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...**