Friday, 11 May 2012

Review of the Week: Glee live!

After the end of Season 2 and what with all my exams to contend with, I was definitely missing the Glee club, along with Sue and all the others. So what better way to ‘reaffirm’ my love with the hottest American export than see the cast dancing and singing live at the UK’s biggest venue, the 02, London.

An overview for anyone who feels they’re not ‘cool’ enough to watch the show; it's about a group of ‘misfits’ perform songs, a mix of covers and original music, in order to win the coveted ‘Nationals’ trophy. There teacher, Mr Schuster (Matthew Morrison), guides them through each week - despite the best efforts by his arch nemesis, the comedy genius, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). It’s a show that brings people of all ages together, and has proved a hit across the globe. With numerous singles making their way to the Singles Chart, the actors making a name for themselves and with a film and a new series recently released, the only way really is up for the show. Therefore, it seemed fitting that the cast decided to honour their fans by performing at selected venues across Europe. And what a performance it was!

However, I had my apprehensions. Firstly, I had never been to the 02 before, and was worried none the less that our seats, which were not cheap, might leave me with a strained neck when trying to catch a glimpse of the stars belting out popular tunes. But alas, once we walked through an organised security barrier, we quickly found our seats, glanced through the programme and enjoyed the buzz as the pews surrounding us quickly filled up with more fellow ‘Gleeks’ than I thought possible. If you’re looking to go to the 02 in the evening, a quick tip would be to come a few hours early and have a meal in one of the many restaurants - but leave plenty of time for this, the queue’s were long but worth the wait!

With the atmosphere now hotting up, the support act; a dance troupe who mixed mainstream pop with contemporary dance, helped set the tone for a night to remember. Enter New Directions! The first song, arguably their most famous cover to date, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, was met with wild cheers and clapping from the gleeful audience, most of whom sang along with the stars (including myself!) A fantastic opening, which went from strength to strength with other cover hits such as ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Lucky’ and ‘Valerie’, sung by true musicians (those critics who thought it was all made up in the recording studio were certainly a long way from the truth). All the stars performed, danced and acted as if their life depended on it.

To pick out just a few superstars, Amber Riley (Mercedes) sung her heart out with a rendition of ‘Ain’t No Way’ by Aretha Franklin, which was the only moment throughout the entire show that the audience remained quiet, as her powerful and unpredictable personality and voice touched the hearts of all the fans. In contrast, Chris Colfer (Kurt) provided humour and screams of delight as he performed to Beyonce’s Single Ladies, a routine that undoubtedly Beyonce would find hard to live up to herself! In fact, most of the performances were better than I had anticipated, although a few performers could have performed better. Artie’s voice was particularly weak, despite the actor once being the lead in a rock band. As the many duets, solos and group sing-offs came to an end, my numbing hands and dry throat were an insignificant compromise to the 90 minutes of excitement endured.

Overall, it was a night to remember, and a performance that once ended, I wished could be repeated again and again. The effect of watching and seeing it live was much more than I could ever have imagined. The songs, the dancing, the acting, the audience, even the venue despite the cost, all contributed to a great, unforgettable night that I would recommend to anyone who has the chance to either see the cast again live in concert, or someone else at the O2!

4/5 Stars (reviewed last year)

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