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Glee Cast is a Huge Hit at Glee Live! Sacramento Show

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The Glee Live 2011 Tour rolled into Sacramento last night a day late, but no one in the sold-out Power Balance Pavilion crowd seemed to care. It was an extremely exuberant crowd, with the screaming and cheering starting long before the curtain went up.

The show had every one of the students featured in the TV show, plus Matthew Morrison (the New Directions director, Will Schuester) and Jane Lynch (Cheerios cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester) via video. All performed as their characters, reprising a surprisingly long list of the production numbers from “Glee.”

They quickly put to rest any questions about their ability to perform live at the high-quality level of the television numbers.

The cast, backed by a five-piece band, opened with one of their first hits: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Everyone had a moment in the spotlight during the show. But as evidenced by the TV show, some actors are much stronger singers and dancers than others and were more heavily featured.

One of the standouts was Lea Michele as Rachel. Michele started on Broadway at 8 years old and has gathered more musical theater experience than anyone else in the cast. Her “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was definitely a show-stopper. Michele again channeling Babs and Clovis-native Chris Colfer (as Kurt) channeling his best Judy brought down the house with their duets “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “(Come On) Get Happy.”

Colfer thrilled the audience with his bestselling rendition of the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Amber Riley (Mercedes), not one to be ignored, belted out Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” with the rest of the cast in choir robes. Riley sounded like she was going to lift the roof off the pavilion.

Amber Riley as Mercedes

Cory Monteith as Finn performed several duos with Michele and really belted out Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl. He also showed off his drumming skills.

Corey Monteith as Finn, Lea Michele as Rachel

Kevin McHale as Artie showed that he could dance, reprising his dream sequence set in a shopping mall, and even rapped.

Kevin McHale as Artie

Heather Morris (Brittany) channeled her namesake Britney Spears with the cast in full Spears drag.

Even the Dalton Academy Warblers, led by Darren Criss as Blane, did a set of songs.

Along with several other recently released songs, the cast performed Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” the title song from her newly released album. The cast wore their low self-esteem T-shirts from the “Born This Way” episode, which has been recognized for its promotion of tolerance and anti-bullying stance.

Glee Live! Finale

The staging added to the drama, using nearly every concert trick in the book: pyrotechnics, multiple staging (including a stage at the back of the auditorium), high-tech lighting and large-scale video images. Performers popped up everywhere, including on the pavilion floor.

After the curtain went down, they returned to perform no less than six encores, starting off with Colfer performing “Put a Ring On It” backed by the girls in black singlets from the rear stage. The boys did Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” And as a sly hint at their season finale, they performed Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.”

Glee Live! Finale

The audience at Glee Live demonstrated the wide diversity of “Glee”’s following. Yes, there were small armies of adolescent girls accompanied by their parents, but there were also large numbers of folks of every age and gender.

There were long lines at the souvenir stands before and after the show.

The whole “Glee” phenomenon is a major money machine, but who cares when you are getting your money’s worth and you are left very entertained?

 

Thanks to SacPress photographer Randy Miramontez

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