When I went: 26 June 2011
Location: The O2, London
Performers: Lea Michele (Rachel), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Cory Monteith (Finn), Darren Criss (Blaine), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Britney), Kevin McHale (Artie), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Jenna Uschowitz (Tina)
Creative team: Various composers and lyricists (cover songs), Ryan Murphy (tour / series creator)
Approximate price: £45
Special points: Feel-good super-fanning
Best bit: Happy Days are Here Again
If I could change one thing: More storytelling
Glee was such a phenomenon in its heyday that it could effortlessly sell out the O2 with in-character performances of some of the biggest songs from the show and only minimal storytelling (i.e. projections of Mr Schuester and Sue Sylvester yelling down at the characters onstage). If you were a fan, it was great fun to go along to a performance and covet all the merchandise, especially the T-shirts from the Born This Way episode.
The show pulled out all the hits from various episodes, with Lea Michele and Chris Colfer’s Happy Days are Here Again a highlight. The Warblers (led by Darren Criss) also did a great performance of Bills, Bills, Bills, although Darren Criss’ vocals were not quite as on point as some of his colleagues’. Heather Morris’ I’m A Slave 4 U was beautifully performed, showing off her dancing abilities, and Kevin McHale also got to dance, drawing on the Joss Whedon-directed episode Dream On where his character Artie got out of his wheelchair.
Normally at the O2 you pay more for standing tickets in the centre and less for ‘seated’ tickets, but even if you are supposed to be seated you spend a lot of the show standing up as everyone in front of you is standing up. The Glee! concert was different in that, in a weirdly civilised way, everyone was sitting, with extra seats set up in the area normally used for standing room.
There wasn’t really a plot as such so the show was just for the fans to enjoy live performances of the best songs from the show, but this wasn’t a problem unless you were expecting more. The show gave the performers more live gig experience and made for a fun evening out.