Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Gotta Have Faith

Last night I had the sheer pleasure of attending the George Michael 25Live concert here in Melbourne, subsequently the very last date of his world tour which made it even more special. It was definitely "quite a night", but would you expect anything else from the world's most fully-functioning drug addict (his words, not mine)? Michael is, without a doubt, one of the finest songwriters and entertainers in the world and puts, quite literally, about 99% of artists to shame in every single way.

Michael's back catalogue is classic, without a doubt, and one of the reasons I have (and you should too) have so much respect for him is his all-encompassing musical stylings. His career swings wildly about throughout post-disco sex jams ("Fastlove"), joyful pop ("I'm Your Man") and soaring ballads ("Father Figure"). That those are the first three songs performed during the concert was bliss. The video screens were a treat too, featuring old video clips, crazy light shows and photographs making the fact that he looked tiny on the stage less of an issue.

That he would go on to sing such songs as "Star People" (with a booming finale to the first half), "Faith" (those organs beginning the second half were instantly recognisable to anybody who likes music, surely) and iconic "Careless Whisper" and "Freedom '90s" (encores, both) made the night even sweeter. My favourite moments were "Spinning the Wheel", with its brutally honest lyrics of one half of a relationship not getting what they want, and "Flawless (Go to the City"). The former turned into a rave stormer midway through with the latter proving to be a truly awesome dance smash with its sample of "Flawless" by The Ones.

Michael is a consummate performer and was fascinating to watch. Despite all the personal issues the man has had, all he needed to do was stand on stage and nobody cared. And all he needed to do was roll his hips a bit to get the crowd screaming. And despite showing his age - there was a pot belly, yes - throw him in a police uniform for tongue-in-cheek disco track "Outside" and it's like it it's 1986 and he's driving in that taxi from the video of "Father Figure" all over again.

Such a great show and I am so glad I was able to go (with Adem Ali, I should add). It's his first tour here in Australia in more than 20 years and will, most likely, be his last. I've included the 25Live performances of "Spinning That Wheel" (just wait for the moment when it goes from beautiful painful ballad to full on raving stormer), "Flawless (Go to the City)" and "Outside" as well as some of my favourite George Michael videos "Fastlove", "Freedom '90" (best video clip of all time? YES!) and "Father Figure" (my favourite GM song ever if you're interested).

**It's a shame that some of the crowd was just terrible. People were still strolling (I use the word strolling in a literal way, they were not rushing) over an hour after the scheduled start time (George didn't come out on stage until 8.30). And during the slow numbers you could hear chatter all around. Before "Feeling Good" he asked for silence and, for some, it was probably the only time all night that they actually bothered to shut up. And then there were the people who were constantly getting up to get drinks and food. If you wanted to sit around, listen to George Michael and have some drinks while gasbagging about why not stay at home and pop his greatest hits on the stereo. Some people...**


Anonymous said...

A great concert! I was there too. Sitting or should I say standing in the second row! Yeah, I can't imagine why anybody would bother to get drinks during the show but I saw a few people. I was dying for a pee but I held off until the interval at least! I saw him in 1988 when I was a teenager and it was one of the best concerts so I knew he would be great in concert again. He has put on some weight even from the London 25Live concert DVD. I arrived at the stadium at 6.30pm so two hours before he came on and it was empty but most of the crowd came later. WHy would anyone be late for a concert especially given the ticket prices these days. You would have to be nuts to drive into town and expect to park at Etihad Stadium! Stupid people! I caught a tram in from work and then took a cab home.

Anonymous said...

Following on, there were heaps of highlights. I would say Fast Love and I'm Your Man really got the crowd going. When Flawless hit, the crowd went ballistic with its rave-like atmosphere. I also love An Easier Affair which is a personal favourite. Amazing was great as was CAreless Whisper and Freedom 90. Overall, a great show. I would have loved to hear A Different Corner, Freedom (Wham version), Waiting For That Day, Jesus To a Child, Praying For Time and many others. He has so many great songs, he could perform a five hour concert and nobody would mind.

Glenn Dunks said...

The only song I didn't care for was "Roxanne". Wish he could've played "Praying for Time" or maybe even a bit of "Last Christmas"(!) I think I would've died if he sang "Wham Rap" though.