Gig Reviews, Dublin, The O2

05

George Michael, live in concert in Dublin, 2011Review Snapshot:  Having returned from a performing exile in 2006 to promote his back catalogue of hits, this time George Michael brings his Symphonica Orchestra to Dublin, and while it may not have been the first time he’s had a horn section behind him, he proved he can songs from a wide range or artists ranging from Tim Buckley to Rihanna.

The Cluas Verdict: 8 out of 10

Full Review:

Dressed immaculately  in a dark suit and tie (like he does for his court appearances), tonight George Michael alternated between standing front of stage for up-tempo numbers like 'My Baby Just Cares For Me', to sitting on a stool for ballads 'Cowboys And Angels', 'True Faith' and 'You have Been Loved'.

What becomes evident in the first half of the show is boredom setting in amongst the audience, with the increase in chatting volume while George does his best to keep their attention with unknown covers from the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Terence Trent D'Arby.

It’s not until the up-tempo Bowie cover 'Wild Is The Wind' that the audience come to life, while 'Brother Can You Spare A Dime' puts the spotlight on the Orchestra for the first time.

After a 20-minute interval the ballads continue. 'John & Elvis Are Dead' features a backdrop of Lennon and Presley images while 'Love Is A Losing Game' plays tribute to the late Amy Winehouse on the big screen.

With the show entering its finale, the classics begin to appear. 'A Different Corner', 'Kissing A Fool' and 'Praying For Time' are elegantly performed by the band, meeting audience approval, while 'Roxanne' (with its video featuring real-life prostitutes) goes down well with all the heterosexual males present.

For the encore we get all the up-tempo numbers like 'Amazing', the Wham! classic 'I’m Your Man', and 'Freedom ’90' brings the whole place to their feet. A second encore of 'I Remember You' is probably unnecessary but it doesn’t take away from a great evenings’ entertainment. 

Those that went to the gig expecting the hits were five years behind the times but after 30 years in the business, George has proved he still has the voice for any genre of music and to a Wham! fan like me, this was Fantastic.

Mick Lynch

 

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