Back with a bang: George Michael returns to London stage with Symphonica and he's better than ever
20:25 GMT, 17 October 2012
George Michael – Symphonica (Earls Court)
Nearly a year after his brush with death after contracting pneumonia, George Michael is back on stage in his hometown of London.
Fortunately he made a full recovery, and it appears the illness could have made his voice sound even better.
For those unaware, Symphonica is not a traditional pop concert you may expect from the likes of George.
Back with a bang: George Michael performed his Symphonica tour for a three-night stint at Earls Court
Backed by a full orchestra, including an interval, the two-hour show is a sophisticated collection of his hits and some surprising covers.
The first section of the show was a lot more slower paced, with heavy jazz influences, giving George the opportunity to show his full vocal range.
He kicked things off by rousing the audience to their feet with an upbeat rendition of My Baby Just Cares For Me, before things got a bit more relaxed as everyone sat and listened to his honey-voiced vocals for his 1991 track Cowboys and Angels.
His jazzy cover of The Police’s Roxanne went down particularly well with the crowd.
Symphony: The singer was backed by a full orchestra for the show
In the second half of the show, things stepped up a gear with an even more surprising cover of Rihanna’s Russian Roulette. Dare I say it, but he actually sang the track way better than Rihanna ever could!
His Eighties classic Praying For Time was a real crowd pleaser with George encouraging the audience to sing along.
His cover of Feeling Good gave the orchestra a chance to show their full range.
Of course, George saved the best for last with Amazing, I’m Your Man and Freedom 90 for his encore, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of excitement and appreciation.
With his Wham! background and dance floor hits like Fast Love and Outside, many would consider George a pop artist.
Dapper: The singer performed in a smart purple suit for the second half of the two 'act' concert
But his ballads are what really showcases his unique voice and backed by an orchestra on the Symphonica tour, the familiar songs we’ve heard on the radio and albums are brought to a whole new level.
Despite being in such a large venue as Earls Court, the staging and George’s chatting in between songs gave the gig a more intimate feel.
While the concert was very different to what I expected, and missing a few of his dance numbers which I loved, Symphonica gives George the chance to represent himself as a true artist and powerful vocalist.
Finally seeing him sing in the flesh after hearing him on the radio for several decades, its easy to see why his voice has stood the test of time.
Back on his home turf: George's Symphonica tour came to Earls Court for three nights