As promised, here’s a post about Darren Criss’s concert at Roseland Ballroom on 6/27.

This was his fourth to last stop on his (sold out!) Listen Up tour. This was his first tour and he was debuting some new songs that could potentially be on his upcoming studio album. I had successfully managed not to listen to any of the songs before the night of the concert (though I did know the titles of time, as well as some select lyrics from gif sets on Tumblr…). I had also been keeping an eye on what he had been wearing for the tour, as he had a similar, yet different outfit on each stop of the tour. It seemed he wore some sort of jacket, a plain top and whatever pants/shoes at each concert. (Not gonna lie – he looked gooood in everything. I was very pleased with the maroon bomber jacket, white t-shirt and black/gark gray pants he had on for the NYC show. Because, damn.)

I was fortunate to see Darren perform in 2011 at Market Days in Chicago. So, I knew going into the Roseland show that it was going to be high-energy and a solid block of performances. My already high expectations were met and then some. For those of you who have yet to figure out that Darren Criss is a legitimate rock/pop star, go on youtube and watch some stuff. (I’ll likely link out to stuff below… you’re welcome in advance.)

Since this was the only concert on the tour that I was going to, I sprung for a regular VIP ticket. This entailed a (super brief) meet and greet with Darren, priority entrance to the venue, a free lanyard and a free poster.

So, while thousands of other people spent all day waiting in line, I spent probably an hour in line total before we were allowed in to “meet” Darren.

The meet and greet for Deluxe VIPs was about ten minutes… I think us regular VIP people had maybe 20 seconds with him. To be honest, I was actually okay with this. I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” him twice before and it’s to the point where I’ve seen him enough times in person (I’ve seen him in person 9 or 10 times prior to this concert and have actually spoken with him twice for a total of about 5 minutes) that I really don’t want him to know who I am. I’m a fan, but I’m not a stan. He’s one of my favorite performers and is basically the only reason why I still watch Glee, but I never want to be *that person* who is the annoying fangirl. Plus, and I kid you not, he is so handsome in person that looking him in the eye is the equivalent of looking into the sun and as much as you want to be eloquent, he’s just too damn nice and handsome for me to try to make any sort of head-scratching conversation with him. (For example, the first time I met him I told him that I listened to his music while I wrote my thesis and then we spent the rest of our time together with him asking *me* questions about my thesis and what I had majored in in school. He’s polite and genuinely friendly. It’s almost off-putting.)

So, this time around, an assistant with the company behind the meet and greet asked us our name, then told it to Darren. Then we got a couple of seconds to talk and then someone took our picture. And then it was the next person’s turn.

Darren would do any pose with you that you wanted. I thought about doing a silly pose, but by time it was my turn, things got a little jumbled so we just did a “normal” pose. (See below)

Myself and Darren Criss

Myself and Darren Criss

When it was my turn, the woman didn’t ask me my name until I was already walking up to Darren. It got awkward because right as he was about to hug me, she was like, “What’s you’re name?” And I tried to answer her, but still walk toward his open arms, so I was like, “Katie” and nobody heard me because she asked me again as I was responding. So, Darren and I were hugging and he asked me, “What’s your name?” So, I told him, “Katie,” but there was a lot of noise from the line. So, after our hug, we kept an arm around each other and he leaned in and asked my name again. I repeated my name and he said, “Hi Katie, I’m Darren.” And I wanted to say “No shit, Sherlock,” but I didn’t. We then got our picture taken and he thanked me for coming and I told him to have a good show. And then he was like “Aw, thank you” and then that was it. I was given my purse back from the person who was holding it (I thanked him too) and then got my poster.

Then my friends and I stood in front of the stand for an hour and half or so until the concert started. I was in the third row, center, but by the end of the show, I was in the fourth row and hand some pushy girl’s hair in my mouth because she had squirmed her way in front of me. *shrug*

The concert started off great because I was already a fan of both opening acts – Charlene Kaye and Theo Katzman. (I’ve seen both of these performers two or three times prior to the show and I have a CD from each of them.) It was neat that during Charlene’s set, she brought Darren out and they sang two songs together. I was super excited to get to hear/see them sing “Dress & Tie” live in person because that is one of my favorite songs of all time 🙂

Theo’s set was great too. I keep telling my friends that he reminds me of Buddy Holly (because of the glasses and he’s just such a little rock star in the body of someone who looks like he works in an office). Theo also served as drummer for Darren’s set. The kid is crazy talented.

So then it was time for Darren’s set. He comes out singing “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King and then segues into a rocking version of “I Still Think.” “I Still Think” is one of my favorite songs Darren has written and his rocked out version is infinitely more awesome than his already awesome acoustic version. (Link to Circle of Life/I Still Think)

I won’t hash out the whole set list for you, but some highlights included his duet with his brother, Chuck (they sang Bob Dylan’s “New Morning“) and rocked out version of “To Have a Home” from A Very Potter Sequel.

However, my most favorite song of the night was when he did “Teenage Dream” during his encore. This was the only Glee song he sang the whole night (since it’s the song that basically launched him into the public eye… it certainly was the song that made me ask “Who is this guy?!” while I was watching his first episode of Glee). I had heard rumor that his version of Teenage Dream on tour was really great… what I wasn’t expecting was it to be the most amazing power ballad that will forever trump any version of Teenage Dream you will ever hear. Like, I already can’t listen to the Katy Perry version anymore… but now I have completely given up both Glee versions in favor of THIS epic masterpiece. I was blown away – it was just so great.

Darren put on a great show. If you missed him on tour, there are hundreds of youtube videos and you can probably see every song from every stop from the comfort of your own home. He’s a gifted performer with so much talent it’ll make you sick (he only played keyboard, various guitars and the drums on the tour, but can play other instruments ). His vocals have gotten stronger over the past few years and though his “new” music was kinda cookie-cutter in how it’s all very radio ready, he deserves all the praise he gets. He’s a great musician and also happens to be a great actor (I’ve seen him on tv and on Broadway… and on July 19th, his movie with Kristen Wiig – Girl Most Likely – hits an independent theater nearish to you). It’s so fun to be a fan while his career is blowing up like it has been. (Did you see last night he performed on PBS as part of the A Capitol Fourth special? He sang “Shout” – it was manic and random.)

So, yeah… I had a lot of fun at the concert. It was nice to see him perform in person again and I had a good time hanging out with my friends. We had a great view of the stage, the music was awesome and it was all just really, really entertaining.

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