After canceling dozens of tour dates and laying low following vocal cord surgery towards the end of 2011, Adele has begun to step back into the spotlight.
She just announced her first post-recovery live performance, which will be at the 2012 Brit Awards on February 21 — a little more than a week after the Grammys, which go down in Los Angeles on February 12.
Ever since she first disappeared for her surgery, rumors have been swirling that Adele would make her great public comeback at the Grammys. At the moment, Adele’s name isn’t on the performance slate, though the show is notorious for slowly rolling out the performance announcements (or sometimes not announcing people at all).
And she did tweet yesterday: Looking forward to @theGRAMMYs on Feb 12! #WeAreMusic with a link to an impressive Grammys glamor shot. So it’s still entirely possible that her live return will be on stage at the Staples Center (where she will also be around to pick up as many as six Grammys). And it’s good that she is feeling well enough to book performances, but even with all this rest, her return gives me pause. Having spent a lot of time around singers in my youth and having known quite a few people who have had procedures done on their vocal cords, I can testify that the time after surgery is delicate and dangerous. In many cases, excellent singers have had to change aspects of their technique in order to adjust to the healing or to avoid the pitfalls that led them to surgery in the first place.
Considering Adele already has performance anxiety, it seems like making her return on such a big stage where so many people will be watching (in the house, on television, and endlessly looping on the Internet) has some major risks.
If her performance is spot-on and flawless, then it’s a great comeback story. But because of the surgery, her every note and inflection will be analyzed, and if there’s a slight slip-up, it could unleash a torrent of stories about how she’ll never be the same.
Of course, only Adele and her doctors know exactly what she is feeling and how she needs to approach singing from now on, and she undoubtedly knows the stakes involved. I would just feel a lot better if she gave herself a couple of warm-up dates before blowing away an international audience.
But perhaps I’m just being unnecessarily paranoid. What do you think? Is Adele coming back too soon, or exactly when she should?