If you had asked me before tonight what it was like to sit in the audience whilst Idina Menzel performed on stage I could have told you. I have been fortunate enough to sit through 3 ½ performances of Idina in Wicked and one performance of Chess. The half being the performance where she unfortunately took ill before she could sing Defying Gravity. One of the other three being her last ever performance as Elphaba. I already knew before tonight exactly how much talent resided in that person. However, if you had asked me what it was like to sit in the audience whilst Idina Menzel performed solo with a 60 piece orchestra conducted by the one and only Marvin Hamlisch, well that, that I could only tell you after tonight. Yes, if you asked me that I would answer you by saying it is like listening to perfection.
There is no one whose voice I rate higher than Idina Menzel’s. The first time you hear her live your heart literally beats quieter so as not to distract you from the sound of her voice. Every part of you pays attention to the notes she is so effortlessly singing and you are lost in the story of the lyrics. I have seen people cry when she has sung ‘I’m Not that Girl’ and there is nothing more empowering than hearing her sing ‘Defying Gravity’. These songs have become her signature, but there is nothing – even Lady Gaga’s ‘Pokerface’, that she cannot sing. She manages to bring a smile to your face even when she is singing about her “love glue gunning.” Don’t get me started about when she starts to do the rap she and her husband do for their two-year old son whilst he’s popping. It is adorable.
Idina connects with her audience and you can tell that she feels truly blesses to be able to do something she loves so much for a living. Her anecdotes before and after, and sometimes during each song endear her to her audience and even in a venue as grand as the Royal Albert Hall she can make her concert feel intimate. You are encouraged to laugh with her as you share her stories of her run ins with British immigration and you try not to laugh too hard at her Dick Van Dyke-esque English accent.
She is a performer of immense talent. When you know that she is going to be on stage in a place you can be you would be foolish not to take that opportunity. My one regret is that she did not sing the version of ‘I’ll Cover You’ that I have only heard on YouTube videos. The hope that I will get to hear that one day, and the knowledge that even if I don’t I will never be disappointed, is sure to ensure that I will be in an audience again when Idina Menzel is on the stage.