Last night Denis and I headed to the McGlohon Theater here in Charlotte to see Idina Menzel in concert. She is the woman who played the original leading role in “Wicked” on Broadway a few years ago. She was also in the original cast of “Rent” when it debuted on Broadway.
Getting the tickets was a last minute decision, but a good one. She put on a nice show. The great thing about McGlohon Theater is that it is a very intimate theater. Maybe 300-400 seats at the most. Our seats were in the back section of the theater, but still close enough that we could enjoy the show.
She had a local musician as her opening act, and if you read my Twitter posts from last night, you know he was…not that good. Poor guy. As Denis said, he wanted to be Tom Waits – but he’s no Tom Waits. This guy KNEW we had no desire to see him, and was basically apologetic through all six songs he sang. At some point Denis got up and left to go wait it out in the lobby, only to find a dozen or so people doing the same thing. *lol* I felt bad for the guy, though, when he said, “This is my last song,” and had an audience member yell out, “Good!” That was not cool. But the singer took it in stride and continued on with his last song before disappearing off the stage.
We then had a thirty minute wait for Ms. Menzel to take the stage, which ticked me off. Is she THAT much of a diva that she had to make us wait 30 minutes when her entire stage of band equipment was already set up before her opening act even got on stage with his acoustic guitar?
Finally she took the stage and proceeded to sing for the next hour and a half. She has an amazing voice and her songs were pretty good – good enough for me to add her CD to my Amazon Wish List. I did have two quibbles with the show though.
1) Reverb. Yes, reverb is every performer’s best friend. But DUDE had it turned up full throttle to the point where it was a distraction. Especially when it would go from full throttle down to nothing while she was speaking and then go full out again if she sang a riff. Very annoying.
2) Girl can’t dance. It’s not like she’s doing dance music or anything, but still, on the faster songs she would kind of bop around the stage. It was very uncomfortable to watch. Fortunately, she knows she’s no good and even made a comment about it later in the show. But I still would have preferred if she pulled a kd lang and just stood in place and did her thing.
During the songs she would tell stories about herself – such as being a wedding singer at age 15 in Long Island, or her penchant for malapropisms (i.e., instead of “my bad” when making a mistake, she told us she always thought it was “my bag”).
Her backup band was really good and I (obviously) paid a lot of attention to her keyboard player, who was also the musical director for the show. He had two regular keyboards and two old school synths and did a LOT to add to the musicality of her songs.
Some fun things to note about the crowd:
1) The Charlotte Gays love Idina Menzel. They were out IN FORCE last night, which cracked me up.
2) We had a guy sitting in front of us who took a bunch of pictures with his cellphone during the first few songs she sang, and then he got up and left. A few songs later one of the theater staff escorted a woman into the theater and put her in that seat. The woman knew the people sitting next to her. So who was the dude? No idea. But he just kind of walked out.
All in all it was a fun show and I’m glad we went.
3) When Idina told us she was singing her last song, the cellphones were whipped out and suddenly flashes were going off all through the theater. I figured I’d join in, so I brought out my Blackberry and took a few pictures myself. *lol* Idina sat down with her legs over the edge of the stage and was literally a couple feet away from the folks in the front row. A woman in that row held up her camera and snapped away. Idina said, “Is that video or a picture? Is this going on YouTube? Hey all you Charlotte people out there watching this on YouTube!” Pretty cute, and very easygoing considering the theater announced at the beginning of the show that no pictures were allowed.