'Glee: Live' high and low notes: 'Bad Romance,' Brittany and barf bags
The cast of "Glee" took to the stage at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City on Thursday, May 20 for the first of four performances in LA and was greeted warmly (and loudly) by fans. We scored a ticket to that sold-out first performance.
Any self-respecting Gleek would probably know most of the 20-odd song set list by heart already, but seeing it live is well worth the money and effort. Not only is there an elevated, infectious energy you don't get from just watching the show at home, but the feeling of togetherness can't be matched.
Oh, and the singing. One can truly hear the quality of the live vocals, which in the case of Lea Michele is the real deal. She sounds even better than on the show, and for all the haters who don't condone her supposed diva behavior, just let it go and enjoy the show. Her "Don't Rain on My Parade" live is an amazing and thrilling treat.
"Glee: Live" tour Tip No. 1
If you're a fan of "Glee" but not of dancing, please don't bother sitting through the amazing LXD dance opening and talk loudly and derisively. Yes, we mean you, H&M sequined jacket-wearing girl who drank five beers throughout the night. Either stay away or shut your trap so the rest of us can appreciate the talent on stage.
Among the LXD-associated dancers is Harry Shum, Jr., whose LXD persona is "Elliot Hoo." During the numerous opening dance numbers, each of the LXD members takes turns getting showcased while a parallel narrative plays on two big screens overhead. Shum's story centers on his character finding a box containing a magical pair or shoes. Check out the routine, which runs about 3:25 minutes long:
Whoever put the tour together does a good job of showcasing nearly everyone. Although only the William McKinley High School "students" perform as part of the tour, we still get plenty of Mr. Schuester ( Matthew Morrison) and Sue Sylvester ( Jane Lynch), whose pre-taped portions play on the overhead screens. In fact, it's Sue who greets the audience, explaining why fake Cheerios were handing out barf bags because the singing we're about to hear makes her want to vomit. Classic Sue.
Individual showcasing highlights:
- Puck (Mark Salling) is sporting the mohawk again and gets two solos: "Sweet Caroline" (great crowd interaction) and "The Lady Is a Tramp."
- Even though Finn (Cory Monteith) gets plenty of chances to sing, he also shows off his ability with the drums during "Sweet Caroline."
- Matt Rutherford (Dijon Talton) gets a nice dance solo when he joins Artie (Kevin McHale) for "Dancing With Myself."
- Brittany (Heather Morris) has a few moments of dialogue on stage, first talking with Mr. Schue and then to Kurt (Chris Colfer): "You look like a boy peacock who likes other boy peacocks ... One day, I will make Kurt Hummell mine. You can count on it ... even though I can't count."
- During this exchange, an audience member screams out, "I love you Brittany!" There's a pause and Colfer turns to the audience and says, "And ...?" while indicating himself. Love him.
"Glee: Live" tour Tip No. 2
If you're sitting near someone who looks like Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) be sneaky about taking a picture before everybody notices. Otherwise, once the rest catch on, your seating area is going to get mobbed by fans. Trust us. We know.
Other highlights and musings:
- While waiting for the show to start, the audience gets treated to quotes by "Glee" characters on the screen, which are then followed by a picture of the character. One of our faves by Sue: "I like minorities so much, I'm thinking of moving to California to become one."
- Vocal Adrenaline sings "Rehab" and "Mercy," but there's no Jesse St. James leading them. Bummer.
- The "Jump" routine is awesome, featuring trampolines made up to look like mattresses. Brittany gets some good air.
- The Rachel and Finn song "Faithfully" is sweet, especially since the videographers create side-by-side images of them on the big screen, even when they're far apart from each other on the stage. This particular performance, Michele has a distracting stamp (from a bar or club?) on the inside of her wrist.[UPDATE: Readers have pointed out this is her "Believe" tattoo, which we really ought to have remembered. Apologies.]
- Since the Lady Gaga episode hasn't aired yet, we get a sneak peek with this fabulous "Bad Romance" routine. The costumers outdid themselves with the outfits, and kudos to the "kids" for being able to perform in them.
"Glee: Live" tour Tip No. 3
Warning: You may feel proud, teary-eyed or a bit verklempt during some of the performances, like "Beautiful," "Defying Gravity" or "True Colors." Don't worry too much about it. Sure, you don't actually know them, but it's really fun to see the underdog characters they play on the show "make it big" in real life. Embrace it.
The cast of "Glee" is a hard-working group, and even though they have more than 20 songs on the roster for the night, they power through them in about an hour. You can definitely see a little wear and tear on them by the final song, "Somebody to Love," but they keep it together. We nominate them for the next season of "Saturday Night Live." They'd kill it.
Although this last video isn't the best quality, you get a good idea of the fan mayhem, the pyrotechnics and the high we're all feeling with this big finish.
Once the "Glee: Live" concert tour finishes in LA, it will head to Chicago and New York.
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Photo credits: Zap2it/ Hanh Nguyen