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Is Adele's Onstage Banter the Reason She's a National Treasure?

All aboard Adele's Banter Bus! Next stop: Adelaide!

by Lauren O'Neill
14 March 2017, 11:59am

Join me, for a brief trip down memory lane. Years ago, before the internet – and when TV only had, like, five channels – singers were also entertainers. They'd host entire evenings where they'd croon for audiences, and they'd also crack a few jokes along the way, sauntering across the stage with one of those smiles on their faces that would make women of a certain age sigh and say, "such a charmer, in't she/he?" These days this is largely a lost art (although props to Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's wig for trying to bring it back with their Cheek to Cheek live shows a couple years ago), fallen to the wayside in favour of all-singing, all-dancing three-minute performances.

I say "largely" for a reason. Because though unlike Cheek to Cheek-era Gaga, Adele doesn't market herself as a throwback per sé, her live show – where she does not dance or put on a spectacle, instead regaling audiences with stories about her thong and telling them, "I better warn you, I have ten songs and the rest is chat" –  is essentially a look back on those halcyon days of "the entertainer." Realistically, this is probably why the Recording Academy, an institution which is both obsessed with its own history and, let's just say it, stuck in the past, loves her so much. 

Essentially, Adele has carved a highly valuable niche out of "being a laugh" as she showed last night, during a power cut at an Australian show, when she entertained the audience with the following joke: "What do you call a blonde standing on her head? A brunette with bad breath!" ADELE, WHAT ARE YOU LIKE?

And if you're not convinced that 'variety act' is Adele's brand, I'd like to present you with this, a half-hour video of her essentially dong stand up at a show in Berlin last year. This is a masterclass in putting on a live show, sans backing dancers and general fanfare, which keeps an audience enraptured. Adele is basically standing in a black dress and telling jokes/chatting to herself, but it is warm and comforting and lends her a familiarity that connects beyond the level of her personal lyrics. Honestly, she'd be no fun if all she did was sing ballads about her ex-boyfriends all the time – this is a fair and savvy move on her part. Enjoy that Berlin footage below:

Clearly, she's the Streisand we don't necessarily need, but who we love anyway. Don't try to resist, because it's futile.

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

(Image via Adele on Instagram)

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Music
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adele
Banter
Barbra Streisand
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