A tearful Adele has axed her entire 24-date Caesars Palace residency at the 11th hour claiming half her team has Covid and they 'ran out of time' for the show to be ready.
Fans paying between $85 and $12,000 for a ticket - or up to $30,000 on the black market - had already travelled to Las Vegas from all over the world including the UK for the opening gig tonight.
But with just 24 hours to go the British star, 33, cancelled her entire 24-night run, which was due to make her $685,000 (£500,000) per performance before merchandising - a Vegas record.
'Weekends With Adele' was due to run through April, with all available tickets sold out. In an Instagram post late on Thursday, a visibly upset Adele said in her strong London accent: 'I'm so sorry, but my show ain't ready', saying they 'ran out of time'.
She went on: 'We've tried absolutely everything we can to put it together in time and for it to be good enough for you, but we've been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and COVID. Half my crew and team are [ill] with Covid and still are, and it's been impossible to finish the show.
'I'm gutted — I'm sorry it's so last minute, we've been awake for over 30 hours trying to figure it out and we've run out of time,' she continued, as her voice started to break. 'I'm so upset and I'm really embarrassed and so sorry to everyone that traveled to get [to the show]. I'm really, really sorry.'
She did not say when the shows would be rescheduled, but there is speculation it could be as long as two to three months away, meaning anyone keeping their tickets will have to rebook all flights and accommodation. But there will be many who will no longer be able to go.
Fans wished her and her team well but questioned why Adele and her team had only come to that conclusion on the eve of her first show.
One woman accused Adele of 'crocodile tears', pointing out that obtaining refunds for travel and hotels was always complicated, while another posted a picture of a furious emoji, tweeting: 'Not Adele rescheduling after already buying plane tickets, show tickets & getting a hotel room'.
A British fan called David posted a photo from outside Caesar's Palace just after the shows were axed. He tweeted: 'Christmas gift gone pear shaped as my wife and daughter are on the way to meet me in Vegas and unfortunately Adele has had to cancel'.
One fan wrote: 'What is wrong with the industry when Adele cancels her upcoming shows in Las Vegas - the day before opening? I'm sure she is devastated but fans already there from many places in the world will be extremely upset. I hope the Adele team comes up with something to appease fans'.
Another person with a ticket said: 'Super bummed that Adele has postponed all of her shows in Las Vegas. I've already spent $1200 between airfare, hotel, and the concert tickets. Not to mention vacation time from work'.
The price tag for the Weekends With Adele at Caesars Palace's Colosseum starts at £700 and ranges to £9,000 plus for the best seats in the house.
Adele, already worth an estimated $220million, was due to have access to Caesars $50,000-a-night private suite throughout her residency, which comes with a butler, executive assistant, chauffeur and security.
A source said: 'She is expected to make over £500,000 per gig thanks to ticket sales alone, even before the merchandising. Caesars has rolled out the red carpet to ensure she’s treated like the superstar she is'.
It is not clear why a 14-day COVID outbreak would postpone a multimillion-dollar show for months.
In November, she told Rolling Stone that she would not go on tour because she was worried about the logistics during the pandemic.
'It's too unpredictable, with all the rules and stuff,' she said. 'I don't want anyone coming to my show scared. And I don't want to get COVID, either.'
Fans of the 33-year-old singer had shelled out up to $30,000 for resale tickets for the eagerly-anticipated show - her first live concert in five years.
In a video posted to Twitter, Adele sobbed as she said that COVID-19 cases among members of her crew had made it impossible to bring the show to life in time.
Adding to her woes were delivery delays that made it 'impossible to finish the show.'
She added that she had been awake for 'over 30 hours' trying to solve logistical issues but had simply 'run out of time' to be ready on Friday.
Many were sympathetic, but plenty were frustrated.
'This breaks my heart, for you and for me,' tweeted Amy Campbell, a medical professional in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
'I know how hard it is to put on a show, especially with a pandemic. But it's also hard to save enough money, to get time off work from a hospital, that is short staffed, book a flight and hotel, fly in two days early and find out 30 hrs before the show, when we are already here, that the reason we came for is not going to happen.
'The people with first weekend show tickets may not be able to afford the time or money to reschedule something like this.'
A British man noted: 'Unbelievable. What a disgrace. I thought the yanks had their house in order. Rona or no rona, the show must go on.'
'So disappointed!' said another woman.
'My husband got me tickets for Christmas and we were looking forward to it so bad! I guess we'll have to wait until Avril Lavigne announces a tour since we're also huge fans of her.'
The Can I Get It singer pledged to reschedule the canceled shows - but gave no indication of when that could be.
She added: 'We're going to reschedule all of the dates, we're on it right now, and I'm gonna finish my show and get it to where it's supposed to be. So I'm so sorry it isn't possible. We've been up against so much and it just ain't ready. I'm really sorry.'
The team had implemented intense COVID protocols.
The production required ticket-holders to show proof of COVID vaccination, and also display a negative-COVID test within 48 hours of the show.
A rapid-test station was being set up Thursday afternoon at the former Rao's Restaurant space, and another across the Strip at the Flamingo, to handle the influx of those needed on-site testing.
A choir of 60 singers, all hired in Las Vegas, had passed auditions on January 5 to participate in a 'Skyfall' opening number, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal. The original call was for 100 singers, but only 60 could show up.
Hospitalizations in Clark County, Nevada - which encompasses Las Vegas - are approaching the record for the pandemic, with 1,872 people hospitalized statewide as of January 18.
The record was set December 13, 2020, with 2,025 patients.
The test positivity rate is 37 percent, compared to a seven-day average of 18.95 percent in New York City, which has passed the Omicron peak.
Her dramatic decision came as other performers felled by COVID, such as Hugh Jackman, swiftly rescheduled their performances and were back on stage in New York within weeks. He resumed Broadway performances on January 6, having tested positive for COVID on December 28.
The Strokes cancelled their New Year's Eve show in Madison Square Garden, but have already rescheduled it for April 6.
Also at Madison Square Garden, Billy Joel announced on January 11 he was pushing his January 14 performance to August 24th.
Celine Dion, who previously had an incredibly lucrative Las Vegas residency, announced on January 15 she was cancelling the remaining 16 dates of her North American tour due to 'severe and persistent muscle spasms which are preventing her from performing'.
Other groups have been creative in compensating for the COVID challenges.
When Dead & Company's guitarist John Mayer and drummer Bill Kreutzmann tested positive, they were replaced by other musicians - although of course with a soloist that was unlikely to appease everyone.
One fan accused Adele of 'crocodile tears', pointing out that the singer had canceled her shows before.
Another said: 'Same tears when she cancelled our Wembley tickets, still waiting for the rescheduled concert for her uk fans.
'Got refund took a while (trains, hotel didn't tho).
'the point is when u cry each time and send email saying sorry and when I get better I will do a concert for all that missed the show that she supposed to do. But she doesn't it's a bit crocodile tears4me.'
Another complained: 'When it's your bday and your bday present was Adele tickets to her opening night and she cancels not even 24 hours before.'
Gillian Rowland-Kain, 32, was already on her flight to Las Vegas from New York for Friday's opening night show when she found out about the cancellation via social media.
'I was furious that Adele waited so last minute to make this call,' she told the BBC.
'I recognize it's not a call any artist wants to make but she would've known yesterday that the show wouldn't be ready by tomorrow.
'Her lack of notice is astounding. I'm angry and frustrated.'
Rowland-Kain, who is from Brooklyn and traveling to Vegas with her twin sister, added that the last-minute cancellation felt 'like a slap in the face'.
Josh Chavis, from Kansas City, says his wife Heather paid nearly $1,800 for her hotel and flights to Vegas for a show this weekend.
He said even Adele announcing it a few days sooner 'would have made all the difference' in terms of refunds.
'We recognize that things are hard for everyone, but this is a huge misstep on the part of both the performer and those responsible for putting the show together.'
In 2017, the singer was forced to cancel her final tour dates at Wembley Stadium in London after damaging her vocal cords. She then underwent surgery.
The Weekends With Adele' residency was announced in November, but the run up has not been smooth.
Adele and her ex-husband, Simon Konecki, split up in 2019 and she found her life under the spotlight once again.
'I'm still not fully over it, of me choosing to dismantle my child's life for my own makes me very uncomfortable,' she said on November 19, in an interview with CBS.
She and Konecki share a nine-year-old son, Angelo.
'I don't feel guilt, I just feel somewhat selfish sometimes.
'I know I am nearing my goal of finding my happiness. No one ever makes me do what I don't want, but I was really ignoring myself for a long time, which was wild to me when I realized it.
'I knew as an adult, Angelo would be livid with me for doing that. I knew that when he became an adult, he would be furious at me. And I didn't want that either. It was hard work.'
Adele, who is now dating sports agent Rich Paul, went on to say that explaining the split to Angelo was 'really hard' for her.
In an emotional track from her album 30, entitled My Little Love, the singer includes audio recordings from conversations with her nine-year-old in which he attempts to stop her crying amid her 2019 divorce, which is the key subject of the record.
Adele continues in the tearful voice notes: 'You know Mummy doesn't like anyone else like I like you, right? Mummy's been having a lot of big feelings lately, I'm confused and I don't know what I'm doing.'
In more voice notes to her son she says: 'I love your dad because he gave you to me... I've had a bad day, I'm very anxious...
'I feel very paranoid, stressed, and I'm hungover which never helps. I feel like today is the first day since I left him that I actually feel lonely — and I never do. I just feel really lonely and frightened, and I'm worried I might feel like this a lot.'
The Rolling in the Deep singer then told Oprah Winfrey in the accompanying interview that after the release of her first single Easy on Me from the new album 30, her son was taken aback by her popularity.
She said: 'There was like a hundred thousand people waiting [and] you had all these likes,' she recalled Angelo saying. 'Then he was like, 'People really like you.' '
Adele then discussed her hopes for her son's future with the chat show host, saying she only wants for him to be a 'good and happy person.'
'I don't expect anything of him,' she explained. 'I don't care what his career is, as long as he's passionate about whatever it is that he does and that he's happy.'
In the interview Adele also revealed that adjusting to being a single parent and her divorce was a 'process' and 'exhausting'.
The Easy On Me hitmaker was scheduled to perform two shows at the venue every weekend until April 16, 2022, for a run of 12 weeks.
She was expected to rake in $2 million in ticket sales for each show, taking home $685,000 a show - a new record - and pre-sale tickets made $50 million for the venue, according to Billboard.
The eye-watering fee would make the British megastar one of the highest-paid female stars in the history of Las Vegas residencies.
The price tag for the Weekends With Adele at Caesars Palace's Colosseum starts at £700 and ranges to £9,000 plus for the best seats in the house.
Adele, already worth an estimated $220 million, was due to have access to Caesars $50,000-a-night private suite throughout her residency, which comes with a butler, executive assistant, chauffeur and security.
The current record for revenues made by Las Vegas residencies belong to Celine Dion, who took in more than $681 million for her residencies A New Day.
The residency ran from 2003-2007.
According to Billboard, Elton John's Red Piano series from 2004-2009 took in an average of $673,000 in sales, while Britney Spears' Piece of Me show from 2013-2017 averaged around $555,000.
In 2011, Rod Steward signed an eye-watering $50 million contract for 18 shows in Las Vegas at the Colosseum, where Adele was set to perform, making $2.7 million per show.
Adele's residency had already gotten off to a bumpy start after her most dedicated fans were outraged at sky-high ticket prices.
Tickets went on sale on December 8 via Ticketmaster's Verified Fan program, with the cheapest seats in the back going for $85 before fees, while premium seats closest to the stage sold for about $680.
But all of the shows sold out within minutes due to incredibly high demand, and sellers began charging astronomical prices on resale markets, boosting the prices of tickets to anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $37,000.
Fans could only buy tickets if they applied for the Verified Fan program and were sent a code to give then access, meaning many fans never even had a chance to get seats before scalpers took over.
Ticketmaster is offering refunds beginning Thursday, through 30 days, with new dates to be announced.
A spokesman for Caesars said: 'We understand the disappointment surrounding the postponement of WEEKENDS WITH ADELE.
'Adele is an incredible artist, supremely dedicated to her music and her fans. Creating a show of this magnitude is incredibly complex.
'We fully support Adele and are confident the show she unveils at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace will be extraordinary.'
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.