Some 12,000 fans have greeted pop star George Michael at his first ever concert in Croatia on Tuesday night.
The concert in capital Zagreb was the second one in the Symphonica tour.
The British singer and the 41 musicians in his orchestra opened the concert with the impeccable performance of his song "Enough".
Besides the great performances of the well known songs of other singers like 'Roxanne' (Police), 'Let Her Down Easy' (Terence Trent D’Arby) or jazz standard 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' the show had spectacular effects that inflamed the audience.
The singer came to Zagreb aboard his private airplane from Budapest, Hungary and left Croatia the same night.
Après Sting et Peter Gabriel, George Michael a succombé, à son tour, à la tentation d’une tournée « symphonique ».
C’est avec les 40 musiciens de l’Orchestre National de la République Tchèque que l’ex-chanteur de Wham! a entamé, le 22 août dernier à Prague, une tournée européenne de 65 dates, qui le conduit ce jeudi à Nice Nikaia, en avant-première française.
Le show, dont on peut voir la quasi-intégralité sur Youtube, en très bonne qualité d’images et de son, fait une large place aux titres anciens et moins connus du répertoire, réarrangés en versions orchestrales et aux reprises (New Order, Terence Trent D’Arby, Police, Amy Winehouse, Rihanna, Rufus Wainwright, Stevie Wonder).
Crooner des familles
Les grands tubes qui composaient la setlist de la tournée précédente (« 25 Live Tour », vue au Zénith-Omega de Toulon en 2006), sont ici essentiellement regroupés en fin de concert (Amazing, I’m your Man et Freedom enchainés au rappel).
Cette fois donc, pas de Wake me up before you go go ni même de Faith. À la place, Georgie Boy – voix de miel, tout de noir vêtu, lunettes teintées et barbe toujours savamment entretenue – se la joue crooner des familles avec My Baby just cares for me ou une version de Roxanne encore plus lente que celle de Sting sur sa propre tournée symphonique, passée cet été par Monaco.
Comme Sting (et contrairement à Peter Gabriel qui annonçait « ni guitare, ni batterie » sur les affiches de sa dernière et très soporifique tournée), George Michael a eu la bonne idée de conserver, aux côtés de l’orchestre symphonique, une petite formation « électrique » (basse, guitare batterie, percussions, choristes). Cela permet aux fans de danse de ne pas tout à fait s’endormir pendant le concert. Les projections vidéo et les lumières sont, par ailleurs, superbes avec d’étonnants effets 3D et d’émouvants hommages à Amy Winehouse et John Lennon. Pour se déchaîner, il faudra toutefois attendre la prochaine tournée puisque le chanteur anglais annonce un album « 100% dance » et « gay friendly ». En attendant, George joue les « Wham orchestre » ...
Changement dans l'ordre des chansons
My Baby Just Cares For Me
Cowboys & Angels
Going to a Town
Kissing A Fool
Let Her Down Easy
You Have Been Loved
Brother Can You Spare a Dime
John & Elvis
Wild Is The Wind
A Different Corner
Where I Hope You Are
Love is a Losing Game
Praying For Time
Amazing / I’m Your Man / Freedom
I Remember You
This was the beginning of the open air venues in the Classical, emotive, beautiful surroundings that is Italy. In order of performance it was Florence’s
Piazza Santa Croce, Naples Arena Italsider & two nights in Verona’s 1st Century Arena. Fans came in their hordes to sell out concerts by trains planes, automobiles and strings of tour buses.
There were more than 3,000 “foreign” Fans in Florence for the concert alone! Music tourism is big business.
I think I should begin with a tweet, which for me encapsulated the feel of the Italian concerts and of George Michaels Italian fans. I came across it while I was researching GM Lovelies’ tweets. Now doesn’t that sound better than stalking?
Tweeted during one of the Verona Concerts, “Behind me an Italian spectator kept saying Meraviglioso! Superbo! Incredibili! Magnifico! And of course: Bravo!!! I Make his my words! I’m so proud of being a GM Fan!”
The Italian concerts were noisy, vivacious, interactive and extremely appreciative. They had a wonderful time with their "Maestro Eleganza" and George
Michael reciprocated; “Awsome stu-pen-do!!”, “an ecstatic crowd…An unforgettable night”, “Applause for absolutely everything start, middle and end of songs…GM loving it”, “he’s funny enjoying
himself on stage”, “GM big grin on legs”.
The venues were each magical in their own way but throughout was a mass of twinkling lights like those of a religious vigil from phones all busily video taping. Camera flashes resembling exotic summer lightening storms were accompanied by the excited low hum of chattering fans whose enjoyment just could not be contained.
How could it? The summer nights were balmy lit by a glorious full moon. The surroundings where Classical and awe inspiring but in the moonlight they became
intimate, effusive and bewitching. Standing ovations became the norm for individual songs and there was a “Standing ovation for the first half“ never mind the end. @GeorgeMOfficial tweeted “I
think we might have a new more enthusiastic audience “ when talking about the last Verona Concert. But because they were all there to enjoy George Michael, silence would fall effortlessly when it
was required without ever once being requested.
On one of the video clips posted, someone either the GM Lovely taking it or their friend could be heard singing loudly along with George (off key)! I’ve no room to talk. Every time I come back from a GM concert I have no voice for two days! The kids are in heaven & love their Uncle George, Mummy can‘t shout!
“Uncle George” even thanked his “Lovelies” on stage. He pointed to the front rows and explained to the rest of the audience that, “that’s were they can be found“. Throwing financial caution to the wind, many Lovelies have attended their second or third concert already!
Florence, the medieval Athens of Europe and capital of Tuscany was the first of the open air venues. Cross the Ponte Vecchio and turn right, the 13th century Franciscan Basilica Santa Croce is on the left & George Michael ‘s stage was on its doorstep (literally)! The unassuming, rectangular piazzo bulged with the 6,000 brightly colour coded chairs and constructed tiered seating that surrounded the stage.
It looked congested until darkness fell and a beautiful full moon rose revealing a majestically moonlit backdrop of the Basilica Santa Croce. Its Neo-gothic front had a crisp outline with its spire looking as if it crowned the stage. Softly lit windows, brightly lit balconies were dotted with smiling people that defied earlier press coverage of complaining residents. It resembled an outdoor version of the Prague Opera house with its boxes, minus the guilt and ruby velvet!
Sigh! Just to be able to tweet --watching George from my balcony, more wine anyone--? Hymp! Oh they did, believe me those Italians did! “George is singing
outside my window”, “…can hear George… singing from my terrace”. Excuse me while I tear my clothes off and turn green before I Hulk I mean sulk! They were captured along with the paying audience
on the Symponiacam which I had a lot of fun with! “Research” can cover a multitude can’t it? There was even a video of the crowd being interviewed while waiting for their “Rock Icon” to begin
(Notizie Firenze). A photo of the crowd was posted on the George Michael fan club site so fans could tag themselves and anyone they knew at this concert! All positive tweets flowed from the
concert goers, ”Great Visual concept on top of a superb orchestra”, “Che Magnifico!” “Amazing 1st half”.
The Piazza di Santa Croce offered the first real view of the enormous, highly complex stage. No curtain folks! Surely the stage crew didn’t take the previous suggestion of dissecting it for souvenirs seriously! The large flat but slightly concaved screen used for the iridescent 3D visuals could be easily seen. It was the full height & width of the stage and computerized (windows operated). A wee bird whispered something about an additional selection of Christmas visuals but being the “font” of discretion I couldn’t possibly comment further! So what’s happening near Christmas then George? I promise not to tell!
The Gi-normous stage looked as if it shrunk radically by comparison at the last Italian venue, the 1st AD century Roman Amphitheatre in Verona. Purpose built centuries ago during the height of the Roman empire to display Verona’s State games and shows it held 30,00 spectators and still retains all its pomp and ceremony. The previously colossal stage now blends in, looking stoic in its new surroundings, echoing the superb simplicity of the massive oval arena with its 40 rows of stone tiered seats! Don’t forget your cushions peeps!
The fans in the posh seats were at the front stalls and the first 20 rows of the tiers. They had modern chaired seating overlaying the stone and filling the
centre of the arena, in front of the stage. The top half ( 20 rows ) was au natural, which in Irish temperatures would mean Piles!
With phenomenal natural acoustics its no wonder the soundcheck itself sounded so fabulous. Pictures were posted of the fans listening in the queues outside, “Clear as a bell”, “A mini version of Symphonicia”. “Had the time of my life during the sound check”. David Austin was spotted during one of the the sound checks, up on the stage chatting and was photographed with fans after the concert.
Wonderful pictures showed “Crowds trickling in as the sunsets”. Comments and pictures flowed endlessly as the concert progressed, “Breathtakingly fantastic“. “Amazing, rollercoaster ride, goose bumps, tears in my eyes and a very happy feeling. Really special being here”. “Amazing George and Amazing orchestra…I lived my dream”.
The audiences were loud and responsive “beyond belief“ on both nights. “If the venue had a roof it would have gone off”. @GeorgeMOfficial tweeted, “Alright Verona get ready to shake your ass!” The medley rocked the stadium with noise, “we all had fun, GM said ‘sing for me’, we did”.
Amongst the relaxed banter George “asked for a big hand for David Austin before singing John And Elvis Are Dead”. “George tonight were the best vocals so far according to David Austin: I heard him say it”. There seems to be a lot of coming and going and promotional press work off stage. George himself jetted to London in between concerts to support the launch of Kaleidoscope, a new charity against gay prejudice with Sir Elton John.
The consummate professional he got back to Italy on time for his concert without a hitch. However some Italian Gremlins must have got tickets for the show
as well! George slipped on stage and “nearly broke my leg” according to him! Another wee bird told me it was over the autocue but don’t say I told you! Wonder was this because he nearly forgot to
thank his backing singers? Or was he just having too much fun!
“George is absolutely incredible and in a good mood”. He had also apologised for having to cancel a concert in the same arena 23 years ago due to heavy rain and safety constraints and promised to “make up for it”. Even though George did thank them, Jay, Shirley, Lucy & Lincoln were also very much appreciated by the fans. They were enthusiastically applauded by them when they were spotted outside the arena as they were leaving. They are also losing their Twitter shyness and tweeting so go on Lovelies show them some #Twitlove & follow them @GMSingers!
Not only has George Michael wooed his Italian audiences, he’s being wooed by the Italian press! “A concert of impeccable class…most chic of the year…witty connection with his Italian audience….brought not only the Gifts of his own music but…a voice capable of conveying emotions in song, sung by other great artists…” L’Arena.it 15th September.
“A career marked…by unparalleled skill as an artist and musician and…commitment to clarity…Not for nothing is he considered one of the greatest British singer/songwriters. In the Verona Arena for over 2 hours George literally enchanted the audience with his elegant voice, sweet and powerful. At the same time mixing jazz and pop harmonized with a 41 piece orchestra. He appeared in great shape…with songs chosen from a repertoire of nearly 30 years…and accompanied by.. Covers of songs he loves himself”. Itali@Magazine 14th September. The rest of the papers show a multitude of fantastic concert pictures and echo those previous sentiments, “Delirious audiences” Corrier Del Veneto.it 14th Sept. “Deep multifaceted voice” IO AMO Frienze 12th Sept and some referred to his “Steel voice”.
To George Michael, the Official fan clubs, the now, regular hard working contributors and those “New” Lovelies who tweeted I will not offer my thanks this
time, instead I will let another. I think somehow it will mean far more.
“George Michael is making me so happy! How can I thank everyone who unselfishly shares a piece of George Michael from the Symphonica Tour Bless You All”!