Hello again - critics welcome Adele's return to the stage

Updated: 

Four years after her last UK tour date Adele returned to the stage as the world's biggest pop star, yet despite her stellar success her trademark candour remains.

In her first arena show, the Hello singer wowed 11,000 fans in Belfast with a blockbuster comeback performance that reportedly saw touts offering tickets for nearly £25,000.

The sell-out concert at the SSE Arena, the first of more than 100 dates on her nine-month world tour, was largely well received by the critics.

However all picked up on the star's frank account of how her first night nerves meant she had to stay within reach of a toilet.

The south Londoner's banter, set at odds with a string of glamorous hits including her Oscar, Bafta and Grammy-winning Bond theme song, Skyfall, kept most critics entertained.

Writing in The Sun, Ally Farrell gave Adele five stars for a show that "proved why she is the most successful artist of the 21st century".

Despite the long hiatus and it being her first outing on the 25 album tour, the show was "as polished and perfect as pop concerts come," he said.

Adrian Thrills, writing in the Daily Mail, praised Adele for a "commanding but reassuringly old-fashioned show that delighted her fans", noting that in the years since her last UK concert she had recovered from throat surgery.

"She remains a superb singer with a powerful voice that she uses to brilliant effect," he said.

Guardian critic Alexis Petridis awarded Adele four stars for a "solid if unsurprising show", saying: "[Adele] is hugely, earthily charming between songs - charming enough to get away with stuff that shades into end-of-the-pier entertainment."

However in his three-star review for The Independent Nick Hasted questioned if the singer's successful return was thanks to relying on a safe tried-and-tested formula.

"The four-year wait for 25, the multiple studios and high-end producers it took to painstakingly chisel it together, suggest the quiet paralysis of a monolithic career," he wrote.