Back in London for the final shows of his rather ill-fated Symphonica tour George Michael is closing this chapter of his story in fine style tonight in front of a capacity crowd of adoring fans. Dressed entirely in black for the first half of the show George views his audience from behind trademark oversized dark glasses and looks both comfortable and relaxed.
Tonight's setlist consists of a mixture of tracks from all stages of George Michael's catalogue alongside an eclectic selection of cover versions from artists as diverse as New Order and Nina Simone, whose 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' is among the highlights of tonight's show. Cheerfully announcing that we're going back to the 80s, George takes us through a well-received version of 'Father Figure' and returning to the 'Faith' album a little later for 'Kissing A Fool'. Although the closest he gets to his debut solo album's anthemic title track is a slightly weak interpretation of New Order's 'True Faith' - George Michael's charity single for Comic Relief last year - he can do no wrong in front of tonight's audience and roams the stage with the confidence and ease of a veteran showman, and even a slightly strained 'Star People' doesn't dampen anyone's mood.
However it's really only when George puts the album tracks and cover versions to one side and pulls out some of his most iconic musical moments that tonights crowd really gets going, whether it's the mass sing along that is 'A Different Corner' or the frenetic encore medley that includes Wham's 'Freedom' and 'I'm Your Man'. The plum coloured suit George wears for the second half may suit the George Michael of 2012 but the scattered 'Choose Life' t-shirts and 80s fluorescent colours on show in the audience tonight are firm reminders of the journey George Michael has undertaken to be where he is today, and tonight, along with 16,000 other people, we salute him.
LONDON - EARL'S COURT, 13/8/2012
Through / My Baby Just Cares For Me / Father Figure / Cowboys & Angels / Star People / Going To A Town / Let Her Down Easy / You Have Been Loved / Wild Is The Wind / Brother Can You Spare A Dime / Waiting For That Day / John & Elvis Are Dead / Roxanne / True Faith / A Different Corner / Russian Roulette / Praying For Time / Feeling Good / Amazing + I'm Your Man + Freedom / I Remember You
See George Michael's OFFICIAL WEBSITE for all the dates...
Photographs by ANDY STURMEY. Review by This Is Not Retro from notes by Andy Sturmey.
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