REVIEW: George Michael @ The Arena
By Grace Cook on October 9, 2012 in Music
When I was offered press tickets for George Michael’s Symphonica tour at the Metro Radio Arena, I have to admit I jumped at the chance, mainly because I thought it would be hysterical. Renowned for his tabloid toilet scandals, I fully expected an outrageous display of Wham-esque vests and an unbelievable amount of bling, judging by the sizeable diamante on his belt at the Olympics closing ceremony.
After his recent near-death brush with pneumonia, this tour was a rescheduled one, and one Scottish woman in the toilets told me her hubby was pissed off it had been rescheduled on a school night so he wasn’t attending, after which she stroked my face and told me I had nice skin. Already, this evening was set to be hysterical. What me and my lovely plus one soon discovered was that the audience would consist of middle-aged couples on a date, probably reminiscing with songs from when they first met, and that we were the youngest audience members by at least 20 years. What we also discovered was that middle-aged men are truly awful dancers.
Nevertheless, we got ourselves quite excited for Georgie boy, as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go was one of my favourite childhood hits on my karaoke machine, and after all, everyone loves a bit of Wham now and again. What unfolded, however, was quite different. For a start, Georgie had an orchestra with him: not quite the Powerhouse hits we were expecting. He was also suited and booted, but I was pleased to see he was wearing his sunglasses. And so we sat through the entirety of the concert, not knowing a single one of his tracks, except the covers of Sting’s Roxanne and Grant’s Feeling Good. He did however indulge us in the second encore with I’m Your Man and Freedom, and the stadium subsequently came alive, with every single person on their feet, dancing and singing, albeit badly.
However, not knowing any of the songs also did me a favour in a way, as I was able to look at old Georgie as an artist, and I have to say, he really was good. The accompanying orchestra gave a nice depth to the tracks (they were mostly slow songs, as I said, oldies on a date), and he was accompanied by an impressive lighting display. Video footage was linked together for a montage, which included clips of John Lennon, Princess Diana, Kate Moss and Mother Theresa among others. And he belted out his tracks without any costume changes: all in all it was a rather sophisticated affair.
What was most impressive, however, was the sheer number of dedicated and adoring fans Georgie boy has. I was practically deafened by one woman’s clapping and wolf-whistling, and as the lyrics to every single one of his slow-dance anthems were echoed around the arena, me and my plus one were ashamed to be the only ones who didn’t know the words.
Overall then, great work Georgie, although I am still gutted you weren’t wearing tight white jeans…
- Bring A Friend To Seth Lakeman Next Time – He Needs More Feet For Stomping