First concert at Red Rocks. Idina Menzel. What an unbelievable night. Probably the best concert I have ever been to in my life. And I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that.
From the instant Marvin Hamlisch took the stage, I knew it was going to be memorable night. From the first note, I knew that this show wasn't going to be like any other that I've seen in my life. Before Idina took the stage, Marvin conducted a few songs, then told the crowd about how he writes songs. He starts with a title, because, as he said, if you have a good title, the music will write itself. He said he would prove it, so asked for someone from the crowd to shout out a title on the spot.
"Live at Red Rocks!!"
[Sarcastic Marvin Hamlisch]: "Wow... how long have you been working on that one?"
And so begins Marvin Hamlisch and Idina Menzel comedy hour.
(Insert 3 minute song about his wife wanting to go on vacation, maybe Paris? No... New York? No... There's only one place I want to be... Live at Red Rocks!)
After a break, Idina Menzel took the stage. In case you don't know her, shame on you. Maureen from RENT. She played Lea Michele's mom in Glee. Oh yea... she was also in Wicked.
[Audience goes nuts when she mentions Wicked] "Oh, you saw that? I was the green one!"
Note: After I first wrote this, I found some youtube videos, so they are the following links- so if you have time, they're great!
The whole concert was amazing. As the sun sets at Red Rocks, the place becomes instantly magical. Combine that with the sounds of the orchestra, and it leaves you breathless (and not just from the altitude). Idina's powerful voice was the icing on the cake, and that left the crowd in awe.
She sang songs from RENT, from Wicked (sometimes forgetting the words- oops!), from Glee, Broadway standards, as well as songs that meant so much to her. She even threw in a John Denver medley, which included a "Rocky Mountain High" special for the Colorado crowd.
She shared stories from her childhood, how her mom would always request two songs: "The Way We Were" (written by Marvin Hamlisch, so that made it even cooler), and "Tomorrow" from Annie. She told funny stories about how she played at a Barbara Streisand tribute, and Beyonce got to steal her song by performing "The Way We Were" ("Bitch!") and how Barbara didn't know she was the one who sang when they met later. She made fun of the lyrics from Poker Face as she sang it (her hit performance from Glee), also asking how that song could ever portray a mother/daughter reunion moment, and apologizing for making people who went to Juilliard play such garbage.
She told moving stories about her life during RENT, and how meeting Jonathan Larson and the magical experience he created, and how the experience changed her life (she even got a husband out of it). She shared how ever since she started playing with orchestras, her manager had always told her, and it's been her dream to play in "this amazing place in Colorado that's like nowhere else in the world." She ended the night, almost in tears, dedicating the show to her family (many of which live in Boulder, so they were front row) and Taye Diggs, who was there on dad duty, but did not make an appearance.
The most special part, aside from Idina twirling around on stage in her bright yellow dress and barefoot, wishing she had orange juice (which, don't worry... she got), was hearing her tell the audience, and her family, how much this night meant to her. And there, in the still of the night, with the beautiful rocks surrounding us, you could genuinely tell just how true that statement was. There was nothing but magic, power, and love in the air.
As she dedicated the last song to her mom, and ended with a soulful version of "Tomorrow," everyone was left with this amazing feeling, after spending the entire night laughing, being inspired, and being moved beyond words.
(Sorry for the video quality, but I was definitely not watching where I was filming...)