I have to confess I was originally not too enthusiastic about the prospect of accompanying my little sister to the GLEE LIVE show at the O2 Arena. I have always watched the programme and enjoyed it, but trekking to the massive Greenwich venue in the heat of summer, among fifteen thousand squealing teenagers is not my ideal way to spend an evening. However, in retrospect, after seeing the epic performance, I can honestly say I’d happily go again.
I collected my overexcited sister and we travelled through the London rush hour to take our precious seats at the O2. Merchandise sellers were lining the walls tempting visitors with Glee inspired t-shirts, mugs and bags. I was particularly drawn to the quirky white tees with slogans like ‘Can’t Sing’, ‘Like Boys’ - they come directly from the TV series and were also worn by the cast on stage.
Once seated at our top row seats we could sip our lemonade and relax while the support act (a group of awe-inspiring dancers) wowed with their triple backflips and headspins. Another half hour of waiting and then, eventually, it was time for our favourite high school crew to perform... but not before a quick introductory speech from absent Glee teacher, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and cruel bullying cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), unfortunately ear-splitting screams meant little could be heard of the video clips!
The evening was well rehearsed and arranged, and thank God because the fans were hungry for a pitch perfect performance. We heard Glee versions of many famous classics including songs by legends: Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Queen, Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Judy Garland amongst others. Unlike the TV series, which heavily relies on starlet Rachel (Lea Michele) and jock Finn (Cory Monteith), most cast members got a fair share of the solo vocals, though I would have liked to see more from shy dancing talent Mike Chang (Harry Shum), and pretty blonde Quinn (Dianna Agron).
The best performances on the night came from Mercedes(Amber Riley) with some incredible vocal gymnastics, a stunning duet from Rachel and Kurt (Chris Colfer), and a surprisingly spectacular showcase from Artie (Kevin McHale), who got up from his wheelchair to dance and sing with style.
The sound levels seemed to intensify when rival band, the Dalton Academy Warblers took to the stage. Headed up by the heart-throb, and particular favourite of my sister’s, Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) the a cappella team performed three uplifting numbers with Criss giving some stunning lead vocals.
The journey home could not dampen the spirits of the departing fans; everyone seemed truly inspired by the music and energy of the young performers. I was amused to overhear two dads compare notes on the show, the wives giggling at their respective spouses unexpected enjoyment of Glee, a programme I’m sure they had previously only smirked at condescendingly!
I’m sure many are sceptical about whether these young stars are really as good live as they are on our TV screens, a few were a little weak vocally (Finn, and more surprisingly Kurt) but most excelled and really impressed me. And aside from the fun factor, if this American phenomenal inspires young singers to get up and perform then it’s certainly a good thing. I just hope we get our own Glee Club craze over here in Britain, I think kids are craving it.
One thing is for sure...I’m definitely a bigger GLEEK than ever.