Adele's Grammy Performance: A Reminder of the Scary Power of an Honest, Gorgeous Song

adele-grammys-performance-2012.jpg
Adele performing "Rolling in the Deep" at the 2012 Grammy Awards.

Every once in a while, you come across a performance that reaches into your body, grabs your soul with two hands, and shakes you back into full awareness of the seriously insane power of music.

It sounds sappy and clichéd, and it is. But that's exactly what Adele did at the Grammy Awards yesterday.

There will be plenty of things to remember about this year's Grammys, including Adele making off with seemingly all of them. But in terms of rewarding artistry, these industry awards are just one level above total bullshit. Complaining about who got them or didn't get them is fun, although useless. But despite the arbitrariness and artifice, the Grammys pageant occasionally manages to honor -- or air -- a performance that exhibits the mysterious, almost scary sway that music at its best has.

Yesterday, Adele took a relatively unadorned stage in the same black dress she wore all night, and sang her record-breaking hit, the now-universal "Rolling in the Deep," as well as it could possibly be sung. Her voice worked at an elemental level, wielding every drop of anguish and broken hope than the lyrics, which are addressed to the other partner in a failed relationship, relate. She seemed to be singing for everyone, belting a tumult of human loss and regret out to the world with a grace that felt, above all, superhuman. The singer's composure never wavered, but I know many watching felt stirred to their core.

Of course, Adele is not superhuman. When the song finished, you could see in her eyes a mix of exhaustion -- not only from the physical act of singing, but from braving the song's emotional storm once again -- and gratitude. The applause went on and on.

And so, on a night of pomp and artifice, Adele shook the world with the simple strength of an honest song. The medium is much abused and debased, but when used right, music has a frightening power. It's worth taking a pause to appreciate when someone like Adele reminds us of that.

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Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ian S. Port @iPORT, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.


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29 comments
Nazish
Nazish

Love it, you captured the essence of Adele's soulful singing in ur article, Adele really deserves all d accolades!!!

Matt Hunt
Matt Hunt

 A little country twang to it too, huh?

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Dave De La Garza
Dave De La Garza

What a voice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That pretty much says it all

Kim
Kim

I cried thinking what a blessing it is to enjoy the blessings of someone else's gifts.  I am so happy for her. 

dms47
dms47

Thank you! I am a 35 year old woman who has been obsessively watching the performance and scouring the internet for all things Adele related--I feel like an obsessed teenage girl! I don't think I have ever been so moved by a performance or celebrity.  Love everything about Adele, she is so stunning in every way.

Matthew Newman10
Matthew Newman10

i've been doing the same thing.  watching this performance every chance i get.  I'm not afraid to say that as a straight male in my early 30s

Pete
Pete

My highest complement--you wrote what I was feeling, but did not quite understand. You described what I  was experiencing but not  cognitive enough to be able to express it.

You did your job and I thank you.

Parenthetically, I had never heard Adele sing before. In fact I thought she was just another skinny, teenage singer with weird hair, who had a hit record. To further the irony, i had been struggling for days to hook up a TV satellite to my RV. Lucky for me, I found the fix in time to hear Adele perform the rolling song.  Now this is a  WOMAN. Fantastic eyes, a great voice, beautiful song  and I was stopped dead in my tracks (ala your article). 

Thanks again for a job well done.

Bmartynowski
Bmartynowski

would have tossed the gum though!!

Sfchick
Sfchick

It is actually therapeutic for her voice - notice she was chewing gum BEFORE and after her performance - I agree she could have put it on hold when she  stepped to the mic - but she is so real - see her 60 minutes interview you'll understand. "I don't want to be some skinny-minny with my tits out!"

Bmartynowski
Bmartynowski

different dress - same color and she looked amazing!

Fullmonty
Fullmonty

Your article captured completely the effect that Adele's performance had on me.

Her performance was a moment in time that transcended everything else.

Nicole Ortiz
Nicole Ortiz

What an amazing talent Adele is. Her performances are so complete with power, grace, and feeling. I am overcome by chills every time.

MrsDD
MrsDD

Adele is beautiful - She has an extraordinarily powerful voice - I am nearly 60 and I am so pleased that she chose to showcase her talent and not her skin - everything about her performance brought out her amazing talent which made everything else about her even that much more beautiful - Thank you Adele for wonderful a SHOW and PERFORMANCE!!!

Mary Franta
Mary Franta

I love Adele! She is a true original; pure and simple. This article is well-written and explains exactly why we are so affected by the awesome power of a singer and her muse. Adele is a true blue songstress and she comes along to us now when we need her most. She gives the world a boost of hope. God bless her and keep her safe.

Candis Catfixer
Candis Catfixer

This song makes me sing it all day long. Simply a great tune sung excellently with true feeling. It helps also that for once a lady is classy and dressed.

Denyse Tolentino
Denyse Tolentino

One major Power: voice ... no sexy outfits ... just a regular black dress .. simple make up and hair  ... makes ADELE ... the best ... :)

Teenispearl
Teenispearl

Every once in a while, you come across a performance that reaches into your body, grabs your soul with two hands, and shakes you back into full awareness of the seriously insane power of music.

Juliabarnes
Juliabarnes

"She *sang* her record-breaking hit...as well as it could possibly be sung."

Otherwise, the sentiment of the article is spot-on.

Paris Bound
Paris Bound

I loved your article; very refreshing and in the same light as Adele herself sang.  Thank you!

Frankie
Frankie

great work mr. port.

Angela Raiford
Angela Raiford

Love the article but you've slipped up just a bit. She didn't wear that same black dress all night. Check the red carpet photos. She was wearing a different all sparkle black dress and changed to that for the rest of the night.

Candis Catfixer
Candis Catfixer

You are right. She was at least dressed.Better than most of them do.

Me
Me

A well written complimentary piece to a fabulous talent!  Thank you

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