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10 Sob-Worthy Moments From Adele's 'Live In New York City' Performance

The TV special is a welcome return of the queen back to her realm.

A neat thing happened when Adele took the stage in New York on Nov. 17: Both the 27-year-old singer and pretty much the entire audience simultaneously crossed an item off of their bucket lists.

For Adele -- whose 25 album dropped three days later and went on to obliterate sales record after sales record after sales record -- it was performing at the city's storied Radio City Music Hall, as she mentioned between songs after removing her shoes to get more comfortable. For the crowd, it was simply seeing Adele do what she does.

And seeing her do it so well after three years of not doing it at all.

The Radio City show, taped by NBC for "Adele Live In New York City" to air Monday night (Dec. 14), was Adele's first time back on stage since her "Skyfall" performance at the 2013 Oscars. She was nervous, she said. But you'd never know it.

Adele sings with a force so colossal and commanding that the entire bowl that arches over the stage became her face. Her sonic presence is so big, the historic venue needed to match it visually.

On top of all the existing feelings that swirl up because of Adele's music sat these new ones, these emotions that this was a grand return, a sort of homecoming, a gigantic "hello again." And here's when it got a bit misty.

  1. "Hello. It's me."

    Just like did when she slid back into our lives with a cryptic teaser, Adele re-emerged with these words, and the crowd couldn't contain its collective glee. People stood up, excited, then slowly found their seats and prepared for the emotional onslaught to come.

  2. When she sang "Hometown Glory" as images of Paris filled the room.

    The horrific Paris attacks that killed 130 people took place just four days before the concert. "We love you, Paris," Adele said after the song.

  3. When an entire string section literally appeared out of nowhere.

    Though the surprise Adele teased before "Chasing Pavements" was indeed "not like Drake or nothin'," as she suggested, it turned out to be a flock of warm violins and cellos. They lingered for a few other songs, including "Set Fire To The Rain."

  4. That high note on "When We Were Young." You know the one.
    YouTube

    She hit it again on "Saturday Night Live" just a few days later.

  5. Every time she made us laugh.
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    Sipping her tea. Slipping off her shoes to get more comfortable. Recruiting two stagehands to ensure her guitar straps doesn't mess up her A-plus beehive hair. Adele's between-songs presence was just as entertaining as her singing.

  6. The epic key change on "All I Ask."

    She wrote the tune with Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence and Brody Brown and said the Radio City show may be her first and last time performing it. Sorry, rest of the world.

  7. When she sang "Happy Birthday" to a dedicated fan.

    Adele interacted with a fan named Hayden before the show and eventually led all 6,000 people in the theater in wishing him a happy b-day via song. So, basically, this guy will never have a better birthday for the rest of his life.

  8. When she ditched her beloved nails to play us a song on guitar.
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    Adele dusted off dreamy 19 cut "Daydreamer" -- one of the first songs she ever wrote -- and serenaded us quietly like we were watching a tiny cafe show in 2007. To do it? She had to sacrifice her nails! Worth it, man.

  9. When "Million Years Ago" brought all the tears -- like, all of them.

    "I'm a mom and I'm in a very serious relationship, so it's never going to be just me again," she told Rolling Stone about this song. "I don't regret any of it." So. Many. Tears.

  10. When a group "Someone Like You" singalong brought it all home.

    What other way could a show like this possibly end? (OK, it technically ended with "Rolling In The Deep" in the encore, but this one closed out the main set, as it was always meant to.)


    Sigh. Saying goodbye is never easy. "Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead."

NBC

"Adele Live In New York City" airs Monday, December 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.