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Adele’s not singing, but she’s serenaded on the Strip

Updated January 25, 2022 - 3:53 am

So we were treated to an Adele hit on the Strip after all Friday night. It took David Foster to sing it.

Early in his Encore Theater appearance, Foster thanked those who packed the theater. He conceded that for many, “I was your second choice tonight.”

If it wasn’t clear that was a reference to Adele’s canceled premiere at Caesars Palace, it was when Foster slipped into a few seconds of “Someone Like You.”

Then the 72-year-old music industry giant told his audience, “You’re in the right place.”

This is the modern-day Las Vegas. A superstar recording artists drops two dozen shows. A superstar producer picks up the pieces.

The take down of “Weekends With Adele” arrived abruptly Friday afternoon through Adele’s own disquieting social-media video. The international recording star listed challenges related to COVID as the reasons, saying, “My show ain’t ready.”

The decision to drop 24 performances covering every weekend through April 16 has come with consequences, to put it mildly. That call has left Caesars Entertainment, production booking partner Live Nation and about 10,000 fans expecting to see this weekend’s shows in a lurch.

Dozens of those fans took over the Colosseum on Friday night, snapping up merchandise at the Adele gift shop (selling T-shirts for $50 a shot). The sidelined singer actually FaceTimed with fans, originally offering them comped drinks before realizing many were underage. In a post from TikTok user @JamesMasonFox, fans are heard chanting, “It’s OK! It’s OK! It’s OK!” as Adele looking on, wiping away tears.

The devotees also sang the superstar’s hits outside the Colosseum entrance, congregating at the show’s 8 p.m. starting time. This bunch organized the pop-up performance on social media.

In the meantime, reports surfaced of the show’s struggles and developments leading to Adele’s announcement.

A run-through at the Colosseum on Wednesday (less than 48 hours before Adele’s announcement) reportedly fell far short of the singer’s and executives’ standards. A flurry of last-minute changes proved taxing to the crew, already working upwards of 18 hours a day.

Adele was reportedly not uniformly happy with some of the big-splash effects (including an actual lake constructed onstage) and an aerial harness for the “Skyfall” opening with the aforementioned 60-member choir. Choreography requiring weeks of work was scrapped. Some of her costume pieces were reportedly delayed — she mentioned supply-chain snags in her message — among other creative concerns.

The show is a major undertaking by any measure. The show rehearsed for five weeks in an arena in Fresno before moving into the Colosseum (original reports that the show rehearsed in Bakersfield were incorrect). The load-in required 25 trucks. And Adele has not performed a ticketed show in five years. This has led to those familiar with the production, not to mention the British tabloids, to question whether this decision is rooted in an acute case of stage fright.

Still, as of Friday, hundreds of tickets had been released by Ticketmaster, filtering into secondary ticket sites. Even three hours before Adele’s announcement, a single ticket to her show could be snared for $216. Just as those receipts were e-mailed, Adele pulled off the shows.

The timeline itself shows that the show Adele postponed was at least in condition to perform Wednesday night, but by Friday all 24 scheduled performances were called off. The superstar would be well-served to explain why the entire run needed to be tossed out. If dropping two dozen shows was a possibility the week of the show, why wait until the day before the premiere to clear the schedule?

At this moment, the earliest Adele would premiere at Caesars is May (and we originally felt the show was being built for a yearlong run, which is why singers auditioning were asked to block an entire year of weekends). And, not to belabor the obvious, but Caesars and Live Nation now has two dozen weekend dates to fill, effective immediately.

The only shows at the Colosseum between now and May are theee dates by Van Morrison from Feb. 16-18. The schedule was set up so Adele’s production could “sit” in the theater without having to be taken down and reassembled for other headliners. That concept, too, needs to be scrapped.

Otherwise, the Las Vegas dance card fills quickly. As Adele was going dark, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak announced Silk Sonic dates at Dolby Live at Park MGM. This is a total of 25 shows from Feb. 25-May 29. Garth Books is at Dolby Live on Feb. 4-5. John Legend opens his residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood on April 22.

And Foster is back at Encore Theater for three shows in April. He, too, will be rocking the house before Adele ever graces a Vegas stage.

Show us the business

Those who bought ducats to Adele have various options, depending on the method of purchase.

Ticket-buyers who booked through Ticketmaster have been given 30 days to obtain refunds, or use the ticket for a future performance.

If you bought a ticket through a secondary-broker site, you typically don’t qualify for a refund (though StubHub has been issuing refunds to credit cards). Purchasers will instead receive an email as soon as the new dates are posted. “Keep a close eye on your emails,” one site nobly advises. This is the policy regardless of how much you spent on a ticket, whether it’s about $285 (I have one of those!) or upwards of $12,000.

Neither Caesars Entertainment nor the show’s presenter, Live Nation, or Adele’s team are offering to reimburse fans for their flights to Vegas. Caesars Entertainment advises to check with the airline you booked for the flight.

Caesars is offering those who booked rooms specifically for a “Weekends With Adele” show the option of canceling the reservation, and a full refund.

Toss it all into the “Weekends With Adele” mixer and it’s about the same policy rundown for any canceled or postponed Strip residency. This is straight showbiz, ladies and gents. These companies didn’t become rich by tossing around free flights, right?

Options, we have options

Aside from references to hot flashes, “Menopause the Musical” at Harrah’s and and male revue “Thunder From Down” at Excalibur wouldn’t seem to have anything in common. But both shows have received a significant bump in ticket sales this weekend. “Menopause” co-producer Alan Glist and Adam Steck of SPI Entertainment, which presents “Thunder,” said they had uncommonly large counts Friday and Saturday.

Also, Spiegelworld has moved what company founder Ross Mollison describes as “a truckload” of tickets after Adele’s cancellation. Most of the crowd moved to “Absinthe,” also at Caesars; but there were higher counts at “Opium” at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; and also “Atomic Saloon Show” at The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes.

Cool Hang Alert

Naughty Ladies Saloon at Arizona Charlies Decatur is where I got to know the legendary Vegas lounge act The Checkmates. Hoppin’ little lounge, where at 8 p.m. Friday it’s Joey Riedel of “The Elton John Experience.” At 8 p.m. Saturday we have Yacht & Roll, which as you might surmise is a yacht-rock ensemble. No cover, and we wish you smooth sailing.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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