It’s not often that us Glee fans on this side of the pond have the opportunity to see, let alone meet, the stars of our favourite TV show. However, this week, the fates have smiled on us with public appearances by both Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) and Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester).
As previously reported, Colfer drew hundreds out to Kent last Sunday (16 June) for a signing of his two books, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell and Struck by Lightning. Then Matt was handed the baton and conducted album signings in Manchester (19 June) and London (21 June) as well as played an intimate gig at London’s Bush Hall on Thursday night (20 June).
Matt was in the UK to promote his latest album, Where It All Began – a collection of Broadway classics that takes him back to his singing roots. I have to admit that I’m not a big Matthew Morrison fan and even up to the morning of the gig my friend and I were debating whether we would buy tickets or not. At 7.30 AM the morning of the gig, we saw there were tickets still available, and Kirsty had won some money on Lotto, so we decided that yes we would go along. And boy, were we glad we did. Within seconds of Matt launching into his first song, we were hooked. Broadway classics, a ridiculously sexy singer who seduces everyone in the audience and an experience shared with only 350 other fans… what wasn’t to love?
The venue was basically a town hall with an elevated stage at the front and seats laid out in rows filling the room. We had no problem getting general admission tickets the morning of the event (all VIP tickets were sold out) and though by that evening it was listed as “sold out”, there were numerous spare seats scattered through the crowd. However, the room was still full and given the unseasonable London heat wave (yes 21 degrees is hot in London – a city that builds things to keep heat in and with very little air-con!), it was probably just as well. I think that Matthew was giving Darren Criss a run for his money in who could sweat most during a gig.
The adorable Matt Wills opened the show – “the indie kid with the guitar singing love songs about a girl”. This Brit was a delightful mix of self-deprecating, cocky and charming topped off with an amazing voice. He played for about 20 minutes before a five-piece band, led by Glee’s piano man, Brad Ellis, took to the stage performing a jazzy instrumental piece. Then Matt stepped out and the crowd swooned.
Channeling icons of song and dance such as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, Matt looked awfully dapper in a suit and hat, and very quickly got the show underway clarifying that “he doesn’t work in a high school” to cheers from the audience. Matt certainly knows how to work an audience and took us on a journey of Broadway hits including his latest single, “It Don’t Mean A Thing”, “Luck Be A Lady”, “The Lady Is A Tramp”, “On The Street Where You Live”, “As Long As She Needs Me” and “Send in the Clowns”. He interspersed the songs with banter with the audience, showing he could clearly give as good as he got, but definitely loving the opportunity to interact with his fans. See the video below for some of his banter and to hear him discuss Glee, his early career and Broadway.
At the beginning, it certainly felt like we were in a personal Glee Club lesson as it had the feel of Mr Schue up the front of the class doing a Broadway song and dance number. Also given the song choices it was difficult to escape the Glee connections and Matt acknowledged that throughout the show. But after a few numbers and getting to “know” Matt, you forget about that and are caught up in the magic of the whole thing.
Three highlights were the West Side Story medley, his closing number of Singin’ in the Rain and his only “Glee performance” of the evening (the only song he sang during the set that was a solo of his in the TV series), Michael Buble’s “Sway”. You can see videos of the medley and “Sway” below.
The concert ended up being amazing and we were so glad that we went along. Another unexpected joy was the chance to listen to Brad Ellis perform and to meet him after the concert. He was so nice and seemed quite taken aback at the interest in him.
If you have the opportunity of seeing Matt perform, I definitely recommend going along and seeing him. He is so much more charismatic and engaging in person and knows how to deliver a great relaxed night out.//