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MUSIC REVIEW

Adele is a natural

MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFFAdele delivered an assured, 75-minute performance at a sold-out Orpheum. MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFFAdele delivered an assured, 75-minute performance at a sold-out Orpheum. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / May 4, 2009
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With just one album under her belt and on the cusp of her 21st birthday it's impressive to see just how fully formed Adele's identity already is. The British songstress offers the package, and what's so intriguing about that package live in concert is that she resolutely presents it naturally, according to her own whims and rhythms. Of course when you sing with the kind of skill Adele does, you don't really need to worry about wardrobe flash, but it remains refreshing that she's clearly uninterested in adhering to the conventional script of what either a soul singer or a singer-songwriter is supposed to say, do, or look like. Instead she combines both forms and her own flavor into one beguiling sound.

Saturday night that sound filled a sold-out Orpheum Theatre in a 75-minute performance that was remarkably assured even as Adele gave glimpses of how much girl resides behind those mature R&B pipes as she turned endearingly giggly and chatty between deeply felt songs of heartache and vulnerability. One minute she was engulfed in the bitter sweetness of saying goodbye to a "First Love" in a forceful piano ballad and the next she was a goofy fan belting out an impromptu chorus of "Since U Been Gone" because she heard Kelly Clarkson was in the house. The saucy broad channeling old school insouciance for Sam Cooke's "That's It, I Quit, I'm Moving On" gave way to the wide-eyed new kid still incredulous about her Grammy wins.

Whether backed by her polished five-piece band or accompanying herself on guitar or bass, the singer consistently displayed a dream combination of technical chops and natural gifts on tunes ranging from the hard swing of "My Same" to an aching version of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."

Adele closed the night with her majestic single "Chasing Pavements" - at once a throwback to classic pop-soul and perhaps the start of a bright future.

Irish pop-rockers the Script opened with a set that was longer on upbeat energy and charm than particularly memorable tunes - sounding a bit like what might happen if Jason Mraz fronted the Fray.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com.

ADELE With the Script

At: the Orpheum Theatre,

Saturday night