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Adele’s history of cancelled shows and health issues after latest Las Vegas news

Singer has suffered from vocal issues since 2011, when she underwent vocal surgery

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 28 February 2024 11:29 GMT
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Adele describes ‘brutal’ Las Vegas backlash

Adele fans were left heartbroken after the Grammy-winning star announced the postponement of 10 Las Vegas residency dates, as she was suffering due to ill health.

In a statement posted to social media, Adele, 35, said she had been told to rest thoroughly “on doctors orders” and would be rescheduling the five remaining weekends of her run at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace to a later date.

“I love you, I’ll miss you like mad and I’m sorry for the inconvenience,” she told fans.

She had alluded to an impending break from shows on 24 February, where she admitted that she had suffered a scare with her voice.

“I can’t hit my headnotes properly,” she told her audience. “I didn’t sleep very well and my chest is on fire. Straight after this show I am going on voice rest.”

Unfortunately, this is far from the first time the British singer has been forced to cancel or postpone live performances.

Here’s a timeline of Adele’s history of vocal issues and postponed shows.

Adele at the 2012 Grammys, months after receiving vocal surgery (Getty Images)

In 2011, Adele received vocal chord microsurgery to remove a benign polyp that had formed under her epithelium, the thin outer layer of the vocal chord, after she suffered a haemorrage to her vocal chords while singing live on a French radio programme.

Then 23, Adele was operated on by Dr Steven Zeitels, who directs the Massachusetts General Hospital Centre for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation. At the time, he had already repaired the vocal chords for artists including Bono, Sam Smith, Lionel Richie and Cher.

Months later, at the 2012 Grammys, Adele thanked Zeitels in her acceptance speech for Best Pop Solo Performance.

Adele during her first concert at Wembley Arena, 28 June 2017 (Getty)

”I don’t even know how to start this,” Adele wrote in an online letter to fans on 30 June 2017, a day after playing the second of four sold-out residency shows at Wembley Stadium. The gigs, attended by audiences of 98,000 each night, were supposed to mark the conclusion of Adele’s record-setting 123-date world tour in support of her latest album, 25.

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But, Adele told fans, she had been struggling at Wembley. “I had to push a lot harder than I normally do. I felt like I constantly had to clear my throat.” She went to see her doctor, who told her she had damaged her vocal chords and had no choice but to cancel the final two dates of her tour.

“To say I’m heartbroken would be a complete understatement,” Adele said.

The decision meant that almost 200,000 tickets had to be refunded, while fans and the media speculated over whether Adele would ever tour again. Perhaps in another instance of foreshadowing, Adele had joked on the first night of her Wembley residency that she was “terrible” and “unreliable” at touring to the point that she had struggled to get insurance for this run of shows.

In an interview with The Guardian, former opera singer and voice coach Lisa Paglin said she felt sad but vindicated about the Wembley shows, having previously warned that Adele’s surgery was only a temporary fix.

According to Paglin and her professional partner, Marianna Brilla, the real problem is that generations of talented singers are not singing “properly”, therefore leading to lasting and potentially career-ending vocal injuries.

“You cannot solve the problem by simply relieving the symptom,” Brilla said. “It’s a motor problem. The singer has to understand it’s the way you’re running your engine” – the techniques they’re using to sing. “If you don’t fix the engine, it’s going to happen again.”

Adele in a still from her announcement postponing her Las Vegas residency (Twitter/@adele)

In what Adele branded “the worst moment” of her career, she announced the postponement of her hugely anticipated Las Vegas residency less than 24 hours before the first show was due to take place.

The “Someone Like You” star was due to perform weekend shows from January to April 2022 at Caesar’s Palace, but shared a video to social media tearfully explaining that the show was not going to be ready on time.

The announcement made headlines around the world, as furious and devastated fans criticised her for not giving more notice, after they had already spent thousands on flights, hotels and tickets.

“I stand by that decision. I don’t think any other artist would have done what I did, and I think that is why it was such a massive, massive story,” Adele told Lauren Lavern on Desert Island Discs in July that year.

“It was like, ‘I don’t care’ and things like that. You can’t buy me. You can’t buy me for nothing. I’m not going to just do a show because I have to or because people are going to be let down or because we are going to lose loads of money. I’m like, ‘The show is not good enough.’”

Adele performs during her Las Vegas residency (Raven B Varona/Stella McCartney)

Adele announced the extension of her residency in October 2023, telling fans that being “so up close and personal” with an audience again had been a “truly restorative experience” that she would never forget.

“All the hilarious, soulful, wild and heartbreaking interactions we’ve had are banked in my mind for life.” she said. “Mostly though – it’s just made me realize how much I really enjoy being on stage, that I’m bloody good at it and that it is 100 per cent where I belong!”

However, she might have foreshadowed the latest cancellation with a remark she made in December that year, where she told The Hollywood Reporter that she was nervous about wearing her voice out.

“It’s a lot of singing,” she said. “It’s two hours. It’s a lot. And I f***ing motormouth and chat me ass off as well.”

Adele alluded to an impending break from performances during her show on Saturday 24 February, where she admitted that she had suffered a scare with her voice.

“In the middle of last night (I’m sure you can hear it in my talking voice and my singing voice a little bit), your girl was tired,” she told the audience. ‘Your girl was tired. I didn’t sleep very well.”

She added: “I can’t hit my headnotes properly. I didn’t sleep very well and my chest is on fire. Straight after this show I am going on voice rest.”

Adele’s next concert is scheduled to take place on Friday 17 May.

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