It's been a long road to Las Vegas for Adele, with postponements and delays snarling her much-anticipated residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for nearly a year. But after a successful run from November 2022 to this past March, a second stint from June to November was announced—but the grueling schedule appears to be taking its toll on the 35-year-old singer.
According to a report in the UK's Sun newspaper, Adele reminded the audience at a recent show that she suffers from sciatica, a painful condition in which pressure on the sciatic nerve (a nerve that travels from the lower back to the end of each leg) can cause intense pain, numbness, immobility, and even (in extreme cases) incontinence.
According to the singer, a recent flare-up of the condition caused her to collapse backstage. “They picked my whole body up off the floor," she told her audience, later saying that she needed a break mid-show, and that she needed to “sit down and rest my sciatica” for a moment.
This isn't the first time Adele's sciatica has interfered with her performance. On New Year's Eve, 2022, she was reportedly bent over in pain during a performance, telling the crowd “I have to waddle these days as I have really bad sciatica.” In January, she told her audience “I have a wobble these days" due to the condition, and the following month, she reportedly blamed the nerve condition on a disintegrated disc.
“My L5 disc is not fucking there any more,” she reportedly said. “It’s worn away.”
In a 2021 interview with The Face, Adele said that she'd suffered from back problems for over half her life. “I slipped my first disc when I was 15 from sneezing. I was in bed and I sneezed and my fifth one flew out.” Since then, she's had several other disc problems, prompting the sciatic pain that's impacted her shows. “It flares up,” Adele says, "normally due to stress or from a stupid bit of posture."
Given the pain she's enduring, it's unsurprising that Adele might want a fleeting bit of peace and quiet, but that wasn't to be. At her show on Friday, Adele tried to take a page from the Beyonce playbook, Billboard reports, encouraging her audience to be completely silent for a moment (as the former Destiny's Child frontwoman does as she performs her song “Energy” during her Renaissance World Tour).
But while stadium after stadium of Beyonce fans has dutifully complied, Adele's Las Vegas audience is less willing to hold their tongues. As seen in fan-captured video, when Adele announced “everybody on mute,” the chatter continued.
“You fucking failed miserably,” Adele said wryly. “When I sing ‘everybody on mute,’ you have to be fucking quiet.” She was joking, of course—and better that her fans speak out of turn than engage in the current trend of throwing objects onto the stage. That said, she's ready if that happens: earlier this summer, Adele brought up the onstage projectile craze, asking “Have you noticed how people are like, forgetting fucking show etiquette at the moment? People just throwing shit on stage, have you seen them?”
“I fucking dare you," Adele said to her audience then, back pain forgotten. “Dare you to throw something at me and I’ll fucking kill you.”