Sunday, November 7, 2010


This afternoon / evening, I went to a concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. I wrote a review of it here, but I wanted to add a personal note about it.

Assuming you haven't looked at the review, I went to see Idina Menzel in concert. Let me first say was awesome!!!! Of course I love her work in Rent, Wicked and her recent appearance on GLEE like everyone else. But I also have 3 solo albums of her. On the newest of those albums, I Stand, is a song called "Brave." The whole album, but this song in particular literally got me through the red eye I took home when my grandmother got sick. It became a particularly appropriate song when I received the letter she left for me after she died (she left letters for many of us specifically to be read when she was gone). In it - several times - she told me to be a brave girl.

So tonight I went fully prepared to have to deal with hearing this live and keeping myself composed. And I do listen to this song regularly - I just frequently cry when I hear it. However, as the concert was drawing near to the end I was beginning to guess that she wasn't going to perform "Brave" and I was kind of glad given that I figured fighting off tears would give me a headache & I've had quite a few of those lately.

What I was not prepared for was what she did with part of a song from Wicked. Now, Wicked is absolutely one of my most favorite musicals ever (although I have tragically never been able to see it live). I listen to the soundtrack almost weekly. If you are not familiar with the musical, there's a song near the end called "For Good" and it's a duet sung by Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch) and Glinda (the Good Witch) at the end of the show...well you can probably guess what's going on at the end of the show... Anyway the chorus of the song says "I don't know if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you I have been changed for good."

So, I love this and have for some time, but during my grandmother's illness it became particularly important to me. I listened to it all the time - often when I needed a good cry due to the emotional stress of the situation. It seemed so appropriate to me in part because I knew the experience I was in the midst of was changing me as a person. That when it was all over I would fly back to Los Angeles and be a different person in some way from the one who'd left what turned out to be two months earlier. But I didn't know what sort of change that would be or how to express it and listening to "For Good" seemed to somehow express exactly what my heart was feeling at the time.

It's been a little over 3 months since my grandmother left this world and of course I am still listening to Wicked, but for a while I skipped that song because I knew I just wasn't ready. In fact I only listened to it for the first time since then this past week & honestly that was by accident (or maybe divine intervention) because it was on before I realized it.

So tonight when she was performing, Idina did a really amazing thing actually - she sang one thing with no microphone and a silent (like hear-a-pin-drop silent) orchestra in this big theater and sounded incredible!!! And what she sang was part of "For Good." And it was so beautiful to hear her voice singing that song against the vast silence. And I was in no way prepared for that. Thankfully I didn't "lose it" but I did cry. Just a little. Because truthfully - for my heart - nothing could have been more perfect than to have those words against the kind of silence you can actually hear.

Just wanted to share. Oh! And as I said in my "review" of the concert, if you have a chance to go see her live - GO!!!!!