I want to marry Idina Menzel. Seriously, not only is her voice the most magical thing ever but she looked gorgeous on stage in her white dress and bare feet. Plus she dissed Glee! She DISSED GLEE, you guys! It was the funniest thing ever! She even mouthed the words “what the —-“ in relation to it. And she called Barbara Streisand a bitch and rapped about her son Walker’s poop. She made me cry with laughter. You know when you hear that perfect piece of music and it gives you chills – when she sang ‘No Day But Today’ from Rent …….. And until you’ve heard her sing ‘For Good’ a capella without a microphone in the Royal Albert Hall, you haven’t heard it the way it is meant to be done. More on this later ….
And Marvin Hamlisch was conducting and he’s something of a legend. It said in the programme that he has an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony and I turned to my friend and I was like “EGOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. Unfortunately she doesn’t watch 30 Rock but those of you who do will get the significance. He’s one of only two people in the world who have been Egotted!
Kerry Ellis was in the audience <3. Woot! (And like the entire London West End theatrical world!)
So the concert started with Marvin Hamlisch and the Royal Philharmonic playing an instrumental arrangement from ‘A Chorus Line’ (which he wrote) and ‘My Fair Lady’ (he said that Idina is a fair lady so it’s only right that they play it!). Marvin Hamlisch is absolutely hilarious. He said that someone had asked him to play Happy Birthday for their friend and he sat down at the piano and did it in different styles like Bach, Beethoven complete with the accents. Shortest first act ever!
And then it was time for Idina! Oh she’s so ridiculously perfect.
When she first got on stage she turned round to the people behind her (if you’ve been to the Royal Albert Hall you’ll know that there are these crappy seats behind the stage on both sides) and was like “if I knew you guys were going to be up there I would have worn a sexier dress around my ass” and then because her dress was low-cut she looked up at the people in the high seats in front and was like “I bet you’ve got a good view” and then Marvin was like “I’ve got a pretty good view here too!” Those two were adorable – they had this whole comedy routine going on.
In between almost every song Idina told a funny story from her life, like when she came to England to do Wicked and she got held by immigration for 5 hours (you should hear her do an English accent! It had me in stitches!) and tales from back when she was a wedding singer and was told to carry on singing even after a man had had a heart attack on the dance floor.
She sang Barbara Streisand songs of course and she told us the time she sang for her and President Bush (when she was telling the story she just called him Bush and then had to retract and be like President Bush and everyone laughed) and how she was nervous and honoured to sing a Barbara Streisand song TO Barbara Streisand and all about high-fiving Beyonce and Beyonce coming up of a hole (in the stage but it’s just the way she kept on mentioning Beyonce and hole) and then how she sat at the same table as Streisand at the after party and how Streisand didn’t even speak to her so she and Taye sat there doing Tequila shots and then at the end Streisand turned to her and was like “did you sing for me tonight? I didn’t have my glasses on.” And then at the end of the story Idina was like “… bitch”. Absolutely classic!
Then she spoke about Rent and when she mentioned it everyone cheered and she was like “You know Rent? I was told that you guys hated it over here?!” and she told this really moving story about Jonathan Larson and how he had an aortic aneurysm the night of the dress rehearsal so the whole cast really felt like they had to make the show a success in his honour, and how she met her husband through it and how Taye used to leave her these cute little post-its on her mirror during the show <3 <3 <3 <3. Then she sang “No Day But Today” and it was magical because she got the audience to sing “no day like today“ softly on repeat with her and it was <3 <3 <3. PURE MAGIC!
Oh Glee!!! First of all she said how she was offended that they cast her as a mother to someone who is, in real life, 25 years old! And then she said when she read the first script and saw that they were going to sing ‘Pokerface’ as the big mother/daughter reunion song, she was appalled at the fact it is THE most inappropriate song ever. And then she proceeded to sing it and she kept stopping in the middle of the song to continue her Glee story and every time she came to an inappropriate line in the song e.g.“bluffin’ with my muffin’ / love-glue gunning” she emphasised its inappropriateness for a mother/daughter scene and one time she mouthed “what-the-****” and everyone cheered.
She talked about her son Walker and how she and Taye are always singing to him and making up songs. That was when she rapped about poop and sang some other songs that they composed for him like ‘Good Morning Walker’ – seriously, how cute!
She didn’t sing any of her songs from her solo albums which I was sad about when I looked at the set-list before the show but during it I forgot about this and just loved every version of every song she did sing. I would kill for a studio recording of her version of ‘Roxanne’ which she mashed-up with ‘Love For Sale’ (another Idina story there …) and her version of ‘Tomorrow’.
She opened with ‘Life Of The Party’, obviously sang ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ and ‘Funny Girl’, and she sang ‘I’m Not That Girl’ quite early on and you could totally tell that most of the audience had gone there for the opportunity to hear her sing Wicked songs. And she sang a song from Chess!
Towards the end she said she was going to sing a song without the microphone and as soon as she started, you could tell that everyone knew it was ‘For Good’ from the opening note and it was just the most beautiful thing ever. I can’t even describe it. Hearing it a-capella like that gave me CHILLS. And as soon as she finished everyone was on their feet giving her a standing ovation.
Then she sang ‘Defying Gravity’ and, well, <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3. More amazing than any recording, whether it be the Wicked soundtrack or her solo album version. Cue another standing ovation, of course.
For her encore she sang ‘The Way We Were’ with Marvin on the piano (who actually wrote the song for Barbara Streisand. He really is musical royalty) and then she sang ‘Tomorrow’. I LOVED her version, even though that’s usually a song that is just too familiar.
Such an awesome awesome night. Possibly the best concert I’ve been to in terms of it really just being about her and the orchestra without all the pyrotechnics that usually come with other shows, plus it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. She thanked everyone for spending the money in these difficult times and she said that RAH is one of the most beautiful places she had ever performed at. She has such a wonderful personality and an absolutely beautiful voice and is just side-splittingly funny. Seriously, I would pay that money all again just to hear her tell stories about her life even if she didn’t sing a single song! THAT is how awesome she is!