May 27, 2011
I lost my hearing on Friday night; two hours after I left the Honda Center in Anaheim, my ears were still ringing. It wasn't because Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith and the rest of the Glee cast performed horribly; it was because the shrill screaming of all the teenage girls in the audience drowned out all other sounds throughout the arena.
That was precisely the reason I was dragging my feet to see the concert. As a casual Glee fan, I followed it religiously for the first eight shows or so then watched intermittently afterward. I didn't want to be surrounded by diehard Gleeks and miss understanding its crucial parts because I hadn't been watching TV.
Ringing ears aside, however, the whole concert far exceeded my expectations. The suspension of disbelief carried over to the reality of Anaheim. Cheerleaders passed out character Sue Sylvester's barf bags to prep the audience for what was, in her words, "an awful show." Glee Club instructor Will Schuester and Sylvester, both absent from the live performance, recreated their banter on large screens to introduce the show.
And it was a great show. There were no low moments. It was hit after hit after hit--from Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" (which was what got me watching the show in the first place) to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" to Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls." One of the show's best parts included second-season breakout star Darren Criss. He came out as a Warbler, in uniform, with his Warbler cohorts, for their version of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and Pink's "Raise Your Glass." And I wasn't sure if they did it because we were in Anaheim, but there was also an acoustic version of Rebecca Black's "Friday" by the guys of the show. Nice surprise, boys.
There were pyrotechnics and a real live band and choreographed dances on two stages. It was a show where, regardless of when I dropped out of watching the show, I was able to sing to every word to every song. Not only did I once again realize how talented the Glee actors really were, I also figured out its appeal: it was familiar, it was attractive, it was harmless, it was mindless, it was wholesome, and it was flawlessly done.
BTW--this is the first year Samsung and AT&T have partnered as sponsors of the Glee Live! In Concert tour, and they're hosting a national promotion that gives Glee Live fans a chance to interact via a dedicated Facebook page. If you haven't had enough Glee, check it out on Facebook.--with reports by Melbert Sebayan
Critic's Bias: Everyone around me watches Glee, so I know it better than I thought I did.
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The Crowd: Teenage fans and their parents. Also, a lot of people in the audience were dressed up as Gleeks. When did dressing up for concerts become de rigeur?
Random Notebook Dump: Two teenage girls beside us were asked to sit down by a couple behind them, possibly in their 30s. Really? You can't let two teenagers enjoy a concert for their age-range by letting them stand up and dance the whole time? You are a douche.
Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)
The Dog Days Are Over featuring Amber Riley and Jenna Ushkowitz (Florence + the Machine)
Sing (My Chemical Romance)
I'm a Slave 4 U featuring Heather Morris (Britney Spears)
Fat Bottomed Girls featuring Mark Salling and Ashley Fink (Queen)
I Want to Hold Your Hand featuring Chris Colfer (the Beatles)
Ain't No Way featuring Amber Riley (Aretha Franklin)
PYT featuring Kevin McHale (Michael Jackson)
Born This Way (Lady Gaga)
Fireworks featuring Lea Michele (Katy Perry)
Teenage Dream featuring Darren Criss (Katy Perry)
Silly Love Songs featuring the Warblers and Criss (Wings)
Raise Your Glass featuring the Warblers and Criss (Pink)
Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy featuring Michel and Colfer (Barbra Streisand & Judy Garland)
Lucky featuring Chord Overstreet and Dianna Agron (Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat)
River Deep -- Mountain High featuring Riley and Naya Rivera (Ike & Tina Turner)
Don't Rain on My Parade featuring Michele (Barbra Streisand)
Jessie's Girl featuring Cory Monteith (Rick Springfield)
Valerie featuring Rivera (The Zutons/Amy Winehouse)
Loser Like Me
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) featuring Colfer (Beyoncé)
Friday (Rebecca Black)
Safety Dance featuring McHale (Men Without Hats)
Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys)
Somebody to Love (Queen)