If Mr. Schuester has taught the kids of
's New Directions anything, it's how to put on a powerhouse performance.
That was apparent Wednesday night as the made-for-TV show choir brought its "Glee Live!" tour to the Wells Fargo Center.
They took to the stage in color-coordinated outfits, opening with their trump card, "Don't Stop Believin'."
For the next 80 minutes, they sang hit after hit from the pop catalog that has made them, in a few short years, the highest-charting act in music history. (Roll over, Elvis, and tell the Beatles the news.)
Well, actually the vocals were mostly prerecorded, no surprise given the aerobic nature of their show. And those songs that weren't lip-synched, notably Chris Colfer's strident cover of the Fab Four's "I Want to Hold Your Hand," should have been.
There were vocal showcases, like Amber Riley (Mercedes on the series), raising the rafters in Aretha's "Ain't No Way." And there were pure dance numbers, like Heather Morris (Brittany) prowling and pumping her way through "I'm a Slave 4 U."
But most of the program was made up of big song-and-dance production numbers, like a work-it-supermodel version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." And a frisky cover of Michael Jackson's "PYT," fronted by Kevin McHale, who spent the night in his character Artie's wheelchair.
Oddly enough, there were none of the show's signature mashups - with the exception of Colfer (Kurt) and Lea Michele (Rachel) dueting on a Broadway-style mix of "Get Happy" and "Happy Days Are Here Again."
Michele and Naya Rivera (Santana) had the most stage presence. Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) and Mark Salling (Puck) were surprisingly spotlight-deprived.
Ten songs in, it was time for Darren Criss (Blaine) and the Warblers, in their customary blue blazers with red piping, to strut their stuff. And if they didn't steal the show, with their sophisticated and polished harmonies, they certainly took it for a long ride.
There were cheesy moments, like a strummed rendering of Rebecca Black's "Friday." Rivera even threatened to sing her classic composition, "Trouty Mouth," but Chord Overstreet (Sam) talked her out of it.
The concert was big on energy and spectacle. Fireworks, smoke, and pyrotechnics. And numerous costume changes - although everything seemed to come from the Old Navy warehouse.
On a hot night in Philly, the enthusiastic young female audience, some dressed in cheerleader outfits as tribute to Sue Sylvester's Cheerios, lapped it all up like a jumbo cherry Slurpee.