|Kris Allen performs with the rest of the American Idol Top Ten
at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock on July 25, 2009
|We took this picture of American Idol Winner Kris Allen
signing autographs after the AI Tour at Alltel Arena in
North Little Rock on July 25, 2009
While we watched Kris progress each week through the competition on American Idol, we also saw many commercials for Glee. So we watched the pilot episode the night before Kris was named the winner of the eighth season of AI and loved Glee! The musical productions numbers were amazing and I also liked the writing style that combined serious issues along with comedy scenes.
|Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina and Finn singing “Don’t Stop Believin”
during the Glee Pilot episode while Artie is nearby in his wheelchair.
|Kurt teaching the McKinley football players the dance
to “Single Ladies”
But then we had to wait months to watch the next episode! It came on again during the fall of 2009. By this time I started working later on Tuesday nights, so I recorded each episode and tried to watch it later during the week. I missed a few of the earlier episodes but I remember watching the episode titled “Preggers” that aired on September 23, 2009 because it opened up with Kurt, Brittany, and Tina dancing to the hit song “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé. In this episode Kurt also makes the football team and tells his father he is gay, Head Cheerleader Quinn finds out she is pregnant, and Rachel quit New Directions to star in a school musical. From that day on, I watched each new episode of Glee when it aired and I also recorded every episode so I could watch my favorite scenes over and over again!
The other day, a co-worker referred to Glee as “just a TV show.” Technically, I guess it is just a TV show, but to a lot of people, including me, it is a lot more. My daughters and I laughed at the funny scenes such as the performance of “Push It” and cried when Kurt’s father suffered a heart attack. I can still remember when actor/singer Darren Criss first appeared as Dalton Academy Warbler Blaine Anderson in the “Never Been Kissed” episode on November 9, 2010. The girls and I watched his performance of “Teenage Dream” on the DVR every night for months!
In February 2011 I found out that the Glee cast was going on a larger concert tour for the summer with shows in 18 US cities and twelve days in England and Ireland. In May Lauren was graduating from Central High School, Sara was graduating from Horace Mann Middle School, and I would celebrate 10 years of being cancer free. I remember looking at all the tour dates and cities and even though we had never been to Chicago, it was probably the closest city to Arkansas. So as a celebration gift for all three of these events, I purchased VIP tickets online for the Saturday, June 4 performance of Glee Live in Chicago!
|This is a view of the Allstate Arena before the afternoon
performance of Glee!Live on June 4, 2011
|Lisa and Leslie|
|Sara loved seeing “The Bean”!|
At the time there were several different groups of teenagers dressed in prom attire having their pictures taken in front of “The Bean”. Our favorite two groups were what we called the “Hooker Prom” because most of the guys were smoking cigarettes and some of the girls looked to be in their 30’s and were dressed kind of slutty and the “Asian and Other Asian Prom” named after what Coach Sylvester calls the characters Tina and Mike Chang.
|The Hooker Prom|
|The Asian and Other Asian Prom|
|One fun thing we all did Friday night in downtown Chicago was
have our picture taken by an outside camera at the Chicago Tribune Building.
The picture was then emailed to me in the format of a
We ate authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza that night, found out that Coke products are not sold in Chicago, and then we rode the subway back to the airport and caught a shuffle to the hotel. Lauren’s stomach was hurting and she was not feeling well at all, so we didn’t try to go by the Allstate Arena after that evening’s concert. I found out later that the Friday, June 3 performance in Chicago was one of the few performances that some members of the cast went outside the arena to sign autographs for fans!
We entered the Target store around noon and immediately saw`several different people walking around the store wearing Glee Tour crew badges. Since there was an upcoming show at 3:00, I think they were crew members buying items before the afternoon concert. After a few minutes in Target, we decided to eat lunch at a Subway in the same strip mall as the Target store. As we were walking toward the Subway, Lauren saw a Panda Express restaurant in the parking lot. I laughed because in a recent Glee episode Sue made a joke about Panda Express. We decided to go to Subway instead because it’s one of Sara’s favorite places to eat. Right before we walked in the restaurant, I turned to the girls and said “Maybe Finn will be inside!” I opened the door and held it open so they could walk in before me.
As soon as I entered the Subway I knew something was different. It was like no one in the restaurant was breathing. It was just silent. Years earlier, I learned to be “aware of my surroundings” after my aunt was robbed in a grocery store parking lot in Dallas. So at first I thought maybe the restaurant was being robbed, but then I saw two policemen sitting near the front door, just smiling at us as we walked in. Sara told me later that she thought she had her dress on backwards because everyone was looking toward the front of the store.
I just stood near the front, looking around. That’s when I saw a man dressed all in black, wearing an earphone and his eyes were darting back and forth. He was not holding any food and I realized that he was Personal Security Detail. I grabbed a bag of Cheetos from the rack of chips so I didn’t look too obvious, and I wondered who he was protecting. Because we were in a suburb of Chicago, I immediately thought of Oprah or President Obama. Then I looked behind the man dressed in black and saw a young woman wearing a black skirt with leggings and black Converse tennis shoes. Oh. My. Gosh. I recognized those black shoes. They belonged to actress Ashley Fink who plays the character Lauren on Glee. Ashley is also close friends with Chris Colfer. I quickly looked past the young woman and there he was, holding a Subway bag and getting a soft drink. Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer.
|Chris Colfer and Ashley Fink|
Because I didn’t want to get shot or arrested, I stayed back and pretended to look for something in my tote bag, which still held the Billboard Magazine with Darren Criss on the cover. I looked around but I didn’t see any other Glee cast members in the Subway.
Just one week earlier I watched Chris Colfer as a guest on Piers Morgan Tonight. Earlier in the spring Chris had been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In the World for 2011. During this interview Chris told Piers that one time he went to a movie by himself and had to call the police because other people in the theater swarmed him and wouldn’t leave him alone. So I respected his right to privacy and stayed back, along with the other Glee fans in the Subway. As he was leaving with Ashley and the security guard, I took 3 quick pictures with my old pink Polaroid digital camera.
|In this picture, the Security Guard is walking out the door, Chris is in the middle and Ashley is behind Chris.|
|When the doors to the white van opened,
other girls in Subway said they saw
Cory Monteith (Finn) and
Lea Michele (Rachel) inside the van.
As we all ate snacks and made ice cream sundaes, Lynn and I found out that we had more in common. We both brought our daughters to the Glee concert as a high school graduation gift for our oldest ones. I found out that Lynn and her girls have been big fans of Darren Criss since he was a member of the musical theater company called StarKids that is located in Chicago. Lynn took a picture of me with my girls in front of a Glee background and then I took a picture of her with her girls!
|Sara, Leslie, & Lauren Doan|
|As part of the Glee “VIP Package” we each received this special lanyard
and badge that we had to wear all the time while at the concert.
|While at the Glee VIP Pre-Party, we each received a Glee Backpack,
Glee Photo Album, Glee Water Cups and a Dalton Warbler Tie!
Most of the following pictures were taken by Lynn, Emma, and Hannah. Their seats were on the 3rd row and they were able to take some great photos. Even though Sara didn’t have her Nikon camera, she did take some good pictures and I’ve used some of those too! I tried to document each song in the concert by including a picture that was taken during that song.
|After the opening act LXD, the main show opened with a pre-recorded video
from Mr. Schuester and cheer leading coach Sue Sylvester
introducing the New Directions
And so it begins…
The lights went down and the music for “Don’t Stop Believin” starts playing in the background and then Cory and Lea walk out on stage singing!
|It was just amazing to see them singing this song in person – I thought I was going to cry!|
|Then three of the original five “New Directions” (Kevin, Chris & Amber)
joined Cory and Lea on stage
|The rest of the Glee cast came out on stage too!|
|“Don’t Stop Believin” was the best song to open the show
because it’s Glee’s signature song. If I remember
correctly, I think each character’s name was announced,
but I can’t remember!
|Jenna and Amber sang “Dog Days Are Over” along with the full cast.
After this picture was taken, Cory looked right at us and smiled really big!
|For the next song, “Sing” they removed their white vests and sang
in front of the SING backdrop
|This is the song the New Directions sang in the episode with Sue
dressed as lumberjacks!
|Wonder who is next???|
|The “Britney/Brittany” episode was one of our favorites!|
|Heather sings the Britney Spears song “I’m A Slave 4 U”!|
After Heather performed and exited the large stage, lights appeared toward the back of the arena where a smaller stage was set up. Sara had already researched the concert on the Internet and told me that some of the cast members would perform a few songs at this smaller stage, “just like Taylor Swift did in her concert,” she said.
|Mark Salling (Puck) opened up on the smaller stage by
playing his guitar and singing “Fat Bottomed Girls”
and then walked through the crowd to the large stage!
|Next on the smaller stage was Chris Colfer (Kurt) singing
“I Want To Hold Your Hand”by The Beatles.
|Kurt sang this song to his father Burt while Burt was in a coma
in the hospital in the episode “Grilled Cheesus”.
The next song was performed on the large stage, so we could see it a lot better! It was “P.Y.T.” that Kevin (Artie) sang in the “Silly Love Songs” episode, which is one of our all time favorite Glee episodes! And Harry (Mike Chang) danced while Kevin was singing. I was afraid that Harry was going to roll Kevin right off the stage in the wheelchair!
|Harry did an amazing job during “P.Y.T.”!
I’m sorry the crazy drunk guy on the 2nd row
has his arm in the way of the picture!
|Kevin is great singing all the Michael Jackson songs!
Look, he is even wearing a red leather jacket!
And I love the white socks.
|We actually ordered our own Glee “Born This Way”
T-Shirts online! Leslie ordered “Brown Eyes” (same as Tina’s)
Lauren ordered “I’m With Stupid” (same as Brittany’s)
and Sara ordered “Four Eyes” (same as Artie’s)
|Ashley Fink is wearing the same skirt, black leggings,
and shoes she wore when we saw her in
Subway that afternoon!
|Lea was wonderful singing “Firework” by Katy Perry!
This is one of Lauren’s favorite songs from the “Silly Love Songs” episode.
|I cried when Lea was singing this song, and she
curled up her fists and stomped her foot just like the character Rachel!
|I think that’s a tattoo on her right wrist!|
|The fireworks on stage were awesome!|
“Silly Love Songs”
“Raise Your Glass”
|The Warblers started on the small stage singing “Teenage Dream”|
Using my iPod, I took a short video of Darren Criss and the Warblers as they ran up the stairs of the main large stage singing “Silly Love Songs” and then sang “Raise Your Glass”. With the exception of the crazy drunk guy on the 2nd row, I think it’s a great video! There is also a teenage girl that keeps screaming and waving her arms. Oh, that is just Sara! One of the guys at the Apple Store in LR helped me save my iPod videos to my husband’s lap top PC so I could upload it into this blog.
|They performed the mash-up of these two songs
on the smaller stage toward the back of the arena
|This performance is one of my mother’s favorites
from the TV show
Chord Overstreet and Dianna Agron
|After performing this song, the cast threw multi colored confetti at the audience in Slushie cups!|
Mark Salling and Harry Shum, Jr.
|We were lucky enough to see the song “Friday” performed
by the Glee cast because it was removed from the set list
after June 12 due to some rumored issues with Rebecca Black.
|Darren’s StarKids friends all live in Chicago
and they were sitting one row behind us.
This is one of the times that he kept waving
and pointing at them!
|One of our favorite performance is when Artie gets out
of his wheelchair and dances to the 80’s hit song
“The Safety Dance”!
and Amber Riley soloists
|After the concert, we waited by the back stage door, but the cast
did not come out to sign autographs. We took this picture
of all four girls!
|Sara, Hannah, Emma, and Katie at Six Flags on the
hottest day of the year in St. Louis!
|Lynn and I after the Darren Criss concert|
|We had seats on the 2nd row and Sara
took lots of good pictures!
|Leslie, Darren, and Sara
July 21, 2011