Concert Review: Glee Live! 2011 Tour

Ironically, the night of the season finale of Glee, a night I had fully expected to spend sedately eating cookies in front of the TV, I unexpectedly ended up at Glee Live!, the concert which just kicked off its tour. First off let me explain that I like the show, a lot, but I would never call myself a fan of the intensity of most Gleeks out there. I don't follow their every move or write love notes to the characters. I wasn't even sure going into the show whether it would be a remake of the TV show but Live!, or if it was going to feature the singing talents of the cast in another venue than their acting roles.

Glee Live! is all about Glee the show. It is a towering monument to the fans. So much so that I'm going to forgo using the actors' real names in lieu of their characters', which were carefully preserved throughout the performance. Santana threw out attitude and Britney still had all the best dumb lines. Yes, Artie even stayed in his wheelchair (until he sang "Safety Dance" where he can miraculously walk, just like the dream sequence from the show.) The concert opened with Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and continued through almost all of the show's most popular singing renditions, including Gaga's "Born This Way," Britney's "I'm A Slave 4 U," Beyonce's "Single Ladies," Aretha Franklin, and Queen. The Warblers even made an appearance with their own set of songs. And Brittany and Mike got to showcase their prodigious dancing talents. I was interested to see how the actors fared onstage without the benefit of additional off-screen editing but the cast did very well. There was a quaver here or there (Kurt) but the high energy of the cast made up for any missteps. Mercedes has a HUGE voice; much larger than you can tell from TV. Rachel's voice is just as pure as you imagine. After a well-timed encore, the concert ended fittingly with Queen's "Somebody To Love."

And the fans were enthusiastic with their love, screaming their appreciation at everything from preshow images of the Glee kids flashed upon the screen to the passing out of Sue Sylvester's "barf bags" (kind of wish I'd snagged one of those) to screaming throughout some of the video "interactions" of Will Schuester. I thought some girls were going to lose it Beatles-style when the Warblers came out. There's (apparently) nothing like boys in blazers to set a preteen's head on fire.

Ultimately, this show is really for the hardcore fans. I liked it but about halfway through the two hour show I was ready for it to wrap up. It could easily have been over-glossed but the cast was so obviously excited to be on stage that it was rather sweet. Just to see that I'm glad I went but it won't be a yearly must see.

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