There are certain things that I’ve done in my life that I’m not particularly proud of. I’m not sure if what I did this past Wednesday was one of them – or it was one of my most spectacular moments of late in my largely uneventful life.
I saw Quinn at Irving Plaza. Sadly, there was no sign of Puck.
You see, a friend, through her office, managed to secure some V.I.P passes to a Darren Criss, a.k.a Blaine from Glee, show at Irving Plaza. It was an invitation I couldn’t refuse. I’ve sat in front of the TV too many Tuesday nights to gasp and gawk at every kiss or infidelity on the show. I even have a Glee station on Pandora for when I walk to work in the mornings. Like buying copies of Cosmo at the grocery store checkout or eating all the cookie dough chunks out of a pint of ice cream, watching Glee is a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m probably too old and too tone deaf to watch a show about high school kids singing about their feelings, but I just can’t stop myself.
When we got to the venue, my friends and I were still in our work clothes and there was no line-up; the rabid teenage fans had been waiting on the sidewalk hours earlier, determined to secure a spot as close to the stage as possible. We sauntered in, acting as though we weren’t really that excited to see someone from Glee, then picked up VIP passes at the will-call window and grabbed a drink at the bar. The VIP balcony was filled with girls about our age, or middle-aged men glued to their Blackberrys, who were presumably in the music industry and forced to attend.
Down below, I saw a sea of teenage girls wearing Darren Criss t-shirts and pink wayfarers, packed elbow to elbow on the floor. Each time they thought that Darren Criss was about to step on stage, they erupted into a wave of high-pitched squeals that made my ear drums ache.
Eight or nine years ago I was one of those rabid fangirls, arriving early to secure my place in line at Maroon 5 concerts, knowing every word of every song, thinking that, despite the bright lights, maybe they’d see me in the crowd. Once, my two equally Maroon 5-obsessed friends and I planned a “college visit” in Pittsburgh just so we could skip school for the day and see the band perform there. My 15-year-old self always felt pangs of jealously when I saw people with V.I.P. passes talking (imagine, the nerve!) during the set. They weren’t real fans. They didn’t deserve to be there. And now, it a weird twist of fate, I was that person with the passes and a motor-mouth.
Darren Criss performing at Irving Plaza.
The night went on, and Darren Criss finally stepped onto the stage, greeted by more screeching. I was daydreaming about how lovely it would be to have a pair of earplugs as Blaine/Darren Criss performed when one of my friends turned away from the stage and made a face. I craned my neck to look. There, only two or three feet away from us, was Quinn/Dianna Agron. I gasped, quickly covering my mouth with my hands. She was completely unassuming, standing alone quietly near the edge of the VIP area. My friend laughed, but with my nerdiness already so blatantly obvious, I thought I’d go all out and post my celebrity sighting on Facebook. “Standing next to Dianna Agron,” I typed into my phone, “This is why I love NYC.”
Things only got Gleekier from there. An odd assortment of, to borrow a line from Zoolander, really, really ridiculously good-looking men stepped onstage and broke into Teenage Dream. It slowly dawned on us that it was a select few Warblers. I began to squeal like the girls below me as I felt the urge to regress into my teenage, fanatical self. I wanted to jump up and down and dance, but I was still in a work dress, holding a vodka soda. I’m fairly certain one of the laws of the universe dictates that as soon as you have an office job, you’re no longer allowed to dance to pop music (in public).
A few songs later, Naya Rivera (you know her as Santana) stepped onstage to perform Valerie with Darren Criss. What was supposed to be a ridiculous concert was becoming a live performance of Glee tailor-made with my favorite songs. I downed the rest of my drink, and danced.
Later, when I checked my phone, there was a notification from Facebook. A co-worker, who is old enough to be my mom, had commented, “Is Dianna as pretty in real life as she is on the show?”
I guess you’re never too old to be a fan of something – or indulge in a TV shows made for teenagers.
And if you’re wondering what you missed, here’s a recap: