Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesI think I’m a little deaf now, PopWatchers. Glee Live! came to the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles this weekend, and the audience at Saturday’s matinée show was very gleeful indeed. It’s one thing to watch the show at home or talk about it with friends the next day or tweet about it. But to experience it live with thousands of other people? It’s, well, deafening, and a testament to the Glee phenomenon. The crowd at the kid-friendly matinée show proved Glee truly is universal, attracting everyone from little kids and their chaperons to teenagers to adults and even a woman carrying a baby. Welcome to the world, kid. I hope you brought your earplugs. Also spotted in the audience: Glee creator Ryan Murphy, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.
The show opened with a performance from members of The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, an online dance adventure from director Jon Chu (Step Up 3-D) that also features Glee‘s very own Other Asian Mike Chang, played by Harry Shum Jr. The impressive mix of interpretive dance, break dancing, and even a little robot got the audience perfectly pumped for the main attraction.
Before the festivities got underway, guys and girls dressed in Cheerios costumes handed out barf bags. A videotaped message from Sue Sylvester informed us that we were all idiots for buying overpriced tickets to the show and that we would be needing the barf bags because “this show is that bad. These kids have no talent.” The camera panned out to reveal Mr. Schuester sitting next to her as he welcomed us to New Directions’ tour. If you’ve ever wanted to be in an episode of Glee, that’s what the concert, which featured an impressive 23 numbers, was like. Each number was pretty much a recreation of the one from the episode, down to the wardrobe and moving classroom set. They even brought mattresses on stage for “Jump” and a huge car for “Bust Your Windows.” Other highlights and one lowlight:
Surprise solo artist: Mark Salling (Puck) charmed the crowd not once, but twice, venturing out into the audience with his guitar for “Sweet Caroline.” The girl who earlier texted “Puck is hot!!!” to the scroll on the electronic screen must not have been nearby since he was not mauled. Then he was joined by Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Naya Rivera (Santana), who nicely held her own, for “The Lady Is a Tramp.” It’s great to see the formerly nameless Glee Club members taking on bigger roles. Speaking of…
Glee Live! MVP: Ever since Glee came back this spring, the show has realized what a great scene stealer it has in Heather Morris’ Brittany. Morris proved herself to be equally invaluable and entertaining at the concert as she juggled dancing/singing duties with comedic bits. She performed in almost every dance number, which could not have been easy with the scant seconds between songs. The show featured some of the quickest costume changes I’ve ever seen. Occasionally, Morris was still wearing half of her costume from the previous song, allowing her to quickly jump into the next number. On top of that, daffy Brittany was also on hand. “Who are all these people? When did they get here?” she asked, referring to the audience, but the best part was an in-character bit with Chris Colfer (Kurt), who came out dressed in a cape and peacock feathers. “You look like a boy peacock that likes other boy peacocks,” she said. “We’re jumping on mattresses. I think your lady cape might get ruined.” Despite his love for other boy peacocks, she didn’t hide her affections for Kurt, declaring, “One day, I will make Kurt Hummel mine.” This was, of course, minutes after she declared that she had made out with every single stagehand.
What? No solo for Quinn? Every member of the group got the chance to shine in a solo or duet. Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) got her moment in “True Colors.” Rivera got to do two numbers with “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “The Boy Is Mine.” But our favorite pregnant ex-cheerleader was short-changed. With powerhouses like Riley and Lea Michele (Rachel) in the cast, it’s safe to say Dianna Agron doesn’t have the strongest voice in the group, but I like her girl group numbers, especially “You Keep Me Hanging On.”
Is it me you’re looking for? Why, yes, Jonathan Groff (Jesse St. James), it is you we were hoping for! After hearing that Groff made a special appearance at Friday night’s concert, fingers were crossed for a repeat performance and the audience was not disappointed. (Another message on the scroll before the concert: “Marry me Jonathan Groff!!!!!!” Honestly, I lost count of the exclamation points.) Michele introduced Groff on stage as her best friend to sing a lovely rendition of “Hello.”
Yes, Lea Michele also sounds that good live. Girl knows how to hold a note. The couple sitting in front of me could not stop shaking their heads in amazement every time she did so, whether it was during “Don’t Rain on My Parade” or “Defying Gravity.” Michele and Riley’s castmates even bowed down to them several times.
Let’s go Gaga! Judging from the enthusiastic performance of “Bad Romance” and the crazy costumes, viewers are in for quite a treat when the show tackles Lady Gaga next week. The concert also previewed some other songs that haven’t appeared on the show yet, including Journey’s “Faithfully,” which is sure to become the anthem for Finn-Rachel shippers, and a mashup of “Any Way You Want It” and “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’.”
To be in character or not to be in character? While Kevin McHale (Artie) was wheelchair bound throughout the show, Agron was baby bump-free. The concert also provided a glimpse of something we don’t see on TV: tattoos! Both Michele and Ushkowitz’s wrist tattoos were on display. Also of note: Puck’s mohawk was back.
Best Sueism: “You know, Will, it’s summer now, and the Crisco in your hair is dripping down your back. It still looks fantastic, but this whole room smells like a deep fryer.” Even in pre-taped video messages, Jane Lynch’s Sue was still as biting as ever. And what does she think of the Glee Club’s performance? “My mouth overflows with bile. I look like a gargoyle fountain.”
PopWatchers, did you check out the show in concert? If so, what was your favorite part?