The best part of Aaron Tveit’s concert at 54 Below on Friday night was a moment he never expected. In fact, if I were to wager a guess, it’s a moment he dreaded and possibly wishes he could forget.
It came about halfway through the show, when, in the middle of a pretty bangin’ rendition of Jason Robert Brown’s “I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You,”* Aaron totally forgot the words. We’re not even talking a small linguistic bobble that homeboy caught and sang on through, either. We’re talking a full-on, stopped-the-band, turned-his-back-on-the-audience-to-check-the-sheet-music, kind of fuckup.
And it was utterly glorious. Because in that moment, slick, perfect, poised Aaron–Stage Aaron, who doesn’t show fear or say the wrong thing–disappeared completely, and there, before us, was Real Aaron. He panicked. But he also laughed at himself, and f-bombed, and carried on. And in that shining moment we heard Aaron’s real voice… the one he hears when he faces himself in the mirror every morning.
And then, two things happened. First… Aaron became ten thousand times more beautiful and compelling and charming. And second? The show took off and began to soar. Aaron’s love songs seemed more deeply felt. His “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” cover was funnier than it had any right to be.
Because Aaron had now seen the world A.F. (After Fuckup) and he realized it wasn’t such a bad place. In the world A.F. the audience was still with him. In fact, we were more with him than ever before. Because even without intending to, Aaron had just created the most amazing sense of intimacy with us. We saw our star as human, watched him pick himself up with grace and humor, and knew immediately and completely that we’d shared something with him that no one else would ever share with him again.
This was the reason we were all here to begin with. To have a shot at spending even a few moments with the man underneath the Aaron Tveit armor. There, in that glorious fuckup, our wildest dreams came true.
*Let’s also talk about how this is The Mick’s favorite JRB song, and one of her favorite theater songs just in general, and how she would never even have dared to dream about Aaron performing this. In the moment that it became clear what he was about to sing, she basically stopped breathing and suspected she was actually dying. Which, at that point, wouldn’t have been so bad.