First of all; the Royal Albert Hall is just amazing! What a beautiful building, it's like no other venue I've ever seen. I can't believe I've been inside a venue as great as the Arena di Verona and Royal Albert Hall within 2 months, with Royal Opera House still to come. Love it!
One sentence review: George is back home and loving it.
This is the English recaplet, a link for a longer Dutch review for all nights at RAH together will appear here when I am back home in the Netherlands again. You could always check for more updates on twitter (dutch_ada).
The real George Michael:
It's no secret that George loves coming home to sing for his London fans; as he told us recently it's where he can totally be himself. So what is George like in London?
Well, his true self appeared to be just a little tongue-tied tonight. After all the cosy, funny chats with the fans in the last two shows in the Netherlands I was expecting there to be lots of jokes and lots and lots of talking between songs here in London. Alas, it was not to be.
I think George had a case of the "first night back in front of a home crowd" nerves, that's happened to him before. But I'm sure he's all relaxed now the first show is over and done with and I expect fireworks tonight! [Sadly, Wednesday's show got postponed because of ill health, George had a viral infection. So Tuesday's rather subdued performance was not a sign of first show nerves after all!]
He was glad to be home, that much was clear even from where I was sitting. And he was was very happy during the medley.
The one thing that made me shake my head in wonder at him tonight was that he told the audience he only just realised (“the other day”) that the four or five songs starting with Where I Hope You Are were a reflection of the end of his relationship! Well, duh! I can't believe he's only just realised that, he must be joking, right?
After the very first show I saw (August 29) I wrote in my Dutch review that the Symphonica Tour might as well be dubbed: the “I'm in so much pain over breaking up with my lover Tour”. He even told us that night that much of the songs "bear a lot of relevance to my personal life". It's probably a male thing to not notice stuff like this, or is that a female thing to say?
Let's get this party started:
The crowd gave George such a loud cheer when the curtains opened, lovely to hear. And they listened very well, calling out "We love you, George" every so often. And by the way, it was mostly gruff male voices professing their love!
Lots of songs got enthusiastic applause. In the first half Cowboys and Angels got a lot of applause, in the second half there was, as usual, a lot of appreciation for A Different Corner. But it was during Russian Roulette that the party really got under way! From there on out it was loud! George was visibly getting more happy by the minute, so the crowd got louder and louder!
The medley was a complete riot, the floor under our seats thudding with people dancing, singing and having fun! And yeah, we got the gospel again and yeah, it was a big hit with the London crowd (how could it not?). But the loudest cheer came for the I'm Your Man part of the medley, people going out of their minds with joy. I saw conductor of the night mr. Sidwell looking on with joyful amazement at this thing that he'd help create. Even Henry Hey and the singers - who are used to it by now - we're also looking at the crowd with proud looks on their faces.
Every Other Lovely In The World (tm @tantegeraldine):
One of the amazing aspects of being a GM-fan is that you meet so many nice people that you'd never meet otherwise. Being a fan is a great leveller, as a fan everyone is the same, be they a housewife, a student or a top level banker.
There's no time or space to write about all the fans I meet, but here are two I won't forget in a hurry. I met the lovely Andrew (burtiboy) again, such a joy to be around. And cute as can be, still. I've seen women fall over themselves to be close to him. Today was no exception, the lady from the Royal Albert Hall couldn't wait to get him alone and chat to him, so funny.
Being a huge GM-fan Andrew flew in all the way from Australia (where he now lives) for the shows at the Royal Albert Hall, Dublin and Royal Opera House. George is very lucky to have dedicated fans like this.
The man sitting next to me was great too. He was already in his seat, when we got there, looking rather severe, almost a bit out of place. But when I asked him if he was a George Michael fan I was in for a big surprise. Yes, he was a fan, had been ever since the Wham days, and he was going to 11 shows over the next few weeks! Heh, never judge a book by it's cover. He told me his wife usually accompanied him but this night he could get only one ticket via the fanclub, so he'd left his wife at home . Well, that's something you don't hear every night at a George Michael concert!
This was his first show and he'd managed to stay spoiler-free all this time, a neat feat. So much so in fact that he asked if Kenny would be in the audience, talking to the fans. I didn't have the heart to bring him up to speed.
And finally: Mark McLean
I couldn't get an Arena Floor ticket, so was rather high up in Stalls (R8). From there I could finally see all of the orchestra. And I had the pleasure of having the fab four (the backing vocalists) in view all the time.
I saw a lot of stuff I hadn't noticed before, more on that next recaplet.
Until now I'd never realised exactly how big the rhythm section is for Symphonica. On both ends of the stage, at the top, are two big rhythm sections, at the left we have Lee Mullen and at the right I could see Mark McLean. And for me, he was the revelation of the night. He was a sight to be seen. Marks looks so cute and quiet, as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, but man, he's really pounding those drums, going all out. I watched him with a big grin on his face.