George Michael, Symphonica [REVIEW]

Symphonica Tour

A Sunday night with George Michael: what I lucky guy I was! I had purchased these tickets just over 18 months ago, I guess I am also a patient man. But being a George Michael fan (nothing to hide here), you get used to waiting for that day when a concert gets announced.

On the day tickets went on sale, a friend and I were 'waiting' very diligently online in the hopes of getting tickets for the concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I only managed to get one (you can’t always get what you want), then we subsequently got out hands on tickets for a later date. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two experiences; I just didn’t think that there would be almost a year in between them.

At the RAH gig last year, there was confusion amongst some of the crowd as to what the show actually was, with many expecting the man from Wham! to be stuffing shuttlecocks down his pants while strutting his stuff to young guns. Maybe they had not read that it was going to be a re-working of his songs and selected covers that would be performed in conjunction with the Czech Symphony. They soon got it, and with the exception of the (insert your own expletive here) behind me, sat in silence and loved the gig.

This time there was confusion again, but this time from the man himself. Did he want everyone up and dancing, or sitting in silence listening to his music (as he has so often said in the past)? It was annoying for me and at nearly a hundred quid for a seat 75 rows back, I had expected the show to be more polished and have a singular direction.

Vocally he is better than he was last year, and this bemused me even more. Why try to work a crowd when you can amaze them by just singing? Different Corner, Cowboys, Angels, and Praying for Time were all perfect, but where were Kissing a Fool or the cover of Amy Winehouse’s Love is a Losing Game? And why, for the love of God, cover New Orders True Faith, and have your vocals synthesised?

For this to have been an Amazing Gig, it should have been back at the RAH or a smaller venue - ideally at Ronnie Scott's, and I think that it is just the kind of place that he’d love to play.

As much as I may whinge, there were legions of Heather Trotts who who loved every moment, and I guess at a certain age (which most of his fan base are heading toward) you can dance for two songs on the… trot.

Second Degree paid for his own ticket.