Watch when Adele performed stunning acoustic Smooth gig a week before superstardom

8 September 2020, 15:08

By Tom Eames

Back in January 2011, singer-songwriter Adele performed at a special event at Liverpool's famous Cavern Club, hosted by Smooth Radio.

At that point, Adele had released her first album 19 a few years previously, but she wasn't quite a household name.

While the album performed well, and she scored a big hit with her cover of Bob Dylan's 'Make You Feel My Love' thanks to its use in The X Factor in 2010, she was still somewhat in the shadow of similar artists such as Duffy and Amy Winehouse. It wasn't until her 2011 album 21 that her career truly took off on another level.

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It was January 5, 2011. Adele was yet to release her new single 'Rolling in the Deep' in the UK, with its parent ablum 21 still to come later in the month. She was also booked to perform at the Brit Awards in just over a month's time.

Introduced to the stage, Adele - then aged 22 - performed "some new songs" from her upcoming album. Little did anyone know at the time that this was a truly privileged moment for those in attendance. In just a few weeks, Adele would become arguably the biggest and most in-demand popstar on the planet.

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Down to earth as ever, Adele made jokes with the audience as she performed some of her soon-to-be massive hits, including 'Someone Like You' and 'Rolling in the Deep', as well as her previous hits 'Make You Feel My Love' and 'Chasing Pavements'.

"I might sound a bit like Tom Waits meets Tina Turner," Adele joked as she began her set. "Because I've got the back end of bronchitis, but I'll try my best for you."

She also explained to the audience how she was meant to move to Liverpool a few years previously as she had been accepted into the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), but the move fell through as she had just been signed by a record label.

Before performing 'Someone Like You' for one of the first times in her career, Adele said: "Don't bat an eyelid if I suddenly burst into tears during this, because it makes me feel really sad."

Adele was joined on the night by Miles Robertson on keyboards, and Ben Thomas on guitar.

Just 19 days later, Adele released both 'Someone Like You' and her album 21. On February 11, she performed 'Someone Like You' to a stunned audience at the 2011 Brit Awards, propelling it to number one in the UK and cementing her as one of the most talented stars of her generation.

Not long after that, she scored massive hits in the US, became a household name around the world, and the rest is history.

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