Broadway powerhouse and Tony-winner Idina Menzel brought her Barefoot at the Symphony tour to the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines on Friday. In a performance that ranged from classics to Broadway to original music, Menzel proved that the acclaim she has received is well deserved. And not only does she posses a wicked set of pipes, but she also knows how to put on a great show.
The evening began with Menzel in silhouette behind a thin curtain doing a strong yet reserved rendition of “Over the Rainbow.” The ending lyric “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true” segued immediately, and perfectly, into Wicked’s wish fulfillment song “The Wizard and I.” Her entrance produced roars from the nearly packed house.
After some repartee with the crowd and hilarious banter with the sign language interpreter, Menzel demonstrated repeatedly that though she may be known for belting big Broadway numbers that is far from her only talent. Menzel is just as comfortable doing a mash up of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” and the Police’s “Roxanne” as she is doing Barbra Streisand and Joni Mitchell. Her cover of Mitchell’s hit “Both Sides Now” mesmerized the crowd and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was met with raucous enthusiasm.
Menzel effortlessly interacted with the audience. Her quick wit and excellent comedic timing made her search for a duet partner for “Take Me or Leave Me” a riot. And though it is sometimes risky to present unknown music, the audience was very receptive to the original music she chose to showcase. Of course, how could it be bad with such a voice behind it?
But Menzel knows what her audience wants, and they showed their appreciation with huge eruptions for “Defying Gravity” and “No Day But Today” which turned into a lullaby sing-a-long towards the end of the evening. After an a capella and mic-less performance of “For Good” and bringing down the house with “Defying Gravity”, an encore was a no brainer. Menzel finished the evening with a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere.”
There is no doubt that the audience left in awe of Menzel’s talent. The concert was such a wonderful opportunity for Menzel and her fans to show their mutual appreciation that she should feel welcome to come back to Des Moines anytime.