Last night, PerezHilton.com had the pleasure of seeing Darren Criss’ solo show in New York City. There was a sold-out crowd at Irving Plaza, a venue that has hosted the likes of Talking Heads and the Ramones, and every single concert-goer had exactly one thing in common: pink-rimmed Ray-Bans.
We kid, we kid. We only saw about 100 amongst the mass of 1,000 some-odd fangirls (and guys) that crammed into the space to get as close to Darren as possible. It was hard to believe looking out at that crowd that a little less than a year ago, very few people even knew who Darren was. If they did, they knew him only as the overly theatrical , musical counterpart to the boy with the lightening scar from Starkid’s production of A Very Potter Musical. But now, Darren Criss is a household name as part of the phenomenon that has sold more records than Elvis and is selling out venues 5 times the size of Irving. Yes, Glee put Darren on the map, but it will be Darren and his obvious love for music that will keep him there.
Going into the show, we were certain we were in for an evening of acoustic covers of his most popular Warbler songs. Instead, we were treated to Darren stepping away from his dark blue blazer and walking right into his element with a set of Disney tunes, original songs and a truck load of humility. He stopped more than once to thank all the fans for their support. When going into a cover of
Carly Simon Carole King's One Fine Day, he reflected about a time not too long ago when he played outside a café for spare change and dreamed of a day he could share his love of music with others. To watch Darren perform is like watching a gritty, sweaty (yum!) live episode of Glee. He embodies a talented underdog who’s finally made it to the top!
HIGHlights of the evening included a powerful performance of his original song Jealousy, accompanied by his childhood friend Theo Katzman, who also was his opening act. Clearly, Darren hasn’t forgotten where he has come from and as he puts it, "There's not a damn thing I don't do for the people who support me." The fans went WILD when several of the Glee Warblers came out to back Darren up on a set of songs, including the one that got him famous, Teenage Dream. Also, Naya Rivera made a surprise appearance during Darren’s encore for an acoustic duet of Valerie. But the deafening blow (literally), was when Darren closed the show with two numbers from the aforementioned Very Potter Musical. Up until this point, we were sure the majority of the audience was made up of Gleeks. Not so! Starkid fans were in force and they wanted to hear the full, "totally awesome" eight minutes of Gotta Get Back To Hogwarts - and he gave it to them! When we asked him after the show if he was as surprised as we were at the response to the Starkid numbers, he simply shook his head and said he knew the fans would be there - they always are!
It was truly an amazing show, one we'd like to share with all of you who weren't able to attend. Check out the gallery (below) for some EXCLUSIVE shots and click the jump to see a few videos, including his performances of Teenage Dream and Valerie!