There is no doubt in my mind that Glee is a well oiled, hit-making machine with the main force being its incredible triple-threat cast of performers. Being a fan of the show, it was treat to watch these folks in their element, performing for thousands of screaming fans at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento Monday night.
Disclaimer: There will be mild spoilers if you are intending on seeing the show. Also, I will be referring to performers by the character’s names, just because I can.
ARCO was, not surprisingly, full of mostly young women and their parents. I saw moms in Sue Sylvester tracksuits and teenagers in t-shirts with black lettering shamelessly advertising the wearer’s most embarrassing characteristic. Some were official merch and/or from the recent episode (“Likes Boys”, “I’m with Stoopid” (pointing up as well as down), “Trouty Mouth” and my fav “Lebanese”) and some were homemade (“Freckles”).
One of the great things about this concert was that it was plot free, leaving all the drama of the television show backstage. Except for some snooty remarks from Sue Sylvester on prerecorded video and Santana (who got a relatively large amount of performing spotlight as she has been recently on the show), it was all about the music.
Kicking off the set was, of course, a certain favorite Journey hit. It was followed by some Britney sung by a sexy Brittany, enhanced by dancers in full on fuzzy sleeved, S&M-type costumes. Other numbers included “Silly Love Songs”, “Firework”, “River Deep Mountain High”, “Jessie’s Girl”, “Loser Like Me”, “Valerie” and “Single Ladies” (yes, sung by Kurt) many accompanied by a large amount of pyrotechnics.
I was looking forward to the Warblers and Blaine, and so it seemed was the rest of the crowd. It warms my heart to know that a cappella groups (like Straight No Chaser) can get a crowd pumped like this. There really is something about singing and dancing men in uniform. They performed their lovely version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that made us fall in love with the Warblers in the first place.
Arty got to strut his stuff to “Safety Dance” (thank you! I want to see him dance more, this guy is so good) And I don’t know if I’ve just gotten used to the wheelchair or what, but I was also impressed by how easily he moves in it and how well it blends in with the choreography (Score for Glee: getting viewers so used to a wheelchair).
Unfortunately the most boring moment for me was Rachel’s performance of Babs’ “Don’t Rain on My Parade”. The excellent back-up band was nowhere to be found and the back-up track overpowered her.
Which leads me to something I couldn’t get past: a good deal of the show was certainly live (these folks can definitely sing) but how much of it was prerecorded, especially the vocals? Perhaps we’ll never know.
I think one of my favorite moments was when a smaller group of the cast gathered central stage for part of one of the tunes including (some combo of) Tina, Zises, Arty, Kurt and Mercedes. I thought: I love how this motley group of characters (not pretty, thin, white performers) is singing their hearts out to a basically sold out arena of young people screaming for them.
Glee is about diversity and inclusively. That’s what this show is all about to me. And it was so fun to see it live, popping right out of my hulu.
Glee Live Tour continues in the Bay in San Jose at the HP Pavilian tonight and tomorrow night.