While Adele’s stage sets are reportedly being loaded out of Caesars Palace, it’s clear the venue plans to make use of some of the many weekends she left dark on the Colosseum calendar, as Keith Urban has just been booked on some nights in March that tickets had been sold for her to play there.
Urban was already set to perform at the Las Vegas theater on Memorial Day weekend, after Adele’s run was to have wrapped up there, and now Caesars has announced that it’s booked dates prior to those, too, for the country superstar. His additional dates at the Colosseum are March 25, 26 and 30 and April 1 and 2, 2022, a pair of weekends (with a weekday in-between) that Adele would have been playing as part of her now-scotched three-month residency.
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Lest anyone imagine that Adele might reschedule at least part of her residency for weekends some time in the next few months, that appears unlikelier than ever, now that reports have emerged that her production is being loaded out of Caesars Palace.
The Las Vegas Review Journal cited other published accounts and its own independent sources as saying that Adele “was unhappy with the multimillion-dollar set.” Added columnist John Katsilometes, who covers the entertainment scene on the Strip for the newspaper, “Those pieces, constructed by the live production company Solotech, were being hauled out of the Colosseum on Monday. This is a clear indication work on the show at the theater has stopped.”
That Adele has no plans to appear at Caesars imminently seemed clear enough, anyway, when she made a tearful announcement and said she was postponing her entire three-month residency, which was to have wrapped up April 16, and not just the earliest dates. The reasons for that may be becoming apparent, as a series of press reports in recent days has indicated that Adele’s reasons for nixing the run the day before it was to have kicked off had more to do with her dissatisfaction with the entire show than COVID or supply-chain issues.
Still, even with no resumption in sight, refunds are not being made available to ticket holders, through either primary or secondary sellers. Those who spent anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands on tickets have been told to wait until the dates are rescheduled to see if they can get refunds or not.
Several publications, including the Las Vegas Review Journal and England’s Sun and Daily Mail, have reported that Adele was unhappy with the production design by Esmeralda Devlin. Adele and Devlin were hardly newcomers to one another; Devlin is one of the top names in the business, having even been described by the Guardian as “the world’s most influential set designer,” and she designed Adele’s 2016 tour. But sources have told the publications that Adele and “Es” “butted heads,” and that the designer may even have been “dismissed” from the production. (Variety could not immediately reach Devlin for comment.)
According to the Review-Journal, part of the production design for the show was to have involved a 10,000-gallon lake on stage. Also reported was that the Caesars show was to have opened with Adele singing “Skyfall” accompanied by a 60-member choir. According to reports, auditions for the choir were held in Las Vegas Jan. 5, with the intention of having 100 singers, but only about 60 showed up. Although an Adele concert might not have been expected to have as many bells and whistles, the Las Vegas paper also reported that Adele would have been entering airborne, on an aerial rig, as Lady Gaga does in her own long-running Vegas production.
England’s Sun, meanwhile, reported a source saying that Adele was supposed to appear in the middle of the “lake,” making it appear as if she were floating on the water, but that the singer balked at participating in the finished design after it presented in rehearsal at Caesars.
Probably the earliest that Adele could restart her residency is in July. She’s currently still slated to play at London’s Hyde Park June 1-2. The Colosseum’s calendar looks to be clear between the end of Sting’s residency on June 18 and the beginning of Sting’s Sept. 23.
But it could be later than that if Adele opts to commission an entirely new design for the show. Then again, if the plan is not to start entirely from scratch, it could be that the sets are on their way back to Fresno, where rehearsals had been held, and might be modified for a restart there.
Few involved with Adele’s production have gone on the record about the shutdown. But Roger Friedman, columnist at Showbiz411, published an interview over the weekend with Phil Jaynes, the head of the Las Vegas chapter of IATSE, which representing the crew, estimated to be about 35 union workers (not including musicians or performers). “For Adele’s show, they had maybe six people a day testing positive who had to leave,” Jaynes said, responding to Adele’s message that “we’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and COVID — half my crew, half my team are down with COVID, they still are.” Jaynes indicated that was not an insurmountable obstacle to putting on the show, which had been fully loaded in, telling Friedman that they had “plenty of crew to replenish the ones who left” — while acknowledging that the churn of workers is difficult as newcomers have to quickly learn the ropes. Other Vegas residencies are known to be facing similar turnover as crew members test positive.
Prior to booking the new dates for Urban, Caesars Palace did not have any other concerts on the calendar until Rod Stewart moves in for a few shows on May 13, except for one long-scheduled three-nighter for Van Morrison Feb. 18-20 that Adele had to work around when she opted to move into the theater. Leaving the Colosseum unexpectedly dark for four and a half months would be highly troublesome for a resort dependent not just on ticket sales but a huge amount of attendant hotel, restaurant and gaming business, so it will be interesting to see whether Caesars can book any headliners who are able to fill in even faster than Urban.
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