Did a battle between Adele her set designer contribute to delaying her Vegas residency?
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
After Adele tearfully announced the postponement of her 12 week Las Vegas residency due to COVID-19 cases among her team, Page Six is reporting that there might be more to the story — alleged infighting between the singer and her set designer.
Despite having already shelled out millions for a custom set for the show, which was scheduled to be based in Caesar’s Palace Coliseum theater, Page Six is reporting that Adele isn’t happy with the look Esmeralda Devlin was creating.
Devlin worked on the set for Adele’s 2016 concert tour that mostly played in large stadium type setups.
Another source tells Page Six that Devlin and Adele didn’t seem to be on the same page as far as creative direction and that constant change requests were bogging down the process as well.
While Adele’s 2016 tour did make use of dramatic lighting cues, video projection and other elements commonly found in major concerts, it still was rather restrained, which was likely a strategic choice to keep the focus on the vocals and performance.
However, given the new residency in Las Vegas — the center of extravagance — there were reportedly debates about how big of a splash the stage set should make, which caused a constant tug of war between the duo.
It’s not uncommon for concerts tours or residencies to retool and tweaks their sets right up to the last minute and even after the run starts.
Madonna’s 2015 Rebel Heart tour had a few shows postponed in order to complete work on the set, which made heavy use of projection mapping and automation to move set pieces around the stage.
However, Adele’s somewhat unusual arrangement for such as a limited number of shows (and only on weekends), means there’s not a lot of wiggle room to make up for lost time. As of now, there’s no word on when the shows will be rescheduled.
The singer is slated to start a concert series in London shortly after concluding the Vegas productions and it’s not clear if those shows will be affected.
It’s also a bit surprising that the show didn’t anticipate issues with both the coronavirus pandemic and creating a full fledged show in just a few months — it was initially announced in late November 2021, though it’s possible at least some planning and design work had been started prior to that.
Even more so is, perhaps, the perhaps foolhardy notion of trying to create a new stage show in the middle of a pandemic in just a few months, given that the entertainment industry is experiencing major delays in set construction. Even high profile productions are reporting delays that can’t be solved even with throwing more money at them.
Perhaps even more baffling is that the production didn’t have a backup plan that included, perhaps, a toned down stage setup (it’s likely a lot of people would pay thousands of dollars to watch Adele sing the phone book in the middle of a dark stage) or a more clear plan on what to do if shows got canceled due to coronavirus issues.
In addition to staffing issues due to illness and labor shortages, many stage productions and scenic shops are experiencing delays in getting the materials needed to build the sets in stock on time.
For example, while it’s possible that standard “stock” LED panels could be rented for the show, especially given that it’s in Las Vegas, if the show required any custom LED panels to be manufactured, it could take weeks or months for those to be delivered.
Prices for construction materials have also skyrocketed in many cases.