Glee Live in Phoenix – My Adventure
May 15, 2010
The adventure began very early on the 15th. We had a 7:15 flight out of Tampa and that meant getting up at 3:40, loading the car, and driving the hour to the airport. My excitement level had been increasing exponentially from the moment the trip plans came together. I had taken to looking at Dane and saying “Glee” every so often just because I couldn’t stop myself.
I have never been one to be able to sleep on planes. I can doze off, but never really find sleep. The flight was non-stop, but that still means 4 hours in the air. I played the music from Glee the back nine first and then moved to music from the Road to Sectionals. There is clearly enough music from this show to carry me the whole way here.
We actually arrived in Phoenix a little early and without incident. We caught a cab to the hotel and everything was really just moving so smoothly. When we got to the hotel to check in, our room was already ready and it was only 9 am. That never happens, but phew maybe I could sleep a little bit somewhere in here soon. We needed to get checked in for the return flight the next day and there was a kiosk in the lobby with a printer for just that purpose. After getting the room keys, we made our way over to the computer and as we were checking in I heard someone say “Hey Man” and it sounded a bit familiar so I looked up. Sure enough, it was Cory Monteith greeting someone before settling on the couch with what I guess was his breakfast. I struggled not to stare at him, but I cannot lie, my heart did do a little adrenaline jump. I think I looked at Dane and said “It’s Cory” which undoubtedly came out more like a question and probably with a little squeak in tone, but it was so unbelievably cool.
We settled into our room and went in search of food. It was still breakfast time in Phoenix but I really could have used lunch. The hotel we stayed at was spectacular from the word go. They were attentive to any and all questions I had and very responsive.
After breakfast, we went down to the lobby in search of a Coke Zero to take back upstairs. We also wanted to look at Einstein’s bagels in order to decide if that is where we wanted lunch or if we needed to look around somewhere else to eat. As we walked in, Dane said “Yes it is” but I didn’t process the words in my head enough to understand what she meant. Soon after that they make sense. I notice a guy in sunglasses leaning into a counter scrolling through his phone. His hair was cut really short. I know I squeaked this time as I asked Dane “Is that Mark?” “Yep” came the quick response. Nice.
I tried to nap, really I did, but sleep was not being kind at this stage. I was too excited to be in Phoenix waiting for the show that night. I love this show – it makes me downright giddy. The songs are on continuous play on my ipod and in the car. Lea Michele’s voice sends chills through me and I am beyond obsessed in my fangirling. Eventually, after taking the time to work out in the hotel gym, I managed to catch an hour long nap.
At 2:00, I realize in my sleepy state that morning that my toothbrush got left behind in Florida and I head downstairs in search of one. The gift shop is closed so I make my way over to the check in desk and ask. They do have one and some mouthwash! Yeah, I will not have to try to find a place to buy one after all.
As I turn to leave, Dianna Agron, Amber Riley, and Chris Colfer are walking in the end door and though the lobby near reception. They appear to recognize some people and head over to talk to them. I took a moment to just collect myself and sit down. This is all so surreal at this point.
About 5 minutes later, Dianna walks over towards the front doors and I think now or never. I kind of nodded in her direction trying to determine if it was ok to approach or if she would prefer that I didn’t. She nodded back and smiled. I was so nervous and praying I didn’t start stammering on like an idiot but I walked over to her and thanked her for all of the hard work she puts into the show and letting her know how inspiring the show was for me. She introduced herself, shook my hand and asked for my name. She was exceptionally gracious and personable and far more beautiful in person than in any photograph I had seen. She mentioned they were just back from the final tech rehearsal and very excited for the show to start. She was waiting for her mother and brother to arrive. We talked for just a few minutes before I excused myself. As I was leaving, she shook my hand again and addressed me by name. It is a little detail like that which make moments feel so special. Dianna handles herself with such poise and grace. If my boys manage to exude even a third of that when they grow up, I will have done my job.
I walked away from this exchange giddy/stupid. I could hardly wait to get upstairs and share it with Dane. I practically pounced on the bed, vibrating with excitement. I don’t think I waited for her to wake fully before I started blathering on. If there was one cast member that I wanted to converse with, it was Dianna Agron. To have her be as personable as she was, I could not have envisioned it any better. The rest of the trip including the show itself would be icing.
Sleep? Nope. Not going to happen. It evaded me all trip long. About 4 pm, it was time to find food again. We went to the Network café downstairs and to continue this surreal experience, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk were sitting with a few other people at a big table near by. Leaving dinner, we walked to the shop nearly to get another coke and saw Heather Morris at the bagel shop. She looked super cute in her WMHS sweater.
The show didn’t start until 8 pm so we headed back upstairs to just rest for a bit longer. Someone had linked I Dreamed a Dream with Idina Menzel and Lea Michele and I listened to that four or five times. The raw power of that song leaves me speechless and I am rarely without words. I got chills on my arms. Dane says that I started talking to the computer mumbling something about how they knocked it out over and over again. Probably true.
At 6:50 we started the 4 block walk to the theater. In the lobby as we were leaving, we saw Zach Woodlee, the choreographer, and a woman who was in the tweet photos from the White House Easter thing, but I do not know her name.
There was very long line to get in and my excitement was off the charts. They were selling programs, CDs, tshirts, and all kinds of Glee stuff. I was in full on Gleek heaven at this stage. Once inside, at first I only bought a program, then lost my head a little more and purchase a Tour shirt and wrist bands for my little guys. The wrist bands say “I’m a Gleek” and feature the “l” hand motion. The boys are too young to actually watch the show, but they know I lose my head over it and we share the music together a lot.
Our seats in the front on the extreme far stage right directly in front of 6 huge bass speakers. These speakers would provide heart defibrillation for days after. The angle was pretty off, but we were so close I could not complain too loudly.
First up was the LXD complete with video on the screens. From where we were I had little visual of the screens and had a tough time seeing most of the dancing. There was a stationary camera person directly in front of me. I was getting a bit nervous that I would have to stand on my chair to see anything at all. During the intermission, one of the people in the seats behind us had had enough and went to talk with Guest Services about the camera and not being able to see from this section of seats. There was little they could do about the camera at this stage, but they did offer to re-seat the entire section to a party suite upstairs. We declined as I really did not want to go all the way to the back. As soon as this group left, another person came to us and offered to re-seat us in the exact same seats on the other side of the theater. We took them up on that. I want to give props to the Dodge Theater and to the tour staff for dealing with a tough situation quickly and efficiently. They could have said “too bad” but they worked with us and did the best they could.
It seemed to take a while for the Glee portion of the show to start. On the screens, they were running slides of stills from the show with random quotes from various episodes and characters. As a background track, they were playing selections from Glee Volumes 1, 2, and 3 including “I Dreamed A Dream”. It was all Glee all the time and I loved every second of being immersed in it.
The house lights blinked and cheerleaders in WMHS uniforms began passing out what turned out to be air sickness bags with the WMHS information on them. Sue came onto the screen in the middle of the stage and explained that the performers were so bad that we would need these bags and then Will countered her statements and introduced New Directions.
It was pandemonium from here as the crowd went dumb when the 6 original members took to the stage for Don’t Stop Believing. This was my first chance to hear Lea Michele and all that voice live and in person. I was giddy stupid – shuffling my feet, struggling to stay in my seat and grinning like a fool. To see the people from this show right there in front of me live, it was just incredible. I cannot find the words to express just how over the moon I was in that moment.
About halfway through, the remaining 6 members of the cast came from the back to center stage waving enthusiastically as each reached the front of the stage before circling back to the formation. The crowd roared with each wave.
By now most anyone who will be reading this will have seen you tube clips of the songs from the tour so I won’t address all of the songs or talk extensively about the staging, probably just hit some highlights for myself. Fair warning, I will probably bounce from character names to actor names too.
Push It – this song never fails to make me giggle. No, Lea wasn’t wearing the knee pads and her hair was not braided but it was super fun. To have all of the cast involved was just incredible. It is a fun song and it was obvious the cast was there to have a good time and to show us a good time.
Don’t Rain on My Parade – this was the one song I knew I wanted to hear. From the moment I heard it on the CD, I couldn’t wait for the staging on tv and then when they said it would be done in concert, I looked forward to it more than any other. Lea coming in from stage right – exactly where my old seats were. I cannot complain too loudly as she did walk right in front of me to get onto the stage and on “march my band out” the rest of the cast walked right by as well. It was exactly what I wanted it to be. Lea’s voice is simply beautiful. I get lost in it.
Sweet Caroline – I loved Mark on the electric guitar on this song and the balance of the cast prompting the crowd to sing along was fantastic. It just felt like they were enjoying this as much as we were.
Lady is a Tramp – loved this on the show and loved it more on stage. Naya and Amber both on vocals with Mark sealed the deal. When they came over and sat on the piano, it was made of all kinds of Yes.
Defying Gravity – this is one of my all time favorite songs. Chris brings something unexpected to the vocals each and every time. The staged play between Lea and Chris should not be missed and then when they whispered to each other and hugged at the end, I teared up a little.
Bust The Windows – how much fun was the staging on this number. Amber knocks back the vocals and hood slides. WIN!
Bad Romance – From my seats I could see backstage just a little. I looked over and caugt sight of Heather’s Gaga costume and my anticipation went through the roof. It hadn’t occurred to me that they would do this song as it hadn’t aired yet, but they were! The costumes are unbelievable. Dianna with the voice section and Naya belting toward the end make this song so much better than the original. Seriously looking forward the moment this is on my screen on the show too.
Jump – It just felt like it was on television, with the mattress jumping and the little kid grins. I was smiling as big as they were when it was done.
Like A Prayer – from the moment this song opens, my heart bursts. Lea’s voice gives me chills in the opening and it swells from there. Just beautiful.
Somebody to Love – this song was bittersweet because I knew it would be the last song and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Even this far into the show, I was still enamored, caught up in the lights and the sounds. I could hardly breath. Watching Dianna and Chris hug each other, dancing excitedly toward the end as if they were so over the moon to have just finished this show high off the energy being sent back to them from the crowd, it was an amazing experience to be a part of. As the song drew to a close, they blew out massive amounts of confetti. It was everywhere. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic show.
At the end of it all, I left the theater pumped up and excited, gliding back to the hotel. It was all I could have wanted in a concert and then some. The vocals weren’t perfect, the microphones dropped off a few times, the bass pumped me from my chair, maybe a cast member drops or adds a step in a dance, but who really cares. It was just fun. They looked like they were enjoying the show and feeding off the crowd energy. It was Win Win for certain.
To end the night, I hung out downstairs for a little while. Ryan Murphy and Zach showed up in the lobby and took some photos with a few people. When they were close to me, I casually said to Zach that the show was fantastic and congratulated him. He said “The kids did really great tonight.” It was all smiles.
Cory came in the front door and was really pretty gracious considering a crowd of people rushed him. He smiled, took photos, signed things and then moved on. A van pulled up out front with Heather and Dianna inside (maybe someone else too) but with the Cory reception, they decided not to enter the front door and instead Heather walked around and the van pulled away with Dianna still inside.
It looked like they were going to hang in the bar so I decided after a few minutes to head that way. I ordered an orange juice (not much of a drinker) and sat at the bar kind of just watching some of the cast hang out. The ones not there yet started to arrive one at a time. The only ones not to show seems to be Lea, Amber, and Dijon.
Naya came in and took some photos with people and signed some things. On her way by, I shook her hand and complimented her voice particularly in Bad Romance. She said it was one of her favorites - smiled and then moved on. She is really really thin.
Next came Mark. He took the time to take some pictures with people and sign things as well. He stopped to talk to some guys hanging out next to me at the bar. He said he really wanted a drink and they bought him one. Someone I know is a huge Mark fan and I thought would appreciate some photos but I felt like an asshat asking to just take his pic. So I asked if I could take one with him and he said yes. Honestly, he didn't say that much to me as he was still talking to other people and that was fine because I was so tired I couldn't come up with one word to say.
That was about it. I cleared out and went to bed. The flight home in the morning meant getting up really early again.
It was a great weekend – worth the money and the exhaustion that is still plaguing me a few days later. What an adventure!