Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Idina Menzel @ The Wiltern Theatre

Apparently my friends REALLY like Idina Menzel.

Though we already went to see her in San Diego, Sam found out she was going to be coming to Los Angeles, and immediately decided to buy tickets. The problem is, her usual concernt buddies were unavailable, and well, that left me.

Despite the fact that I seem to be attending concerts a lot lately, let me just come out right now and say: I don't like concerts.

Well, honestly, I don't like sitting in on place for too long in any capacity, but I tend to do much better in musicals (because I'm a sucker for story and music) than I do for long plays or concerts. A lot of it is because I'm hyperactive, a lot of it is becasue I just tend to bore easily. And also because I just HATE crowds (seriously. I'm not kidding. I can be in front of them just find, but do NOT put me IN one. K, thx).

Regardless, it was my duty to be a good friend once again accompany Sam to see Idina Menzel. Honestly, I was kinda curious to go. I wanted to see if there would be a different crowd than the mellower venue in San Diego, if Taye Diggs would show up, and if her set would change any.

Apparently Idina fans are crazy devoted no matter what city you're in. Before Sam and I went to the concert, we went to Taylor's Steakhouse for some grub, and on the way out, I joked to her, "Are you ready to get your Idina on?"

Behind us, there was a sudden gasp, and I hear a choked happy, "That's where WE'RE GOING!"

Two fabulous gay boys and their female friend looked positively delighted to see us, and began to immediately quiz us on our Idina knowledge.

Have you seen Wicked? Me: Yes. (I went to London! Ha!)
Have you seen Rent! Sam: Yes, original cast, baby!
Do you own both her albums? Sam: She has three.

Sam won that, in case you didn't already guess. She loves Idina like mad.

Twenty minutes later, a casually curious Mel sat on some really odd looking bar stoolly type of chair brought in for the occasion, flipping through my T-Mobile sidekick and casting amused glances at the big screen on the stage, which displayed text messages sent from the audience. I very quickly discovered that the fastest way to irritate me at an Idina Menzel concert is to text the lyrics to every Wicked song Idina's ever sung on the teleprompter. Seriously. I mean, I like Wicked as much as the next Idina fan. Hell, I even went to London to see Menzel open as Elphaba. But dude, we ALL KNOW THE L YRICS. You don't need to remind me.

Also, another way to irritate me is to randomly moo. It's a Rent thing. And LORD does it bug me. I HATE THE MOO.

*ahem* Moving on. We had a better opening act this time. This cute guy with a guitar who talked a lot about pain as he strummed. Don't they all? Then Idina made us wait for like, an hour before she showed up, and boy was it to some serious fan fare. The crowd itself wasn't as eclectic as the group in San Diego, but as I said before, they were just as devoted. Little pockets of gay boys, elderly broadway fans, screaming teenage fan girls, and pre-teen girls wearing Wicked t-shirts littered the hipster crowd, and when Idina showed up, the 17 year old girl beside me nearly started sobbing with relief. I'm serious. It was mad frightening and amusing.

Taye did show up, for those who were curious. Also causing the girl beside me to hyperventilate. He tried to sit in the crowd, but it was increasingly clear that he was going to get mobbed, and rather than suffer through that, he disapeared backstage. Good for you, Taye.

Idina herself seemed verklempt. It was the last stage of her tour and the manifestation of a dream, and as a result, she kept getting choked up, sentimental and nostalgic. Which led to a lot of cursing, because tears breeds embarrasment, and when your audience laughs at you, apparently lovingly telling them to fuck off is the right thing to do (they loved her for it).

Highlights this time were a cover to Pat Benatar's 'Heartbreaker', which required Idina a full five minutes to recover from her spastic headbanging ("I'm 37, you guys," she complained), and once again screaming at the audience that she was NOT going to ask Taye Diggs to sing with her ("and let him upstage me?! Please!" she sniffed).

The usual 'Defying Gravity' and Rent melody 'No Day But Today' were sung with amazing feeling, but my favorites are the little known 'Brave' and 'Gorgeous' from her new album 'I Stand'. They're just beautifully written songs.

Below is the music video for 'Brave'. It's weird. She strips down to jeans. It's supposed to be artful and insightful.

I'm just shallow and in it for the pretty.

Go with it.

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