Adele’s Las Vegas cancellation is a disaster – for her and the music industry

But even Adele – with a vast machine behind her – couldn’t pull it off. Two years into the pandemic, and the live music world is still suffering. In the last month alone, Billy Joel, Wolf Alice, Rina Sawayama, David Lee Roth have all postponed or cancelled shows. More will surely follow. This year’s Grammy Awards have been postponed until April and moved from New York to – you guessed it – Las Vegas.

This presents a worrying problem for the industry. Touring incomes have been decimated over the last two years, and 2022 was meant to be the year that everything went right. Huge tours, many of them already postponed numerous times, are planned for later this year from Guns N’ Roses, The Killers, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Billy Eilish, Dua Lipa, Foo Fighters, Harry Styles, The Fugees, Haim, Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lorde. These suddenly seem just a little less certain.

Although omicron cases in the UK and in many countries are falling, the strain is still problematic. According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the original call for Adele’s Skyfall choir was for 100 singers but only 60 could show up.

Some might argue that the Adele shows might still be going ahead if they were a little more scaled back. In its own statement, Caesars Palace said that “creating a show of this magnitude is incredibly complex”. Adele’s weapons are her voice and her personality, and neither of these need a huge production behind them in order to be showcased. However this is not the way of the world. An artist of Adele’s stature needs a big show. The stripped back performances are surely for later in her career.

There is also a Sting in the tail of this unfortunate saga. Adele’s team are scrambling to rearrange her Colosseum shows, which were meant to run until mid-April. However, Rod Stewart is booked to play in the venue from mid-May, with Sting then playing throughout June. Adele herself is due to play London’s Hyde Park in July, which means that she can’t merely follow the former Police frontman when he has finished his stint. There is a looming scheduling nightmare to sort out, just to add to the myriad other problems.

It’s all a sorry mess. Neither Adele nor her fans deserve this. As Covid-19 enters its third year, the pandemic is still causing untold havoc in the music industry.

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