Seeing Glee Live! in concert is a transformative experience; a high. The producers successfully brought the magic of the TV show to the stage.
I met Glee's Finn played by Cory Monteith in December at a charity event in Los Angeles. I asked "Will you be singing tonight?" He responded "Unfortunately, no."
After watching Glee Live! at the Gibson Ampitheater at Universal City Walk Friday night, I am convinced that for Cory and company there is no place they'd rather be than on stage singing and dancing.
And why wouldn't they? There's nothing more energizing than a theater filled with 6,000 screaming fans jumping to their feet when you step on stage. It seemed like every 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles was there.
For someone who had no professional voice coaching before Glee, Cory's become a fan favorite; one enthusiastic fan held up a poster that read "I want to go to Finn-land"
Saturday, the Canadian brought his mom to the show. He tweeted, "LA! thanks for coming to see our show! My mom was there tonight too, it was so epic... :)) best day ever."
Cory opens the show with Glee's anthem Don't Stop Believing, unfortunately the audio wasn't mixed properly -- the music was drowning out the vocals.
But by the time Lea Michele (Rachel) sang her first solo Don't Rain on My Parade, it was fixed. As the 23-year-old Broadway-trained performer walked through the audience, every note she hit made fans realize there is no auto-tune necessary for her.
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Amber Riley (Mercedes) had some brilliant moments singing Christina Aguilera's Beautiful, She was almost brought to tears. And, the biggest production number of the night was for Bust Your Windows, where Amber drove out on stage with pyrotechnics and in gust of smoke in a Cadillac. She has the same show-stunning power of Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls.
The cast took the top 40 hit Bad Romance and duplicated the same outrageous outfits that the cast wears on Tuesday night's Glee--and you felt like there were half a dozen Lady Gaga's on stage. Hearthrob Mark Salling (Puck), who used to book gigs on Craigslist, played the electric guitar while he crooned Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline; Cory surprised fans by playing the drums.
Comic relief was provided by video clips that featured Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) and live skits with Chris Colfer (Kurt) who tweeted Thursday night "Tonight's our first date in LA! It's already better than most first dates because our parents didn't drive us here."
But the scene stealer Heather Morris (Brittany), who danced in almost every number was originally hired as a dancer, brought down the house with her "dumb blonde" persona. During one exchange with Chris, she said "Kurt --one day I'm going to make you mine. You can count on it-- Even though I can't count.'
Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) did justice to Cyndi Lauper's True Colors and Kevin McHale (Artie) rolled out in his character's wheel chair belting out Dancing With Myself.
A surprise of the night came during the encore when Jonathan Groff (Jesse) was introduced by Lea as her "best friend," and did a duet of Hello with her. He also sang the song with her in the Saturday matinee.
When you leave the theater, your ears are ringing, you may have some confetti in your hair and you definitely will have a smile on your face and hope in your heart.