LONDON • Adele has kicked off her first world tour in four years with an arena show in Belfast that received overwhelmingly positive reviews despite the best-selling singer's bout of pre-gig nerves.
The show in Northern Ireland on Monday was sold out months in advance and fans came from as far as Japan and South Africa to catch a first glimpse of the British ballad singer.
The 100-stop tour includes dates in London this month, Paris in June and New York's Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, culminating with two dates in Mexico City in November.
"I know some of you have been dragged along, but I'm going to win you over," Adele joked with about 11,000 fans gathered at the SSE Arena Belfast, the BBC reported. "Although some of my songs get a bit depressing."
The 27-year-old singer, who has been frank about her stage fright, also informed fans that she was suffering "severe bowel movements" because of nerves.
Dressed in a long black dress with golden threads, she performed 18 hits including Hello, Rolling In The Deep, Set Fire To The Rain and Skyfall, the theme song to the 2012 James Bond film of the same name.
The mother of one last performed in Britain in September 2011. Arenas were already waiting for her after her 2011 album 21, but throat problems and then motherhood kept her from touring.
In addition, she said towards the end of a nearly two-hour set: "I was scared." (Forestalling fact- checkers, she also noted that she had previously headlined in an arena, but it was divided to halfcapacity because she refused the larger booking.)
Alexis Petridis, music critic for The Guardian newspaper, gave Monday's concert four out of five stars, praising her "fantastic voice" and calling the performance "solid - if unsurprising".
The Sun newspaper gave her five stars, saying the show "proved why she is the most successful artist of the 21st century". The show was "polished and perfect".
The Independent called on the singer to be the "bawdy, ballsy person she is on stage when she writes".
Adele has broken several records with her third and latest album, featuring the ballad Hello.
Her album 25 sold a record- breaking 5.2 million units in the United States alone. She was officially the biggest-selling artist in the world last year, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES