That time Adele played SXSW and no one showed up

This CD cover image released by Columbia Records shows, ""25," the latest release by Adele. (Columbia Records via AP)

This week’s biggest new music release by a long shot is “25,” the long anticipated follow up to British singer Adele’s chart-topping 2011 release “21,” which drops Friday. At this point, it’s unclear whether a 2016 tour is in the works, but fans across the world are crossing all their fingers.

As far as most Austinites know, Adele has only played our fair city once, a La Zona Rosa show in 2009 that sold out with lightning speed. She was booked to play a sold out Frank Erwin Center show as part of her “Adele Live” tour in 2011, but a vocal cord hemorrhage forced her to cancel the North American leg of the tour. She played the Grammy Awards the following year when she swept the six categories she was nominated for including Album of the Year, but has largely been on performance hiatus ever since.

But it turns out, that La Zona Rosa show wasn’t Adele’s first Austin appearance. In 2009, she told KGSR DJ Andy Langer that she actually played the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin in 2007. “I’d only just signed my record deal, but I put it up on my MySpace when I had about 300 friends and literally like three or four people came to watch me and they were drunk,” she said.

She was on a bill with fellow British singer-songwriter Jack Penate. Flickr user Caius Pawson captured a very sad picture of the gig.  While in town for the fest, Adele and Penate also did an Xfm SXSW Session in a hotel room.

The following year Adele cancelled a South by Southwest appearance because her band didn’t have their visas. She also cancelled an “Austin City Limits” taping that year.

You can listen to Adele’s 2009 interview with Andy Langer here and watch her perform “Chasing Pavement” live at KGSR here.

And let’s all go ahead and send some “healthy vocal cord/mellow nerves” vibes Adele’s way in the hopes another Austin appearance is in the cards.

Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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