June 1, 2011
Target Center, Minneapolis
BY STACY SCHWARTZ
There were tons of kids dressed like Glee cast members, Warblers, and Cheerios in the lobby of the Target Center on Wednesday night. The Cheerios were handing out Sue Sylvester's "Barf Bags" as she insisted later from the big screen that we'd need them throughout the show. There were foam fingers, Glee Live programs, whistles, buttons, t-shirts, and all manner of merch available to show how much you love this television series about a group of well-liked outsiders.
The live show opened with what is arguably the cast's greatest hit, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," prepping the crowd and creating major excitement among the audience. A side note here -- I'm going to refer to the cast members as their character names. They are playing characters in this show, so it makes more sense than trying to figure out who's who if I use their real names. After the opening number the cast burst into a more indie set with Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over" and My Chemical Romance's "Sing." The show was very well set up in terms of mixing old classics with newer hits and, like the television show itself, the actors did a great job keeping up.
Each portion of the show had a little intro by either the evil Sue Sylvester, who's always trying to destroy the Glee club on the show, or Will Schuster, the Glee club's leader and biggest fan. After the intros, the Glee kids would focus on a particular part of the show - duets, the Warblers, old covers, and new songs - and perform three tracks that fit into that theme. Things were super smooth and I kept wondering how long they must've had to practice to get everything just right.
There was a live band onstage with the singers, and it was hard to tell if the cast was singing live or not. During "Firecracker" there was one point where Rachel's voice kept going after she seemed to stop, but it's hard to tell since there were lot of vocal effects on that track. The background choral tones on some of the solo songs were just too perfect to not be pre-recorded, but when the whole group sang it was easy to accept they were actually singing. I'm not doubting any of these kids can sing, I'm just saying with all the dancing and the running around on stage (plus actual fireworks, confetti cannons, t-shirt shooters, etc.), it's got to be tough to keep up with the vocals.
That being said, I really enjoyed the performances. The songs were fantastic and there was a great element of drawing the audience into the show. It was truly like watching Glee the television show live. There were tiny skits at some points (with Brittany telling us she might be in love with Blaine, or Finn discussing how to beat rivals Vocal Adrenaline), and others songs just melded from one into the other. One of my favorite parts of the night was when the Dalton Academy's show choir, The Warblers, were given a set. It was good to have that change up, and it gave the live show the opportunity to bring Blaine on stage more.
Overall it was a solid show by a cast of amazing singers. The talent is enough to blow your mind at some points -- especially if you're a fan of Broadway. I have to admit that it made me giddy at times to see the characters on stage, singing the songs I've seen on television. I'd definitely go again if given the chance.
Critic's Bias: I watch Glee on a weekly basis, however I tend to randomly fast forward through a lot of the songs.
The Crowd: All ages, all types, all fanatic Gleeks
Overheard In The Crowd: "The old dude next to me is getting his groove on."
Random Notebook Dump: It's all fine and good to have Sue Sylvester on screen (aka "via satellite"), but it'd be so much better if she introduced the sections of the show in person.
Don't Stop Believing
Dog Days Are Over
I'm a Slave For You
Fat Bottom Girls
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Ain't No Way
Born This Way
Teenage Dream (Warblers)
Silly Love Songs (Warblers)
Raise Your Glass (Warblers)
River Deep Mountain High
Loser Like Me
Empire State of Mind
Somebody to Love