Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Symphonica - Gig Report Rotterdam October 22

Well, we gave George Michael and the whole Symphonica gang a rousing send-off on the last night before they went home to dear old Blighty as they call it (English idiom is weird!). Everybody seemed more than ready to go (home) to England but I think they all enjoyed the last stopover before the Royal Albert Hall. Everything is in place, the show is now just like George envisioned it, or so he told us tonight.

I think it's safe to say George is ready to wow the home crowds, the long warm-up throughout mainland Europe is over. Backing vocalist Jay Henry asked us on twitter which of the pre-England shows were our favourites: for me it was the first night in Herning where George got so emotional, both nights in Verona, especially the second one where George was at his incredible best and of course the second night in Rotterdam where everything just clicked. Incredible memories!

One sentence review: Love is in the air for George and the Dutch Fans!

Please read on for more details of the night. If you prefer to read the Dutch in-depth review, a link for that will appear here as soon as it is ready. In the meantime I'll update you here.

Quote of the night
"I love you". Heh, that does it for me every time!

Song of the night
It was another sensational concert tonight. And then we got to Freedom. Now Freedom is one of my 3 all-time favourite George Michael songs (My Mother Had A Brother and One More Try (gospel version) being the other two.)  I just adore that song. It's become such an anthem.

I also liked I Remember You very much tonight, I think I finally got that song! And I love the little gesture he does at the end of it, taking the memory of all of us with him on his travels.

What made me laugh:
Again George was very relaxed and very funny, you've seen all those jokes reported on twitter. The one I liked best was in his chat about Songs From The Last Century, known as Listen Without Purchasing in the GM household. Looking back on the whole experience he saw why it didn't sell so great, he didn't release a single, didn't do any promotion or touring for it. (And another reason to be honest, is that this live version - for me at least - is much more fun than the CD).

This Symphonica tour then was his first attempt of promoting it. "You can buy it in the foyer" he quipped. Priceless! The thought of George, like any new artist just starting out, flogging his CD in the foyer made me laugh so hard. It would be the cheapest meet and greet for a big star ever, and also the most chaotic, making those crowd scenes at the start of GM, A Different Story look like a picnic!

George was very thirsty tonight, drinking between songs and also during songs. During the musical intermezzo's the lights would be softened and George would hurry to his his drinks cabinet for a few sips of that  orange stuff he loves so much (Gatorade?), and hurry back in time to resume singing, timing it beautifully every single time.

Henry Hey is always fun to watch. Tonight he turned towards the crowd during Wild Is the Wind,  partying with George. Love that man.

For weeks now, I've been looking with longing at those coveted front row seats. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that some of those premium seats offer a partially restricted view! I love Henry Hey, but that big piano of his obscured our view of the back of the stage. So whenever George was singing on top of the stairs he was out of range so to speak. I didn't mind really because I know the show so well by now that I can fill in those minutes from memory.
What made me so very sad:

Tonight I was in front row for the very first time! I've been standing front row during 25Live for a few times and I loved it. This was totally different, for one thing I didn't have to queue 12+ hours to get this seat, which was lovely since we're all getting on a bit.

My front row experience would've been perfect if not for the way security acted around me.
Apparently George had gotten very annoyed with all the flash going off around him the night before and so on special orders of the boss himself tonight no cameras were allowed in. As I never ever use flash (don't want to inconvenience him too much) I was gutted that I had to leave my camera behind. The security guy assured me that other people seen with a camera in the venue would be asked to hand them over.

The same security guy was standing in front of me during the medley, watching me like a hawk to make sure I didn't do anything while all around me people were filming to their hearts content. I just bloody hate hypocrisy like that. And the guy made me feel like dirt!!
Sort of the same thing happened to me on October 10, another security guy in front of me, watching me all the time, treating me like I was some deranged nut.  And then George keeps tweeting youtube videos of the very night he'd put out strict orders not to allow cameras. Well ....

George Michael: the man and his voice
Overheard while standing in line in the break: "George is just so amazing, that voice made me cry". So, no problems then in the vocal department.

I think the wardrobe lady must be sick, or George has escaped from the clutches of his stylists again. Because he was wearing the same outfit, with the same stain on the back of his pants. Someone had tried to remove the stain on his jacket - without much luck.

Oh and he changed his glasses himself tonight. Pity, I loved it when the other guy did it for him!

The audience
Yup, great audience, once again. George was very pleased with us, looking almost overcome with the ovations he got from us.

And finally - the George Michael fan community at work
You might have seen all the tweets and retweets of a request to George last week to dedicate a song to Geraldine, a Dutch fan who sadly passed away last year. (I wrote a bit about her at the end of this review). Geraldine was killed in a tragic car accident and all who knew her mourn her and felt her absence even more strongly now that Symphonica was visiting the Netherlands.

One of her best friends @MissHoefje tweeted to George if he could dedicate a song to her because she was such a big fan and happiest when she was busy taking those beautiful pictures of the concerts for all the fans to enjoy or having fun with her GM-friends. She asked the fans to retweet this request. So many of you did! It was a beautiful thing to watch, truly love in action. Turns out it's not called the George Michel fan community for nothing.

So big thanks to @Misshoefje for thinking of this and working so hard at it, and  I know that @herrybabe,  another great  friend of Geraldine, put a lot of effort into this as well. I've got a sneaky feeling that the singers and maybe Henry Hey may have helped a bit too.
Saturday, George dedicated You Have Been Loved to his mother, Anselmo and "anyone who lost someone". I'm sure Geraldine smiled.

Leaving you with one of those fabulous pictures of Geraldine. This one is from the Dublin concerts in 2007, with George having fun!

copyright Geraldine

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