George Michael, The Palais Garnier, Paris - by Marie Larmour



The Palais Garnier, historic home to the Phantom Of The Opera was literally rocked tonight by George Michael in a gala event for the Aids Charity Sidaction. For the first time also the Palais Garnier was #Twitterlive. George Michael’s #Symphonica concert was followed by a fundraising dinner in its lavish hall. Many of the French celebrity elite attended, Line Tenaud, Arielle Domnassle, Amel Bent, Baptiste Giabiconi and Nicos Aliagas.

The Palais Garnier or Opera De Paris is arguably the most famous and most lavish in Europe. Friezes of Greek gods and bronze busts of Beethoven and Mozart, greet all in the front fa├žade. No Pop star before George Michael’s original gala date, which was postponed due to his recent illness, had ever performed there. Its sumptuous Baroque, red velvet, gold leaf Romanesque style is crowned by a 7 tonne chandelier which lit the auditorium throughout the show. This drew the remark on stage from George Michael that it was strange to see a lot of the press as he performed.

The dress code was formal although the warm weather and a capacity filled 2,000 plus auditorium did nothing to alleviate the sticky atmosphere or the complaints of this modern audience that the seats were uncomfortable! Its four tiered, ornately pillared balconies and balcony boxes were covered in gold leaf, replete with cherubs, nymphs and red velvet. They unbelievably withstood the excitement of the happy fans that filled them.

However once the concert got under way with the now familiar Through, the crowd soon raised the temperature even more and then raised its very lavishly painted, concave, doomed golden roof! George wore a black suit and shirt open at the neck without a tie, displaying the cross he wore at his Vienna concerts. "George is looking mighty fine with his black on black look". This concert followed the same set list as Vienna (described in the previous Vienna Review). Then as now was the inclusion of the same set changes of; Father Figure in the first half, waiting For That Day opening the second half and White Light closing the show.

The concert was indeed another Twitter Live event with George Michael’s Lovelies (his Twitter followers) tweeting from inside the Opera house. This was despite massive problems his official Twitter site experienced due to "Zero internet signal". "Anyhoo, we’re on intermission now, so I can tweet from outside (the auditorium). The crowd has stood and danced at every opportunity. #Symphonica - Bev". The Dutch Twitter fan site @GeorgeMichaelNL, in the auditorium was able to circumvent this and got their concert tweets out to the fans online as they happened in real time. "Just ran out (of the auditorium during the second half) to say follow @GeorgeMichaelNL for concert tweets. They have signal and are fab! - Bev #Symphonica".

rom this feed of pictures and concert posts and from other Lovelies there, it was evident that many of the old 2011 Tour favourites were well and truly back! "Bonsoir Paris, Ce Va?" beamed a happy George Michael! The audience was LOUD in their posh frocks with fans excitedly bouncing out of the balconies as George Michael approached their side of the stage. "There’s one person who is hanging over the balcony, that enthusiastic!!!!" Conversely they sat quiet as mice during the slow numbers. "Amazing atmosphere, the place was rocking from the start. Was high up, but George’s smile was so big I could clearly see it LOL". "Audience is lifting the roof off during Waiting for That Day!" George was sitting nonchalantly at times on a chair singing his heart out other times tripping over the autocue and getting sandwiched in between his two female singers, Shirley Lewis and Lucy Jules during the dance medley. These ladies continue to be the envy of many a Lovely as their hands are never on their own hips! Everyone’s hands were in the air and "The entire Opera is going crazy" "Voice still steller. He’s just awesome! The ambience superb". This was the familiar crazy George Michael party that everyone had come to expect in the 2011 Symphonica Tour before he was struck down in November. "George is back!!!" And with the last chords of white light came the words that fans all love and hate at the same time...


"Thank you you’ve been fantastic"...But then there was a lovely little kicker...

"See you next tour!"