We knew even before George took to the stage that Manchester 2 would be fun, as he tweeted that he was looking forward to the show! And fun it definitely was! We got two new songs: a fabulous new arrangement of Star People and a cover of F.E.A.R., the Stone Roses song. It took the crowd a bit of time to get behind that last one, but when they did it was lots of fun! And we got to see backing vocalist Jay Henry in a star turn, singing a duet with George. As he tweeted later, it had been 'scary', but nervous or not Jay was very, very good! As was the whole Symphonica crew, it really was a magical night. Again!
|George wouldn't be George without a bit of bling :)|
One sentence review: Manchester the sequel - bigger and even better!
Sitting front row, before George, is an amazing experience.There's nothing between you and the stage apart from a bit of concrete and a flimsy rope.
|Front Row - nothing between you and the stage (Russian Roulette)|
|True Faith: time for emoting.|
|Waiting For That Day - having fun with the crowd.|
Sitting so near the stage is also a bit scary, you feel rather vulnerable, almost naked, though thank heavens not literally! You can't hide so to speak. I remember in Vienna I was wearing a top of a very smooth fabric and at an unfortunate moment after I'd jotted down a quick note my notebook slid off my lap and skidded across the floor in front of me. I was mortified and dove quickly to retrieve it. To this day I believe George noticed and smiled at my embarrassment. Yikes, not exactly the way you want to get noticed by your idol! But - if you manage to hold on to all your belongings and not make a fool of yourself, sitting front row is definitely a dream come true.
One person who would wholeheartedly agree with me was the lady sitting next to me. For her this must have been one of the best nights of her life. Not only did she finally fulfil her lifelong dream of seeing George Michael live, she really got the best seat in the house too! Not surprisingly she was as happy as can be. Just like me she'd only bought her ticket the day before the show, after debating for months if she could spare the money. She told me that ever since she'd received the confirmation email from Ticketmaster she'd been shaking inside, being so nervous about finally getting to see George Michael. It was true, her body almost hummed and crackled with excitement. This is what being a fan should be all about, and it made me happy to see her having the time of her life.
Jay is a star
Earlier on George had asked us if we had rhythm and we assured him with a roar that yes, we definitely had rhythm. Until the start of F.E.A.R., that is. George told us all to clap along and everyone did of course. Being in thrall to George we all followed his lead. And George was not staying on the beat - not even close! Heh, he's still human. I giggled a bit when he scolded us: "In time please". Eh, you first George!
|Jay is a star! So are Lucy, Shirley and Lincoln.|
The strange thing is I quite liked F.E.A.R during the concert, loving the way we all got to participate, but I wasn't blown away by it. But now .. I can't get it out of my head and at the strangest moments I find myself singing the chorus under my breath: F.E.A.R! Sometimes a George song or even a cover is like that, they might take their time to get under your skin but once they get there - watch out!
I really hope we get to hear a repeat performance of F.E.A.R. in Earls Court. But if not, I'll be just happy to have heard it all. And not to brag (well maybe just a little!) I got to hear all the songs George sang in Symphonica 2011 and 2012! Even Safe and It Really Doesn't Matter which were 'blink and you miss it 'appearances on the setlist. Really, all the songs? Well no, to my chagrin I've got to admit I missed one: Refuge! But apart from Refuge I got the full set! And I'm happy and so grateful for that as they were all wonderful in their own way.
Song of the Night
That's easy: Star People! I love that song, especially live and am still bummed it's not on the Live In London DVD. Now it's gotten that big orchestra treatment lets hope George keeps it on the setlist for London. We were all singing along in our row, prompting George to remark that all of us on the first row knew the words better than he did himself. Yup, I think that's a fair assessment, Star People used to be a big stumbling block for him in his 25Live days. I honestly have no idea how he fared in Manchester, I was so wrapped up in the pleasure of hearing it again that I didn't notice any botched lines.
And finally - George is starstruck!
There's a wonderful joke about soap opera's in the TV sitcom the Nanny. Someone who's been out of the country for 6 months asks to be updated on their favourite soap. Says the the lead character: "Well, they're still at the party ...."! Heh, one of my favourite sitcoms jokes of all time and very true! But however slow-moving soaps may be, there are loads of people who love them and George certainly is one of them! I knew about his love affair with East Enders of course (remember the gay plotline twitter rant from last year?), but had no idea that he watched Coronation Street faithfully as well. I've got a sneaking suspicion now that Emmerdale is also on his must-see list!
George confessed to us after True Faith that he used to watch Coronation Street while under the influence. "Not any more I'm afraid, I have to watch [it] sober these days". And even having to watch his soaps without the benefit of the forbidden stuff hasn't cooled his ardour for them! But as Sam so succinctly said on twitter: "He watches all sorts of crap". Heh!
|Famous people can be fans too - and act like it!|
Anyway, you could almost see him rubbing his hands in anticipation when he tweeted that up to 40 stars of Coronation Street would be coming to the Manchester show, and that he hoped they would be near the stage. Heh, I always love it when George shows his geeky side - and what's more geeky than a huge star being in awe of people much less famous than himself. The actors from Coronation street are of course pretty well known in the UK whereas George, well....Whenever something newsworthy happens to George I get a kick out of getting online and finding out how many news agencies from far away countries almost trip over themselves in their haste to bring their readers the latest George Michael news. So to hear this very famous man mentioning his excitement at the presence of actors on a national soap and even asking them to stand up so he could see them better was very funny to me.
Being a serious fan is a harmless but pretty strange condition. It makes you act a bit weird whenever the name of your star is mentioned. It can also make you do silly things. This can happen to all of us, and judging by George's behaviour being famous offers no protection for this whatsoever. Because either George hadn't been properly briefed on where his dear Corrie people were sitting or he had been but misunderstood and assumed, wrongly as it turned out, they were all in block 102- stage left. They weren't, they were all on the other side of the stage in block 115! So poor George was talking to the wrong people the whole time.
Ulla (@bluedressed, she of the beautiful pictures and videos) who was sitting stage left tweeted later that she'd been pointing George in the right direction, as were the actors themselves - yelling and doing all they could to get his attention. But George would have none of it and kept focussing on the wrong side of the stage. Love it!