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Glee Live! The Concert – O2 London (Review)

Glee Live

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

SAY what you will about the fluctuating fortunes of Glee as a TV show (and there are those that think Season 2 marked a decline in quality), the strongest thing about it remains the songs.

At London’s O2 Arena on Wednesday night (June 29, 2011), that was never more apparent. In London for the first time, the Glee cast belted out some of their most popular cover versions, not to mention the odd original, to a loud, appreciative and sold-out venue, thereby reminding us of what helped the show to become such a phenomenon in the first place.

The highlights flew thick and fast, from opening number Don’t Stop Believin’ (a fitting starting point) to various show-stopping numbers that featured solos, duets and even the odd guest appearance.

Indeed, so well put together were proceedings that the 80-minute set didn’t seem long enough… leaving the crowds baying for more come final curtain.

But they also had so much to reflect back on and savour. Mark (Puck) Salling’s rousing rendition of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls (complete with Cory Monteith on drums) was an early crowd-pleaser, especially since Salling first appeared on a mini-stage in the centre of the arena, thereby giving even the furthest back a semi-chance at a good view.

While Heather Morris (aka Brittany) got to indulge her love for Britney Spears and shedding her clothes with a sexed up version of Slave 4 U, complete with a neat intro featuring Matthew Morrison’s Will Schuester interacting with her on the big screen.

Chris Colfer charmed with a heartfelt version of I Want To Hold Your Hand, Amber Riley got to exercise the immense power of her soulful vocals on several occasions (the highlight of which took place on the mini centre-stage), and Lea Michele also unleashed her breathtaking vocals to a lively, pyrotechnic backed rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework.

Guest appearances, meanwhile, ranged from the obvious – a rousing three song set by The Warblers, providing Darren Criss with a deserved moment in the spotlight – to the downright surprising – a show-stopping cameo from Gwyneth Paltrow that saw her sassily belting out Cee-Lo’s Forget You.

While the back-end of proceedings also enabled Corey Monteith to shine with a similarly inspired rendition of Jessie’s Girl, Naya Rivera to add some funk with Valerie (complete with some hip dance moves from Morris and Harry Shum Jr), and Colfer and Michele to deliver a charming duet of Happy Days Are Here Again.

The obligatory encore, meanwhile, delivered such classics as Empire State of Mind (featuring the whole cast), a booty-shaking centre-stage rendition of Beyonce’s All The Ladies with Colfer swinging his hips for all he was worth, and a ‘dream sequence’ that enabled Kevin McHale to emerge from his wheelchair and show off his dancing prowess to Safety Dance.

In fact, such was the overall quality of the show that I don’t remember a single disappointing song or number. The emphasis was clearly on having a good time and the energy, enthusiasm and talent of this hip young cast shone through for all to see. Overall, it left me filled with glee – and what more can you want from a concert?

  1. I was there last night, from France, and agree it was awesome. One question: where was Dianne Agron? Loved Gwyneth though

    Heidi    Jun 30    #