Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou aka George Michael brought his tour to thousands of adoring fans recently with two nights at the Manchester Arena writes Deborah Law.
After the original dates had been postponed when George spent five weeks in a Vienna hospital, fighting against pneumonia and undergoing an emergency tracheotomy in November 2011, you might have thought people would have rushed to get their money back. But no, his faithful fans kept hold of their tickets to see this 49 year old man, with a thirty year career, many months later.
To music provided by The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, George came into view at the back of the stage, surrounded by a backdrop of a huge screen with
constantly changing visual effects.
Wearing a black suit and glasses, and sporting a grey beard, he looked very slim. With his grey beard and hair untouched by dye, and few pop stars would feel comfortable letting this show, he sang a selection of his own hits interspersed with covers of other popular artists’ material.
“Manchester I want to see you rock,” he shouted. People in the expensive floor seats were standing, itching to dance and sing. George demonstrated some of his sexy dance moves. He can certainly shake those hips. Women, and some of the men, were screaming in delight.
‘Amazing’, ‘Praying for Time’, ‘A Different Corner’, ‘Father Figure’ – these are the songs the audience had been waiting for. By now all bums were off their seats and everyone was singing along, thinking of how their lives were back in the eighties.
I think of George with shuttlecocks in his white shorts and the girls screaming hysterically at him. I also recall getting Wham their first ‘cover’ on an American teen magazine.
At one point, whilst unbuttoning his jacket, George paused and walked to the edge of the stage saying “Security man, please stop arguing with that man in the second row. It has been going on for two songs and it can’t be that important.”
The audience cheered and the security man stormed off.
What an incredible voice, what talent. Now where are my George Michael CD’s?