Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Fri 5 Oct
words SCOTT PARSONS
Outside the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena groups of women aged over 40 arrive arm in arm, rambunctious and merry. The scene resembles a well known advert for Britain’s most popular chemist.
So here come the girls (women) and once inside these Georgettes grab an overpriced mini bottle of Pino, toast Heather Trott and await the arrival of Mr Panayiotou. The Georgettes get restless and rightly so, having returned from a serious bout of pneumonia, George Michael is back, accompanied by his Symphonica Orchestra and still possessing that fantastic soulful voice.
He begins behind a big red curtain. No, it really is massive and blood-red, in a David Lynch way. When the stage is lit, we hear George’s vocals and spot a silhouette. The Georgettes go bonkers. The sporadic sprinkling of husbands and second husbands clutch their bottled beers and crane their necks to see what all the fuss is about. The mega curtains part and there he is, slim, classically be-stubbled and wearing a fetching purple blazer. He greets the sea of phones in front of him and despite seeming relaxed, keeps the between-song interaction to a professional minimum.
He is George Michael and he sings what he wants. We are given a diet jazz version of Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me and a couple of songs off his early solo albums. The Georgettes’ screams are reduced during the slower numbers, especially when George introduces a Rufus Wainwright song (somebody they’ve clearly never heard of). A mild hysteria is briefly achieved again when George walks from one side of the stage to the other (the Georgettes really enjoy his walking) or when the orchestra swings and George’s hips wiggle during the coda of Wild Is The Wind.
After the interval George continues to aurally excite the Georgettes with more solo delights peppered with covers (The Police’s Roxanne is given a makeover). The Vegas vibe is only finally shaken off when George relents and gives the Georgettes what they crave and showers them with Wham! during the encore. Tonight, George truly is their man. The husbands and second husbands fold their arms.