SHE WANTS - AND MORE
ten days ago George Michael opened the brand new Wembley arena
with his state of the art 25Live show and we were incredibly
lucky to get the same thing - lock, stock and barrel - at Home
Park on Tuesday night, in what has to be the single most
spectacular live event ever presented in Plymouth.Only a couple
of weeks before, we had delighted in a concert by Elton John in
the very same venue.
But while George arguably doesn't quite have the crossover
sing-along back-catalogue of the Rocket Man, his stage show
visuals were, quite simply, in a completely different league.
His stage towered above the ancient Mayflower stand, taking up
nearly its entire width, the centrepiece being a vast metallic
screen which flowed seamlessly down to form the main platform
area, surrounded by an enormous runway that projected right into
the middle of the crowd.
Either side of the central screen were two further huge screens
and in between those another two, making five in all which
dazzled the mesmerised crowd throughout with stunning CG
graphics and visuals.
Projections included everything from diamonds falling through
space, to a towering cityscape viewed from a helicopter, to the
most simple yet impressive of all - an orange sun gradually
sinking into a rippling sea.
The opening stint had come courtesy of support artist Sophie
Ellis Bextor, who made up for her lack of lightshow by wearing
the sparkliest green metallic mini dress reflecting an evening
sun that few had dared hope for after the day's earlier deluge.
As she strutted her way with trademark bent-knee stalk-walk
through her sizeable collection of disco hits, culminating with
a funky rendition of Murder On The Dancefloor, she did indeed
succeed in getting the party started.
However the sizeable-if-not-quite-capacity crowd's buoyant mood
- again manifested in a series of Mexican waves around the
terraces a la Elton - was somewhat deflated by the late start of
the show due to 'technical difficulties'.
Within a couple of songs, however, the wow factor had taken over
and all that was forgotten as George kicked in, early on, with a
slick and sophisticated rendition of Fastlove that enticed the
up-for-it audience into dance and participation mode from the
off. The show itself belonged entirely to the main man - the
nine musicians in his phenomenal band were well hidden in among
the scaffolding and although his six backing singers and four
band members ventured out occasionally, by and large it was left
to George to cover the entire massive stage alone.
Four Wham songs made it into the set, the irresistibly
infectious I'm Your Man, Everything She Wants, plus Edge of
Heaven and Freedom, as the final encore.
A hi-octane delivery of Outside, after the break, in which
George donned an American cop uniform, proved a high point as
did the bongo-fuelled Faith and the heartfelt Amazing, "dedicated
to the man I love".
But actually some of the ballads - Jesus to a Child and Careless
Whisper - worked particularly well, with George at his melodic,
As we wandered home savouring this, the second superb show at
the home of the greens, we wondered who's next in store for this
excellent new city arena.