Sunday, 16 September 2012

Symphonica - Gig Report Amsterdam (September 14)

By and large I try to avoid telling people outside of the GM-fandom (aka normal people) how many Symphonica shows I've been to. As soon as they hear I've seen the show more than once you can see the thought "This a very weird woman" forming in their minds. What comes out though is the polite version. "But why go again?, they say. "It's just the same show, isn't it"? Well no, not really. Not all Symphonica shows are created equal.
But how do you explain that - even though the setlist might be exactly the same-  some shows are a perfectly nice night out while other shows blow your mind and leave you exhilarated, and smiling at the world for days. I don't even try and opt for a rather lame: "Well, you  know, he changes things around quite a bit". Hey, they're not fans, how are they to know that George almost never changes things around!

This pic says it all - I'll be a GM-fa n forever!
Friday night was one of those incredible shows! Today, writing this review I'm still buzzing with the memory of having been at an amazing show. It was truly amazing and it was on a different level from the shows I've seen so far. I totally agree with @dutchieemy: we got our old George Michael back! Long may it last.

One sentence review: George and the Dutch crowd are  f**ng fantastic!

The Ziggo Dome is brand new and looks it! The floor seats had ample leg room and were very comfortable; if they'd only had integrated cup holders like in the better movie theatres, they'd be perfect. We were sitting in row 5, in the middle of the row with not a chance in hell of getting out and going to the front for the medley. Once I stopped lamenting the fact and looked around I squealed with surprise. Yep, once again dead centre with a perfect view of George. Lovely! Thanks so much Fanclub, you really delivered!

Sitting exactly two rows in front of us was Luuk (@Lolluck), another Dutch fan. She's tall and very athletic. Running is her passion and I'm always in awe when I see her tweets about finishing yet another (half)marathon. Still, I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked for her during the medley and saw her - no longer in her row, standing all the way at the front. Obviously she somehow managed to climb over 2 full rows with those long legs of her. No mean feat, so nice job Luuk! Also -  a perfect example of how fun a night it was!

A lovely chat

Before the show we all wondered if George Michael would talk a bit more now that he was in front of a Dutch crowd. it's funny, this obsession we have with hearing George talk, after all we've put our money down to hear the man sing! I think it's to do with wanting to feel a real connection. Besides he's got such a beautfiul talking voice and when he's in a good mood he can be very, very funny. A chat or two makes a wonderful night even more special.

After the first few songs I held my breath. This was the place in the setlist where he would have a little chat with the audience if he were so inclined. And yes, he began talking. He complimented us on finally having an Arena in Amsterdam. He's right - despite it's name the Amsterdam Arena which is situated right next to the Ziggo Dome is a big stadium, not an arena.
He also commemorated that "a few years back" - actually it was October 2011, but we all know George isn't all that great with exact dates -  when they played "down the road in Rotterdam" it was one of his best shows. "So", he said, "I know you're going to be fun".

And charmingly he added:" I'll do my best for you". Aww, right then and there I wanted to give him a nice long hug. Because you see, that's the thing with George. For most of the time, he's George Michael, famous popstar, living a life far removed from the lives we normal people live. But every so often you get a glimpse of the man behind all the glitz and glamour and you realize that this slender man with the amazing voice standing a few feet away from you isn't all that different from you after all, he's just as fragile and strong as we all are. I think George must be happy to be on tour again but I also think it must be tough for him, entertaining the fans night after night. Of course he's getting paid handsomely to tour and yes, I'm sure it's nice to feel the adoration of thousands of fans every night, but still it's such hard work - especially when he's only just fully recovered. So him saying that he would do his best just made me want to reach out to him and thank him for going on tour so soon.


But nobody had to feel sorry for George this Friday night, it was obvious that just like everybody else in the arena he was having a  marvellous time. George was so good! Or maybe I should say we were so good. Because the energy of the crowd was just incredible, and George eagerly fed off of it until he was soaring - his voice gaining more strength and confidence,  and dancing and moving more freely than before. He radiated happiness. At the end he was running all over the stage, dancing, waving to the upper rows and giving the impression of having the time of his life.

I like the direction the show has taken, we're moving  slowly but surely back to 25Live territory. It seems that just like us George is up for a party after all the soul searching of Symphonica 2011. He urged us to get to our feet early on and with every song that was remotely right for it he wanted us to wave our arms like with Spinning The Wheel. Seriously, I was expecting the strobe lights to come on any minute!

The curtain opened for the second half on a crowd that was already standing for Waiting For That Day - eager to get on with the fun. George started dancing immediately, matching our mood. We got the arm swaying with George once again taking the lead! It was just like old times. From Russian Roulette on the whole place was on it's feet, everybody dancing and singing along. Big, big party!

Medley time = Party time

As if the night wasn't special enough he also chose this night to start introducing his band again, after thanking the Czech orchestra because it was their last night with the tour. I love him doing that because it's only fair that the members of the band all get their turn at the spotlights. I also love it because it's a chance to see one of George's cutest habits: the GM mistake. I don't think he's ever made it through the introductions without messing up at least once!  Who can blame him, it's a lot of text to go through and I doubt it's on the auto-cue. Today he got as far as introducing Phil Palmer before making a mistake! He wanted to say his last name but came up empty. So very cute. He smacked his forehead and and told us: I've known him for 30 years! Mr. Palmer just laughed, not in the least offended. Well, he has known George for 30 years, he knows what he's like! George also made the joke about the cardboard box of Mark McLean again, just giving it a light thump with his foot - earning him a rather pained laugh from Mark. Don't kick a musician's instruments, George!

And then it was time for the medley. I was looking around and all around me I saw the Ziggo Dome rocking, people jumping up and down, swaying, clapping and waving at George. Happy, glowing faces wherever I looked. It was bedlam - of the good kind! George went all out for Freedom, moving around so much his beatiful shirt slipped out of his pants. We got a good look at his lower belly. The belly-shot is a bit of a fan favourite, so there were lots of cameras clicking away!

After the medley there was yet more noise, I can't believe  how much noise we made. Neither could George. He clapped his left hand over his mouth, overcome by how much we cheered for him. Almost as if asking: All this - for me? Aww, humble George is such a sweetie.

And finally - George will remember us, no doubt about that!

I Remember You is back as the last encore, how nice! It was wonderful to see Michal showing us his talent as as harpist once again. And because tonight was so special, I Remember You was a fitting end to the show. Because I'm sure George will remember us, the Dutch crowd has given him some pretty nice memories. George agreed and told us: I love you, you were fucking fantastic"". Heh, George swearing a little is officially a good thing, proof that he is indeed getting back to his old self.

After I Remember You he took in the crowd's applause one more time and ran up the stairs. Once there he stopped, looking as if he didn't want the night to end. So a few more bows, a few more waves and then he was gone. Thank you so much George and please come back to us as soon as possible.

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