San Francisco – Even as a new variant, Omicron was challenging us just before the holidays, that didn’t stop fans from wanting to kick off 2022 with a bang. So, what better way to ring in the New Year than with San Francisco’s finest orchestra and one of the World’s brightest young actors, singers, and songwriters, Darren Criss. Those of you might know Criss from his breakout roles in the television show “Glee,” as well as his star power award-winning performance as serial killer Andrew Cunanan in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The symphony hall and fans were eager to get started as Criss walked out on stage with a vibrant energy that just elevated as the night went on. He greeted the audience with his delightful charisma and charm, looking handsome and dapper as he talked about his joy to perform for his hometown of San Francisco. The conductor for the night was a longtime collaborator of Criss, Bruce Anthony Kiesling. Criss stated that he requested Kiesling personally and would not perform without him. The singer talked up a storm, part comedy, part host, part performer, saying at times that he’s an actor and not really a singer, which showcased his humble persona.
“You will have to excuse me, as I’m not an actual singer. I’m an actor. Joni Mitchell is a real singer, and I can’t hold myself in her regard, so I hope you don’t mind that my rendition of her song sped up a bit. I’m just letting you know in advance for all you Mitchell diehards.” – Darren Criss
The funny thing is, he’s a great singer, with fantastic timing and great range, probably from all his days playing bars and other clubs and songwriting. Many of the star’s songs he performed came from his new album, “A Very Darren Criss-Mas,” which included his take on classics like “Happy Holidays” and “The Christmas Song,” as well as an excellent up-tempo take on Joni Mitchell’s “River.” He talked about how he just loved the old classics and enjoyed re-envisioning them with his own mashup of different styles and flavour, so much so that you almost thought most of the songs were his originals. Criss danced around, played acoustic guitar at times, and gave such a heartwarming performance, with fans singing along at times. Nothing is more inspiring than watching a genuinely natural performer having a great time on stage and delivering his art with so much passion and excitement.
The showman closed out the night on a high note playing an unmiked mashup of one of my favourite songs, “If you’re Going to San Francisco,” and finally “Auld Lang Syne.” Darren Criss owned the night, but he shared it with fans, gave huge appraise to the fantastic orchestra musicians that accompanied him, thanked his friend, conductor Bruce Anthony Kiesling, and wished all a big 2022. Let’s hope his wishes come true for all.
For more info on the SF Symphony, go to: www.sfsymphony.org
For more info on Darren Criss, go to: www.darrencriss.com