Here comes one for the ladies, the ones who love me…
Please see part 1 of our adventure here.
The lights went dark. The auditorium started to swell with the sound of 10,325 voices yelling his name. The set itself was several stories high, with the central video grid looming over our seats. The whole stage was a giant screen, which responded to his vocals like a trained animal. We were here to worship, and no greater church has been built. Sacrilege? Maybe. But this is George Michael, and we were willing to lose our souls…
Suddenly, we heard a guitar cut through our din…
Do, do, doo doo doo, do do do, do, doo doo doo… George Michael had started to sing, and the crowd lost it’s mind.
There aint no point in moving on, till you’ve got somewhere to go… The concert started with Waiting (Reprise) from “Listen Without Prejudice”. With the ending words “Here I am” he appears from the middle of the stage. George Michael. The man that we had all seen on MTV, had all danced to, had all wished to maybe meet – there he was, 40 feet from us. From me.
The first time I ever said to myself, in my head, that I was gay, was while watching the video for Faith. I remember seeing him shake his ass, and I noticed fast. Some mistakes are built to last. This man let me know who I was. And I was here to thank him for it.
The stage started to pulse with light. Gotta get up to get down… The crowd stood, and didn’t sit for the rest of the concert. We danced and sang to Fastlove, which moved smoothly into I’m Your Man ’96. Call me good, call me bad, call me anything you want to, baby. It stopped after a few stanza’s, and George spoke. “I wouldn’t do that to you…”. The classic I’m Your Man version by WHAM! began. We all sang along, a giant chorus. If you’re gonna do it, do it right. Do it with me.
Quiet strings started next, a middle eastern flair that we all knew and loved. Father Figure. That’s all I wanted, something special, something sacred, in your eyes. Next came Hard Day, Take me where the eyes can’t find us, which brought us to the first real ballad – One More Try. I’m lookin out for angels, just trying to find some peace…
George sat down and sang The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. I felt the earth move in my hands… I could tell that there were people there who had never heard this song before. George’s voice was beautiful. An Easier Affair followed, his most recent single. To think I thought I could be some kind of family man… I’m dancing with the freaks now, I’m having so much fun. Me too, George. Me too.
The synth piano run of Too Funky started, and the club atmosphere was established. I’ll show you Heaven, if you let me. We danced. Star People rounded out the first half of the service. Never forget, your secret’s safe with me…
After a 20 minute intermission, the last 5 of which was filled with the John And Elvis Are Dead video, that famous organ music started. George walked onstage, to the strains of Faith. The screaming continued. I’ve got to have Faith-ah-Faith-ah-Faith. We all sang it together, the artist and his followers.
Spinning the Wheel began, a lesser known song, but excellent. Five-O-Clock in the morning, you aint home, I can’t help thinking that’s strange. Next George sang the only song that I had never heard him do, Feeling Good. And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me. His voice is the same if not better than it has ever been. He hit high notes, he roamed through his lower range. Gorgeous.
George sat again for Roxanne, the Police cover from “Songs From The Last Century”. You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right. The set continued with my very favorite GM song, Kissing A Fool. You’ll never find peace of mind till you listen to your heart.
George looked amazing, dressed in a flashy black suit in the first half of the concert, and jeans and a blazer for the second. He was fit. He was handsome. And he danced. You know. The “Faith” dance. And we all swooned.
George sang Amazing, a song about his partner Kenny. I think we’re amazing. Next came the quintessential gay dance club moment, Flawless (Go To The City). So the music may yet be your savior. He told all the gays to put their hands up, and we all did. It was a unified moment. We all understood – He’s one of us. And he didn’t let us forget it during Outside – I know you want to, but you can’t say yes. And he should know.
And then he was off stage. The lights went dark. And we screamed. I looked around, and was strangely moved by the sight of thousands of cell phone screens illuminating the auditorium, all for the purpose of lighting George back onto the stage for a couple more songs. And he didn’t disappoint.
A sweet sax signaled the first song of the encore, Careless Whisper. I feel so unsure, as I take your hand and lead you to the dancefloor. And he sounded the same, after twenty four years. Lastly, he asked us what we wanted to hear. There was a jubilant cacophony of sounds.. “No, no” he said. I want you to say it together…
FREEDOM. FREEDOM. FREEDOM. FREEDOM. FREEDOM.
I wont let you down, so please don’t give me up, ’cause I would really, really love to stick around. Oh yeah.
It’s hard to describe what happened then. Every hand in the place, over twenty thousand hands, reached towards George Michael. We sang along. And we belonged. Every freak, every fag, every fem, every person who had ever been discounted because they were different – we were unified as one. We belonged. We have a common touchstone, and it is the music and the man who is George Michael.
And all I can humbly say is Thank You.