“I am like Tinker Bell Finn: I need applause to live” Well, it can’t be denied that Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and the rest of her fellow Glee cast certainly got their applause when I went to see them perform at the O2 Arena last weekend. Walking out of the stadium in a wave of people after the show had finished, I knew that I had just seen something unforgettable.
Introduced via VT by a hysterically funny Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester), she – alongside Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) – popped in and out to talk to both the audience and the performers as their characters throughout the evening. The artists then opened with their most famous song, Don’t Stop Believin’ to tumultuous applause which continued right through to their cover of Queen’s Somebody To Love with which they finished. The concert included an appearance from competing show choir the Warblers, with Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson, only called Blaine Warbler by everyone else), singing three of their songs from the TV show.
It is undeniable that the most entertaining actor of the night was Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) – in between amazing solos, he performed hilarious skits with Criss and Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce) as well as dancing to Single Ladies as like in season one’s ‘Preggers’. However, the best act of the night was Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones); her voice is ten times as powerful and beautiful live than any recording equipment can convey, without any background performers or flashing lights needed to impress. Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) staged the first season phenomenon Safety Dance, including him leaving behind his beloved wheelchair behind in order to dance. Morris also soloed, with her cover of the real Britney Spears’ Slave 4 U, stunning the entire audience with her incredible dancing and scant clothing. As for Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) and his rendition of Jessie’s Girl: well, I may seem relatively well controlled, but I was willing – and about to – jump on to the stage (from my very high seat) in order to get closer.
Though the performance itself was incredible, certain aspects were a definite let down. Although I knew what to expect price wise after having seen Paramore in concert last November, I was shocked by both the lack of variety and lack of stock with the merchandise. After the monumental amount of costume changes present in the show, I anticipated a vaster amount of T-shirts available to buy; but aside from the minimal amount of “Glee Live Tour 2011” tees there were only the Born This Way shirts. Yet even then they stocked only a few of the original ones, so that instead of Finn’s “Can’t Dance” tee, I chose to have Kurt’s “Likes Boys”, which needless to say, doesn’t have exactly the same affect. However, they were selling the “^ I’m With Stoopid”, so my companion was satisfied at least. Yet once we had decided on which ones we wanted, they were out of any of the smaller sizes. I had hoped that with such a large scale tour – internationally known – that they would be better prepared, but evidently not. My only other criticisms of the actual tour were that we saw neither enough of Michele or Monteith nor were there enough entries from season one. Thankfully however, we were spared the agony of having to listen to any Justin Bieber covers: the Glee cast are highly talented, but I’m afraid one song alone would’ve been far too much to bear.
Glee in itself is an amazing contradiction to so many popular TV shows airing at the moment. A rant on other programmes shall be saved for another occasion, but Glee brings a welcome change to the idea installed by other shows that happiness blooms from beauty and popularity; it does not pretend that bullying doesn’t exist but accepts that it is a part of life that needs to be dealt with, not ignored; it represents nearly every culture, religion and sexuality and all the difficulties that accompany every aspect of being different, but still fights to tell you that that is perfection. Most importantly, it tells you that your dreams are only just out of grasp: all you have to do is reach. Oh, and that if you can sing, belt it out to a Wicked number.