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Music review: Idina Menzel at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

If Idina Menzel had the beginnings of a cold, you could not discern that from even the very first note of what was a magical gig for the city, and the first time the Broadway star has performed in Glasgow. Although self-confessedly medicated and drinking honey and lemon on stage, nothing deterred the singer from belting out a fine selection of show tunes and a few of her own early and new compositions. Her sky-scraper wedged shoes and attacking ear-rings were the only casualties sacrificed during the evening.

Opening number Defying Gravity gave the Wicked fans what they wanted although later in the set The Wizard and I was given a nice touch of ad-libbing while For Good was sung without amplification, at which point the collective concert hall breath was held in awe. Thanking the ten local musicians who had joined her band, Menzel was also keen on delivering very assured audience participation. A young girl in the second row was invited to clap along, selfies were taken and half a dozen plucky folk even sang along.

Although her humour was occasionally lost with the excuse of too much cold medicine, there was a genuine modesty to her every interaction, highlighted by the fact she remembers her roots and pays tribute to talented women who have come before her (Ethel Merman had her own hommage section, while Barbra Streisand was thanked merely by anecdote).

The final portion of the show, starting with a cover of Radiohead’s Creep, was simply outstanding: songs from Rent, If/Then, Wicked and, of course, Frozen were sung in tribute and with thanks. All in all, a veritable masterclass in light and shade. An encore song for her young son, then Tomorrow from Annie meant there were very few dry eyes in the house. She promises to return; I hope that is the case.

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