Saturday, July 5, 2008


George Michael plays Vancouver's GM Place

It appears as though I'm right on track to relive the 80's as much as possible in the course of one short week. That fact is thanks to me and the gang checking out a couple of live concerts by superstars from that big hair era. Make that, "Big Hair-a."

Not only did I manage to catch Cyndi Lauper and the B-52's last week, I also saw George Michael at GM Place last night. We took advantage of an Actual. Ticketmaster. Sale. which had tickets for George Michael available for 25 bucks! When was the last time you got to see a major recording artist performing live for less money that it takes to fill up your gas tank? Of course, thanks to Ticketmaster's "convenience" fee, the final price was $40.

By the way, Ticketmaster, I've yet to hear a plausible definition of just what exactly is a "convenience" fee. Is it for the convenience of allowing about 2 minutes on your website to decide if the seats which your software finds for me are appropriate for my requirements, not to mention worth an exorbitant sum before your site hits timeout and I'm forced to perform a ticket search all over again? Or is it for reducing the number of physical ticket outlets so that ticket buyers are forced into virtual hell? Or is it for…

Anyway, I imagine '25' was the magic number for the ticket price because the tour is titled "25 Live" to celebrate GM's 25 years in the recording biz. I've actually seen (and met) George Michael before, but that was a long time ago and I gotta be honest… I definitely didn't expect he'd have the kind of pull he used to have, but sure enough GM Place was packed to the rafters (which, conveniently, is precisely where our tickets placed us).

Thanks to the beer (which is $7.50 a serving), I kinda lost track of exactly how long the show was but it felt like it was way over 2 hours (plus a 20 minute intermission). The show was high energy and a lot of fun actually.

What was really impressive was the fact that the crowd was so into the show. Let's face it, Vancouver audiences can be pretty reserved (read: lame) in their response to live performances although lately I've seen some rather lively audiences at the Adele and Mika shows. For George Michael, everyone at GM Place was on their feet from the floor seats - all the way up to the nosebleeds.

The set list was just hit after hit after stinking pop hit. When you hear all his songs in a row like we did at the concert, you can realize just how prolific his career has been thus far. He played ancient Wham! tunes like Careless Whisper, A Different Corner, Everything She Wants and I'm Your Man. He also played pretty much everything off of the Faith album except I noted I Want Your Sex was nowhere to be heard. There was also lots of 90's tunes like Too Funky, Fastlove and Praying for Time (that's the one he did on American Idol this past season).

I think one of GM's best tunes is Freedom. After two encores, that song was the final song of the night. It was a definite crowd pleaser. Here's a video of it which is shot pretty much from the same vantage point we had for the show. At the end of the clip, you'll see production credits - those were actually displayed live on stage as the show came to a close. Never seen that before. Anyway, here's the clip - enjoy...

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