Working my way through the third season of Glee got me in a musical sorta mood… so when I saw multiple DVD copies of High School Musical: The Concert (2007) going for 50p in a local s-hand shop, I snapped one up and gave it a spin. Personally, I was never particularly taken with the songs from the original movie, I just enjoyed the jokes and the performances and the upbeat attitude… and I straight-up adored Ashely Tisdale, whose introduction seemed to get the biggest cheer from the audience here (unless my biased ears deceive me?). Considering the size of the crowds, and the coverage of the tour (more on which later), it seems kinda cruel that budding pop-star Tisdale and her screen-brother Lucas “Ryan” Grabeel were required to recreate their super-cheesy choreography so faithfully on-stage… but I’m sure that’s what the fans expected, and I still got a laugh out of the schtick, so fair play to them. Thankfully, Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, and Corbin Bleu were also given the opportunity to showcase some of their solo material, and get a little cross-promotion going, between the more familiar material. To be honest, I fast-forwarded through the bits where Tisdale wasn’t on-stage/screen, but considering how little I paid for it, I definitely got my money’s worth!
I also found the short behind-the-scenes featurette to be quite an eye-opener, as Grabeel cheerfully talked us through the punishing schedule that the cast were committed to… performing a full two-hour show every evening, then spending another hour-or-so meeting fans afterwards, before driving through the night, and crawling into a hotel around midnight, only to get dragged out of bed again early the next morning for local promo interviews! Just a soul-crushing grind of late nights, early mornings, cramped busses, and “craft service” tables. Based on my limited experience as a movie extra, I suspect I would have gone stir-crazy after the first couple weeks… but Wikipedia reveals that the North American leg of the tour ran for two straight months, including most of the Christmas/Hannukah holiday, and comprised over 40 separate shows across the country! Considering how many times they must have rehearsed/performed those routines for the movie, then again for the DVD’s “learn the moves” featurette, and again for this concert tour… whatever you may think of the actual music, you have to admire that level of dedication and fortitude. Like I say, I would have been climbing the walls (or reaching for a bottle) after the first fortnight of adrenaline-crashes and road/cabin-fever, so the fact that they all seem to have survived the experience with their sanity and smiles intact, is just awe-inspiring to me.