THEY say all good things come to those who wait and George Michael’s fans had waited ten long months for him to appear in Sheffield, write Polly Rippon.
The singer’s Symphonica orchestral tour finally swept into the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena in all its glory after he was forced to postpone last year’s date following a life-threatening illness which saw him hospitalised.
And the ex Wham! frontman, who on Sunday announced he was pulling out of the Australian leg of his tour due to anxiety issues, certainly didn’t disappoint his besotted fans.
He tantalised the packed Arena from behind a red curtain during the beginning of the opening number Through, before picking up the tempo to a roaring crowd with his rendition of Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares for Me. The star greeted his Sheffield fans in trademark shades, big grin, purple jacket and black jeans and received roars of approval from his loyal followers every time he so much as crossed the stage.
And it wasn’t just the ladies who were impressed. One man couldn’t help but shout out ‘George we love you’ during Kissing a Fool.
Then followed a smooth, soulful and highly emotional mix of covers about the roughs and smooths of falling in love and the toils of life against a back drop of slowly-ferning James Bond-esque computer generated graphics.
His rapport with the crowd conjured up the feeling of a much more intimate gig than that of a 13,000 seater Arena show as he sat on a stool crooning his heart out with an obvious vulnerability.
Michael’s voice is still amazing - rich and mellow like warm melted chocolate and unlike the manufactured pop acts so common today, he showed true star quality by making it all look so effortless.
The ballads were juxtaposed with some of his greatest feel-good pop hits which got the crowd up and dancing, and Michael showed he can still pull some dance moves out of the bag - much to the sheer delight of his fans.
The whole set was accompanied by the full-bodied tones of the Symphonica orchestra and in the second half there was some crowd participation as Michael got the audience to sing some of his best-loved hits.
The star obviously looked like he was enjoying himself - ‘Sheffield you are f***ing lovely’ - he shouted one point, and the room was so clearly full of love for him.
Michael came across as very humble and he’s clearly glad he’s still up there performing - doing what he does best.
Speaking earlier this week the King of pop who returned to the spotlight when he performed his single White Light at the Paralympic Games closing ceremony, said: “Since last year’s illness I have tried in vain to work my way through the trauma that the doctor who saved my life warned me I would experience.”
“They recommended complete rest ... but I’m afraid I believed (wrongly) that making music and getting out there to perform for the audiences that bring me such joy would be therapy enough in itself.
“I was wrong to think I could work my way through the major anxiety that has plagued me since I left Austria last December.”
Music aside, Michael’s tabloid tangles and brushes with the law make life a whole lot more interesting and one thing’s for sure - he still has thousands of loyal and adoring followers.
So rest up George and get well soon, your fans love you and want you back where you belong.
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