Saturday, 27 August 2011

Celebrating 25Live - part 2 (2007)

Now that Symphonica: The Orchestral Tour has begun I'm feeling all nostalgic for George Michael's last tour, 25Live. I thought it would be fun to look back at 25Live and share some of my memories. This entry: a closer look at 2007.

One of the best moments of the last 25Live concert of 2006 came when George Michael announced that he was going to do it all again very soon. The audience roared! We were all so excited; we couldn't wait to see our man in action again.

And then came the news that George was planning a stadium tour and he would be the first artist to play at the new Wembley Stadium! To be honest I wasn't all that impressed at first. The shows were cleverly described as "a thank you to my fans" but even so prices for stadium tickets were even higher than in 2006. And stadiums are - to me at least - big, soulless monsters. But none of it really mattered. I was going to see George Michael again.

George opens Wembley Stadium
2007: Party George
Whereas 2006 was all about reconnecting with his fans, in 2007 George Michael was giving a huge party and all his fans were invited. The setlist was more upbeat than 2006; you can't have too many ballads with a stadium crowd. 

The party atmosphere was also reflected in George's choice of clothes. Gone were the black and silver Armani suits, for the remainder of the 25Live tour George opted for a jacket and jeans combination.
With one notable exception of course: his attire for Outside. Introducing the cop uniform from the Outside video clip onstage really was an inspired move. It was so fun and naughty, typical George. Also:hot, hot, hot!

George makes a very sexy cop!

Please read on for 8(!) mini-reviews with pictures from shows in 2007.

London, June 9 2007
The very first concert for the new Wembley Stadium

Memorable for:
  • Opening Wembley Stadium, natch. The pain was still wet, so to speak. George looked a bit nervous, maybe because of the cameras. Part of his show was broadcast live on British TV. Well not exactly live live, I seem to recall the network opted for a delay of some 20 minutes which was just as well because of the second most memorable thing.
  • George lashing out at the tabloid reporters, telling them they could kiss his hairy Greek ..., asking the audience to fill in the 'naughty' word! Classic George! Such a fun moment. You tell 'em, George!
  • More Freedom!
    Four songs were chosen for the broadcast, Outside, Spinning the Wheel (incredible that night), Idol and yay, Freedom90! George ended the concert with Freedom90 as well, so we got a second helping of that awesome song. Loved it!
  • Edge of Heaven
    I didn't make it to the Final in 1985, so the great sing-along of Edge of Heaven was new for me. Great fun!
  • Outside
    I think this was the premiere for the cop uniform. Fabulous!

London, June 10 2007
George got the second night at Wembley Stadium too.

Memorable for:
  • Needless to say, George was in fine form again, wowing the crowd. A nice long setlist again, costing him a hefty fine.
  • The hand dryers in the Wembley toilets, so powerful they almost blew the skin of our hands.
  • Speaking to a sweet security guy, obviously totally smitten with George. The guy was positively glowing, having had the best workday of his young life.
  •  Crowd control the English way. Dozens of men on horses formed a cordon, guiding a crowd of thousands safely to the subway. Way cool!

English Crowd Control outside Wembley Stadium

Antwerp, June 23 2007
Where George was on Planet George

Memorable because: 
Our man was coasting just a little bit. But happy, oh so happy! Off on his own little cloud somewhere.  But singing and dancing beautifully, so I was fine with it!

Amsterdam, June 26 2007
George celebrates his 44 birthday - again 

Memorable for: 
The birthday song! The day before the concert George Michael turned 44 and the Dutch fans wanted to sing for him. Turned out we weren't the only ones. Just before the start of the last encore George's band and backing singers sang Happy Birthday to him, the audience joining in. It was a great moment: the Stevie Wonder song, the festive graphics, it was magic. And Planet George's very own Annemiek71 threw a silly birthday hat on the catwalk and George was such a good sport he put it on! Watch it all here.

Vienna, July 13 2007
Another loud one. To George's delight the Viennese audience fell totally in love with him. As George so charmingly put it: "As crowds go, you were pretty fucking amazing"!

Memorable for:
George's banter with the crowd. At the start of 25Live George didn't talk much between songs, because he thought European audiences didn't understand English. Gradually he came to realise that we understood him perfectly and he started talking a bit more. In Vienna he was particularly chatty. 

Dublin, August 1 2007 
An unforgettable concert in an intimate atmosphere. Front row for me for the first time.

Memorable for:
  • My Mother Had A Brother. The third time I heard this song live and it moved me to tears. I was standing front row and could see the emotion on his face. Incredible!
  • Theatre The Point  is quite small (cap. 5000) and temperatures got very high. George was sweating so much that at one point he had to take his sunglasses of, singing the rest of the song with his glasses in his hand.
Dublin, August 2 2007
Front row once again!

Memorable for:
The astonished face of the cabdriver when we told him at 5.00 AM that we wanted a ride to Theatre The Point! And our disappointed faces when we found out we weren't even the first in line. The nice lady at security told us much later that day: "Crazy. You George Michael fans are all crazy!" Well, she's not wrong.

Belfast, August 4 2007
The last one, or so we all thought - again.

Memorable for:
George finally thanking his crew, not just his band and asking us all to give them a big applause. A good thing too, I've seen those guys at work a few times and you wouldn't believe how hard they all work unloading the vans, building the stage and doing general 'roadie stuff'.

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