the star, and they will certainly keep trying to get her back.
Adele Tearfully Cancels
It was a tearful and emotional Adele who explained to fans that her highly-anticipated residency won’t be happening. Just 24 hours before the first concert would have kicked off, Adele says it’s a no go – and blames staffing troubles from the pandemic, among other complications. Washington Post shares, “‘I’m so sorry, but my show ain’t ready,’ she said in the video.
‘We’ve tried absolutely everything that we can to put it together in time and for it to be good enough for you, but we’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and covid. Half my crew, half my team are down with covid. They still are,’ she added, apologizing to fans who were traveling to watch her.
‘I’m gutted, and I’m sorry it’s so last minute; we’ve been awake for over 30 hours now trying to figure it out, and we’ve run out of time,’ Adele said. ‘I’m really embarrassed.’”
The tearful artist promises that the “Weekends with Adele” residency at Caesars Palace Colosseum will be rescheduled, but more information was not released. Fans who were already in Vegas anticipating the following day’s show are frustrated and heartbroken – and feel blindsided by the last-minute notice.
The Controversy Leading up to the Cancellation
But there is some question around whether or not the team was forced to announce last minute – or they just planned poorly. In the weeks leading up to the anticipated launch of Weekends with Adele, there were some irregularities that had industry insiders scratching their heads.
Just weeks before announcing Weekends with Adele, the singer emphasized that she had no plans for a residency. Was it a fabrication, attempt at a surprise, or were there no details hammered out? Hard to say, but that wasn’t the only stuttered start to the singer’s residency.
The tickets are also somewhat of a mystery. Tickets weren’t available directly from the venue because they sold out so quickly, they could only be found through resale sites – and front-row seats were selling for a staggering $30K and upward. That’s unprecedented amount even for front row Adele.
Some online chatter has pointed out that Katy Perry was able to launch her residency at the end of last year, so why couldn’t they bring Adele’s together? Part of that is timing – when Perry’s residency kicked off at Resorts World Las Vegas in December, as the Omicron variant of COVID was just picking up steam. Now, Omicron is in full swing – and being in the middle of a pandemic does mean a lot of uncertainty for entertainers and venues.
But it’s also possible that Adele simply couldn’t bring herself to get on stage right now. The artist is a singer and studio artist foremost, not an entertainer. While her shows are always stellar, the stage is not where she is most comfortable. For someone who struggles with performing on stage, after two years of being able to avoid it – it might be a hard readjustment to make.
But the reality is that regardless of internet chatter, what we know is that Weekends with Adele will not be happening for now – and the artist seems genuinely broken up about it, as are her fans.
What’s Next in Vegas?
The next question is: is this the same problem that will plague all upcoming Vegas residencies? The good news is, the next in line is Luke Bryan whose residency kicks off in February at Resorts World. The first concert kicks off February 11, so it’s possible that Omicron will have peaked and started to decline by then.
Katy Perry is still going strong at Resorts World. And Carrie Underwood will be back to Resorts World in March, so that’s likely to be far enough into the Omicron surge as to be unaffected.
During a pandemic there are certainly no guarantees – but things are looking bright for Vegas as 2022 proceeds. Once Omicron peaks, it should – fingers crossed – be smooth sailing from there. Maybe in a month or two Adele’s production issues will settle and she can bring her fans back to enjoy the concert they are heartbroken to be missing.