Birmingham, 16 & 17 September 2012 - by Marie Larmour



George Michael By TwitterLight in Birmingham 2012


Originally I started this ALL professional!! DON’T SMIRK that’s just cruel!! It was just the one introductory paragraph...as you do...sticking to the JUST the Facts!! I SAID don’t smirk!! I kinda waxed a bit too lyrical with the previous Amsterdam review, (ever so slightly) giving my Dutch Twitter Team Lovelies a bit of a teasing and ear bending! Now it’s me that’s bent out of shape, after they found my new hiding place...(the Google Bar with my newly invented cocktail, clasped tightly in my hand..."the George Michael Frisk"). My new Twitter family passed this adopted "Dutchie from the left hand side" VERY Roughly and threatened to EDIT me severely!! Oh THE SHAME!!! ME!!! EDITED out of my own bullshit!! So I have to be good...oh no I’ve got to the end of the first paragraph already!! Right I’ll start again...Ssssh say nothing and they mightn’t notice, I haven’t heard from them yet on my timeline!! Let’s hope this is a re-start and not a RE-BOOT!!

Le Grand Tour is done and dusted, Europe is conquered...AGAIN!!!...and George Michaels’s Symphonica Tour with its fleet of red Redburn trucks and their 150 tons of equipment have arrived in Blighty! Yes I’m possessed with those big red and white Vrooms Vrooms....(Possessed is #Irishspeak for obsessed), admit it who wouldn’t want to look all cool like Andy Barr (@redtruckontour, posing up the M1 Motorway! Mind you he might need to reverse it in for me, if they want the concert to start on time!! Oh no!  I’m waffling again!! Right! Big Red Truck safely parked in stadium rear, head in gear and we’re off again!!  Hot on the heels of an unbelievable reception in Amsterdam two days previously, the very proud Marshall Arts presents George Michael to a capacity crowd of 15,700 for two nights, 16th & 17th September in the LG Arena in Birmingham. This state of the art large modern arena, formerly known as the NEC, was recently upgraded to the tune of £29 million and will launch the English leg of his tour, rescheduled from December last year.

It’s in a lovely setting off the M1 (motorway) round Pendigo way and beside the lovely Pendigo Lake. Sigh; well we all know where I’m going to end up if I’m not careful!! I’ll be "edited" into the lake, traumatising the ducks!! Ssshh pretend I’m being good and doing what I’m told ‘cos the Dutch Twitter Teams tweeting and sending in their first pic..."Having breakfast in Birmingham. Tonight is the first show of @GeorgeMichael in the UK". Well pardon us!!! They’re ONLY on the canals already (!!!!), on a barge (a big looong boat), having a full English!!! NO BEHAVE yourselves...When I cracked that "yolk" I was already told that George Michael wasn’t breakfast...he was DINNER!! Ahem excuse me Twitter troops, what time do you call this to be reporting in??? It’s nearly too late to call it Brunch!! I’ve already posed up the motorway & parked me vroom vroom at the back of the LG arena!!! No...It’s not jet lagged you lot are at this stage, its DEBT lagged after sooo many Symphonicas! (19 for this particular Lovely & she’s not the only one!)  But you have to admire their style and lack of kids, hymph! #thethingswecantdoforgeorgecosofkids! 

These serial concert goers have my utmost admiration and jealousy (can you tell?) however I would like to raise a serious point....why are you lot looking surprised!!!! I CAN be serious! I shall continue unabated!! (Ha see it’s a new fancy word for your total disbelief not slowing me down!) Surely such FAN-ancial dedication should be rewarded! Don’t panic folks @GeorgeMOfficial, I’m not about to raid your tour piggy banks...just yet!!! Why can’t there be reduced multiple ticket rates?? Especially for Access members??? Sieving through the tweets, as I do, I’ve come across NUMEROUS Lovelies who have been at Symphonica all over Europe many times. Even His Nibs is bound to recognise the faces by now!! And while we are on the subject I would like to suggest a family ticket!!! I have come across families going and Mums and daughters...AND more importantly...I’M UP FOR ADOPTION!!!! Me’s fed up being the ONLY Grass (Symphonica) Widow left online FOREVER. My pet lip has been out since the tour started last year (#Irishspeak for feeling all neglected and curling your bottom lip like a baby does before it starts to cry). I’ve dropped hints, made job applications, volunteered AND EVEN BEEN NICE!!! but to no avail L L! Symphonica just doesn’t want me...pet lip’s curled down over my double chin now!! Whilst moaning, oops I mean expressing my discontent about NOT being at the Symphonica concerts, as you do, @KelNo1Georgefan replied that she was feeling the same but before I could sympathise with her she tweeted she was going to Birmingham...AND then said...she’d been to Symphonica before!..."haha, Yes 3 times and I’m trying to convince my finance to buy me more tickets".

So never missing an opportunity I responded..."Ha I’m up for adoption if your fiancĂ©’s buying a ticket!!!!"...Well...I AM!! Much as I love all you unwashed online,...NEEDS MUST!! I always have a pre-concert shower...just incase!! However so far I’m still stuck to my chair and computer!!...maybe I should towel dry as well!!!...FAMILY TICKET HOLDERS...This way please!!!!!

Next tweet said nonchalantly, "Sight seeing in Birmingham, spending time before #Symphonica tonight #thethingswedoforgeorge".  They weren’t the only ones...next tweet in my twitter door was..."In a hotel across the way waiting for it all to start...loving it...can’t wait x".  I’d seen the hotel earlier on my virtual travels and wondered if any of the Lovelies were in there.  I should have known who, shouldn’t I, Sandra???  Give room service a break there girl!! I know that wee waiter looks like George in his Careless Whisper days, but Guilty Feet definitely don’t need their shoes polished that many times!! She was "missing Patience but still a piece of heaven for me to hear him sing...Sigh..." "I’m so excited about tonight. I’ve no idea what George Michael is like in the rest of the UK, only seen him in London till now". This was another Dutch serial Symphonica-er!!!! At this concert she was in her 20’s......!!!

I’ll leave that sentence ending, deliberately hanging unfinished in mid air, as if she really is only in her 20’s!!...SIGH, Aren’t we all!!!  She’s now officially my wee BESTEST friend!! Due to her kindness (and my online whining) I very nearly got to see His Nibs again in person!! She had a spare ticket for the first show and told me to get on a plane and meet her in Birmingham!! My maternal instincts were SEVERELY tested!! I was left reeling from her thoughtfulness and rocking in my chair lamenting my new found affliction! No sleep-in babysitters!! Wee son said to a friend of mine, (unfortunate enough to visit that night), "Mum’s past depressed...she’s suicidal!!!" ‘Out of the mouth of babes...’...even smart mouthed ones like mine’s! I have been "Touched by Dutch Angels"!! Now that kind of Dutch abuse I could take any day of the week! Thank you my Lovely. 

George Michael is right; he does have the best, most thoughtful, supportive fans both for each other as well as for him!! Wracking what little brains I had, I was trying to think of some way to show her my appreciation. On an instinct, I tweeted Bev at GeorgeMOfficial and Ed Barker. I told them what had happened and asked them for a shout out to her in the auditorium if they got the chance. Without hesitation, Bev said she would and agreed she was "indeed a Lovely Lady". Ed thoughtfully told me that he’d dedicate "every note of his first Symphonica solo to her", for her kindness! This is indeed a very supportive George Michael Community stretching from his fans, fan sites and Twitter fan bases, right through to the Symphonica performers and crew. It’s truly heart lifting for me to be able to feel apart of it. Now that you’ve seen my big soft blobby side and how "touched" I really am...#Irishpeak for insane...I think there’s a concert starting with or without us and it’s high time I shut up and let your tweets and those of Bev from @GeorgeMOfficial, @GeorgeMichaelNL, @SymphonicaTour & @GMichaelNews do the reviewing!!!

Bev from @GeorgeMOfficial tweeted, "You ready for tonight Birmingham?...On the train as I type, see you tonight Bev x #Symphonica".  @MarshallArts tweeted, "Hello Birmingham! @GeorgeMichael brings to the @thelgarena TONIGHT!  This is the re-scheduled 9th of December show. Who’s coming?"  Ha! You don’t want to know wee Marshall!!!...They were coming in their droves literally by planes trains and automobiles..."@GeorgeMichael M1 now...Heathrow in 30mins...on my way.  Wait for me LOL x".  The George Michael take over was officially out of the starting gates! Twitter was indeed alive to the official home coming of George Michael, hours before he tweeted himself, "On my way up the M1!...By co-incidence, radio playing Hometown Boys by Duran Duran...Now Now Piers (Morgan) the M1 is a motorway People...". Piers Morgan had tweeted asking him "is that a euphemism?" (referring to George saying he was "on his way up") Ha, as you can tell, back also is the homespun irreverence from friends and the press. His purple "Cadbury suit" would also be dusted off & donned for the Northern crowds. ("Cadburys make them and covers them in chocolate!!!!...NUTS OH HAZELNUTS") Sorry couldn’t resist that wee outburst...showing my age I know! This is my kind of reporting people...Its good not to be the only smart mouth in town!!! Oops shutting it again! 

It was getting near the time for Ed Barker’s (@Edthejazzman) Symphonica debut..."I can’t wait for the whole gig let alone the Cowboys and Angels solo!" He is replacing Pavel Dvorak on the Saxophone and was about to get his first taste of Symphonica live and the George Michael Lovelies!!! Be gentle on him Lovelies and don’t forget to follow him, he’s tweeting his wee heart out during the tour and posting tour video snippets on his blog! Wee Hayley the violinist @HayleyPomfrett is also tweeting about the tour, so show her some Twitter Love too Lovelies. This is round two of Symphonica for her as she was here first time round as well. She started tweeting about His Nibs’ tour part 2 at the end of August, beginning of September. "Had a great week of rehearsals for the George Michael's Symphonica tour, first UK show in Birmingham on the 16th!" These two are by no means "wee" in their respective fields!!! "Wee" in this instance I use in the affectionate Irish colloquial pronoun form!!...I CAN sound as if I’ve been to "big Skool" you know! Wee Ed Barker has just come back from L. A. where he was hobnobbing with the Jazz elite among others and gigging with non other than the Jazz Legend Dave Koz. He has his own group, written the material for his CD out since August and was produced by Michael Parlett (another Jazz Legend, who also co-wrote one of the tracks with Ed). Hayely’s just back from recording for Paul Weller. She was busy playing for the Queens Diamond Jubilee and Adele & Desert Island Discs’ 70th Anniversary Prom, the latter two were in the Royal Albert Hall. She’s also recorded with Pink, Celine Dion, Cassandra and Olly Murs and has played support for Sting, Lulu & Katherin Jenkins among others.

Anyway...you know how fussy His Nibs is when it comes to anything he puts his heart into,...how could he have anyone other than the cream of all these very diverse musical disciplines. Classically trained perform side by side on stage with Jazz specialists, Pop musicians and singers and they all effortlessly cover these styles as well as Big Band Swing and Funk. They are constantly learning from each other and growing together. But as usual don’t take my word for it, you Doubting Thomas’s!!! It’s just as well, (polishing halo) I have a forgiving nature...and a tough hide to go with my big gob!! Me and our wee Ed were having a chat recently. He was passing the time on the tour bus and I was being my nosey self...ahem I mean I was diligently researching interesting tour topics for you all! I was interested in the mix of musicians and how they all accommodated each others musical genres!! (Well...I asked him how they were all getting on together and what the craic was like at rehearsals & on the bus!!) He thinks I’m really intelligent and asked really great questions...and as he’s the only one...I very happy not to burst his wee bubble...SO YOU LOT KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT!!

When talking about the other Musicians Ed said, "I often play jazz and funk stuff so it’s great to be playing for George’s pop ballads. Most of the gig for me is on the clarinet so it is amazing learning from the classical clarinet player in the orchestra and sitting alongside the oboist. They all know exactly how to get the perfect notes out of the instrument and have given me lots of advice. Everyone is so helpful as well as being so good at what they do"...When talking about his first love the saxophone and playing it on stage in Symphonica he said, "I am more of a sax player and every time I play sax, it is a big band style piece like, My Baby Just Cares For Me, Feeling Good etc or my solo which allows me more of an opportunity to play as a soloist like I usually do". Ha we all know who’s responsible for the impromptu Jazz jamming of the Symphonica’s classically trained London Symphonic Orchestra at rehearsals...not pointing any saxophones!! George Michael’s usual endless search for Perfectionism demands supreme talent from everyone. This supreme talent working in tandem with each other, propels even these crafts’ men and women into another stratosphere of excellence.  They collectively amaze audiences nightly with the phenomenon which is #Symphonica. So never mind Follow Friday #FF.  Follow our new Tour de Forces!!! 

We’re back off the bus now and at the LG Arena. Gone is The Czech National Symphony Orchestra and in its place..."Already hearing the subtly different playing styles during the sound check with the London Symphony Orchestra. Bev", (from George Michael’s Official Twitter site). Don’t go plucking your hair out Lovelies, our wee Michal Matejick, Symphonica’s ever popular harpist is still there, along with George Michael’s singers and sextet, lead by Henry Hey on Piano. Even the soundchecks and rehearsals were relayed to the fans. @MarshallArts (George Michael’s UK promoters) tweeted, "The Symphonica orchestra are on stage and I’ll tell you that they sound majestic. The countdown to @GeorgeMichael at the @thelgarena continues". @GeorgeMOfficial tweeted, "@GeorgeMichael in a very good mood indeed joking with @JVoxAcademy Bev #Symphonica". Ed Barker (@Edthejazzman) tweeted "@GeorgeMichael...awesome in rehearsals". @GMichaelNews tweeted, "It will be a special one tonight @GeorgeMichael is back ‘Round Here’". The LG Arena tweeted, "We are so excited for George Michael here tonight and tomorrow. Who’s coming?"  

"Right see you out on the floor for Facebook fan pics!  Bev #Symphonica." "Neil and Pete are on the Forum Live Stage before George Michael, warming up the crowd". @HayleyPomfrett tweeted, "About to go on stage in Birmingham with George Michael". "Weird noises from behind the curtain some drum sounds and a clang or two, LOL. Not tuning yet just lads having fun maybe". We never heard from @themarkmclean yet, maybe it was him, tightening his big bass!!! Ahem I’m not even going to comment on that tweet...but she does strangely sound as if she knows what she’s talking about  ;-0 !! "The LG Arena is full and the orchestra is tuning up #Symphonica #GeorgeMichael."  "#Symphonica Excited now that I know George Michael is in a good mood.  Expecting lots of jokes and fun tonight. Dutch crowd thawed him out :0".  @GMFamilyForums tweeted, "Looking forward to a wonderful ‘Twitterfest’...have a wonderful evening...*Hugs*...<3".  "Got my sim card and dongle Huzzah-Bev".  Birmingham’s LG Arena was going #Twitterlive tonight! Lets hope the following night stays alive too!!  

Signal...Dutch Twitter Team...Bev...And...ACTION!!..."The curtains are open, the audience going crazy". "What a noise! Nice work Birmingham :0 Bev #Symphonica". Through kicked off the concert and George Michael appeared relaxed, confident and completely at ease. "First impression voice is good!" "George Michael is wearing a purple suit, black shirt and that thingie around his neck :p :0" (Honestly troops...HOW MANY TIMES...its a CROSS & CHAIN!! Our George is BUTCH!), they were referring to his now familiar, decorative, silver cross and chain. He was big butch and doing his ‘Arnie’ impersonation  "Birmingham I’m F**king back!" Says George taking over the stage and arena and swinging into My Baby Just Cares For Me...(see I told you he was butch!...Yes Yes that was a big butch swing into the first Big Band number!...And yes you can be butch and have rhythm!!). "Ok it’s back to the 80’s, feel free to click your fingers" and Fadi Fawaz could be seen clicking his along to Father Figure. "You look amazing Birmingham", said an exuberant George. "George Michael looks fantastic at the LG Arena". "Am at LG arena watching George Michael the legend.  Lordy can he sing". "And we’re creeping into the 90’s here with Cowboys And Angels now with @Edthejazzman on the sax solo! Bev #Symphonica".  "George says ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, on the Saxophone Mr Ed Barker”.  “He (Ed ) sounds great! B. (Bev)".

"Kissing A Fool and the audience went ‘oooooooh’ and George went ‘oh yes’". "I did not expect to tweet this but...F**k me George Michael sings like an angel!" The Symphonica veterans of course had an even more specialised opinion..."A few tiny slips during the fast part of Kissing A Fool, it remains a b*tch that part J". Next, Going To A Town, George said, " ‘I love you. You keep standing up Birmingham’ Bev #Symphonica". "This next song is about a father talking to his daughter’s first lover Let Her Down Easy". The next tweet came from a Symphonica veteran of many concerts in Europe, "Maybe it’s the venue but the UK Symphonica Orchestra sounds slightly ‘fuller’...". She was referring to the difference in sound between the orchestras...these veterans miss NOTHING!! "The crowd seems spellbound by You Have Been Loved Bev #Symphonica". "Ok the next song I heard when I was on a show with David Bowie...It’s from Johnny Mathis", said George. "And the audience is up during the fast part of Wild Is The Wind". "'You could have stayed at home and watched the X Factor', George Michael says with a laugh. The crowd disagrees, J Bev #Symphonica". "That might lead you to believing that I watch the X Factor...Well I do but only because my boyfriend loves it."  "George is dancing away, we love it!". Next it’s the first set closer, “Brother Can you Spare A Dime..."And we have arrived at the interval".

"Not many artists sound as good live as recorded but George is definitely the best xx." "George Michael...Best live concert EVER and I’ve seen some big names before!!" "It’s a fun crowd, reacting to George’s every move; LOL. Every dance move gets a HUGE cheer LOL. They’re pretty loud."  "...Awesome sound J".  "George Michael singing Father Figure with a full symphony orchestra = goose bumps and tears streaming down my face. That song moves my soul."  "Lovely first half. As he said himself, he is Back! Voice is great again and he is having fun, giving us a few jokes". "For the fans who ‘know’ George, he lost any nerves he may have had during Wild Is The Wind, since he is THERE again. Press left, may help! :)."  

Now I’m checking for security,...as I relay this next bit ‘cos the second half is about to start.....Oh Good! Darren’s busy at the other side of the stage!!.. This tweet came in..."Smuggled in @************ in the empty seats in front of me, in lieu for a ride into town. Good deal I think, LOL".  "@********** Real good deal. Big Thank you", came the tweeted reply. This was a wee PRIVATE conversation that I caught about a couple of empty seats in front of one Lovely...See!! I can keep a secret...anyway if I print their names here; I can’t very well blackmail them, can I?? "And we’re off again #Symphonica".  "Waiting For That Day and the crowd loves it! We’re back for the second half - Bev #Symphonica." "This song was co-written with my best friend David Austin. Let’s hear it for David! Screams for John And Elvis Are Dead. And cheers for co-writer @David_austin - Bev #Symphonica".  "George Michael singing Roxanne right now".   

No its not you, I find the second half always seems to go at warp speed as well!! "The next song is written by a group called New Order and it’s about the nature of addiction" says George about True Faith.  "Audience sang along to A Different Corner and George received a standing ovation in the LG Arena in Birmingham. #Symphonica"..."Loud Cheers".  "Alternating screams and raptured silence during A Different Corner, ending with wild stomping. George Michael asked the crowd to calm down for You’ve Changed :0". As usual the Lovelies SOMETIMES do as they are told...but just not this time!! "‘You can’t get up, this is a slow one’, You’ve Changed...in other words...don’t start rushing to the stage just yet!! J haha".  This advice was too late..."Russian Roulette and we are in front of the stage!"  "George Michael covering #Rihanna...#Genius." "Okay its time for the hand wave, come on", said George and it was Praying For Time. This time the Lovelies DID do as they were told!!! By the second night they had the hand wave well sussed.

"I can report that George Michael’s voice is incredible live: way better than 8 track/vinyl/cassette/cd/mini-disc/MP3/etc #legend @LGArena".  It’s unbelievably that time already unfortunately..."‘Ok Birmingham are you Feeling Good?’ #Symphonica". "George Michael is feeling good". "Birmingham loves Feeling Good!!! Lots of whistling & stamping!". "I WAS NOT EXPECTING @DitavonTeese TO BLOW MY MIND DURING GEORGE MICHAEL #toohot #howdoihandlethat". "Wowww LOTS OF NOISE as George exits the stage. The band (Sextet and Singers) takes their places for the encore medley, the lights come up and the crowd goes mad, stomping and screaming. Bev #Symphonica".  "George is back again to a very loud LG Arena". "You like making noise", said George, "F**king amazing". "Birmingham you have been the F**king best". Before the thank yous, George leads the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to one of his ‘best’ and ‘oldest friends’, Paula, who is the best friend of Melanie, his sister. "During Happy Birthday for his sister’s best friend...there was good humoured banter...Henry Hey started it off on the piano...George said, ‘who said you could choose the key?’". He asked the crowd to thank his band and "‘Give a huge f**king cheer for the orchestra’- Bev #Symphonica". "That’s all the thank yous...here is something for you!", said George and he starts the medley.

"George Michael now doing medley of greatest hits.  #imsold." Amazing, Freedom and I’m Your Man followed as the orchestra looked on and George Michael and his band had the LG dancing everywhere they were not supposed to, even the security staff couldn’t resist a little wiggle!! "George Michael is bloody on fire tonight!!"  "Birmingham goes ‘We want George’!!!". "The question has been answered (of when the harp solo of I Remember You would replace White Light as the closer).  Tonight’s second encore song is...I Remember You". Michal Matejick is on the massive Symphonica screens. "A lot of ‘I love you’s’ from the audience. On the last ‘you’ in I Remember You, George points at us and it shows the audience on the screens". George leaves for the final time, the curtains close and the orchestra continues to play the “Outro” Free. No more George. 

"Have to say George Michael puts on one hell of a show". "@GeorgeMichael You sound better than ever! Waited my entire life to see you live and now I finally have #amazing". "@GeorgeMichael’s still got it! Magnificent", "Ain’t going to lie @George Michael’s #Symphonica was absolutely amazing..." Given the size of the arena and the energy of the audience in the massive LG stadium, this tweet really sums up the magic felt and the joy given..."George Michael pulled off a difficult trick tonight making an arena gig feel intimate. Was a bit apprehensive of the concept but it was ace!". The first Symphonica in England of George Michael’s resumed 2012 Tour was a LOUD resounding success.

The second night was the same resounding success as its predecessor. I have included a shortened version of the 'bits' that were different from the first night! There was the usual pics of 'Big Red', The Symphonica curtain and the usual showing off of the brilliant seats that those 'Lovelies' ALWAYS want to share!!! You know the ones I mean...The 'Touchable Seats',...the ones we all want to get at a concert...BUT NEVER BLOODY CAN GET!!! The fans were perhaps even noisier! "I hear sounds of violins...tuning up #Symphonica. Night 2 in Birmingham will be kicking off shortly. Bev". "Excited FULL HOUSE NOW J".  "The curtain just opened. I think the audience is excited to see @GeorgeMichael. ;0 Bev #Symphonica".  "Well here we go woohoo @GeorgeMichael still sounding awesome". "Eeeeekkk!!!" "My Baby Just Cares For Me got them on their feet in Birmingham #Symphonica". "Oh yes a few songs in. Freakin Brilliant!" "Can’t believe how amazing George Michael’s voice is! Loving it @thelgarena". "George just handed the chorus of Father Figure to the fans just now. Bev #Symphonica". "#Symphonica such a strange little world, the world of superfans. You always see the same faces. George must be sick of the sight of us".  "George Michael still as amazing as ever". "I thought Maybe my camera white balance was off, but no. New suit of a gorgeous royal blue. Bev #Symphonica #fashion." A Cheeky tweet came in..."Good! Out with the cheap Balkan suit! Haha". We have the "Cadbury Suit"!! "Loving how the fans at the sides swoon – scream when @GeorgeMichael comes their way. Bev #Symphonica." "The awkward moment when George Michael calls the Birmingham crowd Manchester...Wonder how he’d feel if we called him Andrew Ridgely?!" "George Michael gets amnesia shocker...’Hello Manch...I mean Birmingham’..." "Oops George Michael did a little time travel and thought he was in Manchester for a sec, but quickly remembered we’re still in Brum ;) Bev #Symphonica".

I Dooooon’t think so Bev, he wasn’t quick enough judging by those previous, rather curt tweets!! Naughty George!!...AGAIN...'Tour Brain' can be a serious affliction to have up North even if totally accidental!! "@GeorgeMichael You made my girlfriend cry when you sang Let Her Down Easy but remember you’re in Birmingham!" "Luckily the crowd still is wild for Wild Is The Wind. Bev #Symphonica"  "@GeorgeMichael awesome first half. Chills down the spine amazing xx" "Fun crowd, really loving George Michael".  "#Symphonica His voice is getting better again, stronger! He’s sounding pretty incredible actually. It’s lovely here!" This was praise indeed from a 'SS' well seasoned, Serial Symphonica traveller! "Lots of folks here seeing the show for the first time and having the time of their life". Helpfully tweeted were the first newspaper reports out before I started to look myself, TheSun.co.uk quipped..."Older George Is Back With A Wham...George Michael’s first live UK gig after nearly dying from pneumonia"...But as it was the Sun I’ll say just two things...1- Great pictures from Getty Images boys and 2- His new hit single is White Light, not the 1940’s ballad about Judy Garland, I Remember You!!! Ironically the Sun’s Showbiz Editor is...wait for it...Gordon SMART!!!

"Part 2 and everyone seems to want to dance". "@GeorgeMichael he’s not bad this fella!" "What a voice!"  "The crowd is back on its feet for Waiting For That Day. Bev #Symphonica." "Arms are waving during True Faith. Bev #Symphonica". "Thunderous roar at the end of A Different Corner! Now You’ve Changed. Bev #Symphonica". "Birmingham loves the oldies!", "Awesome! As George Michael sings the lyric I Love You in You’ve Changed, a female fan yells it back"..."And now they’re clapping along to Russian Roulette"..."Everyone’s rushing to get closer"..."The audience may be Praying For (More) Time but we’re nearly at the end! Bev.  #Symphonica".  "@GeorgeMichael @thelgarena Birmingham. What a show!!!! :0 x". "We got more George". 

This signalled that it was time for the encores. At George’s request the Birmingham crowd provided all their lung power to thank the band and orchestra..."‘Feel free to sing along’ to I’m your man, George Michael says and do they ever! Bev.  #Symphonica". "The end! Oh no! We want more!" "he’s alive! Crowd is THRILLED with the inclusion of White light in tonight’s encore." "By the way, we also tried out new visuals for white light. Let us know what you thought if you were here. Bev #Symphonica”. 

"@GeorgeMichael and Birmingham sure were ready! THANKYOU for an OUTSTANDING Symphonica gig! You looked and sounded bloody fabulous! Nothing but love for you x". "@GeorgeMichael Amazing concert in Birmingham, perfect vocals!! Class Symphonica Orchestra #Imalive". "@GeorgeMichael beautiful voice so pure and some songs moving". "@GeorgeMichael Absolutely loved you tonight! You smashed it!  Let Her Down Easy was amazing!"  "@GeorgeMichael as soon as you started to sing and until the final note, I had goosebumps. Fantastic-thankyou x". "What a legend, amazed by George this evening. Fell in love all over again xxxx". "One of the best nights of my life. If you’re glad your alive, times that by ten. That’s how glad I am. Love xx". "Playing with the crowds and playing with his voice...trying out new stuff...was he ever in a good mood!", "Every single dance move he made got an immediate and loud response from the audience". Interestingly this next  remark came and I think I will end the fan review part with it as it shows 'His Nibs' just can’t be pigeon holed, no matter how the press try...reporting that they saw that there were..."Many straight guys who are big GM fans (at the concert)...there were plenty of couples in the arena...with the guys singing, (along with George Michael), not the girls".

Glowing reports came from the English press about the opening leg of George Michael’s English tour. It DOES get boring and repetitive so here’s just a couple to give you the flavour...The Express & Star.com, Thursday 18th October 2012, by Elizabeth Joyce..."Almost a year on he is fighting fit once again...and clearly loving life and music. His Symphonica Tour sees him perform with an orchestra supported by a sprawling screen, featuring stunning special effects and short films featuring everyone from Princess Di to Dita Von Teese. And of course there was dancing, lots of dancing. Dressed in a Cadbury-purple suit, George won screams and shrieks from the crowd with his moves. ‘I may be 70 but I can still do it’, joked the 49 yr old. Songs on the night were varied and expertly executed. George proved why he is one of the finest voices and songwriters of a generation with Father Figure, You Have Been Loved and an encore of Freedom.  Highlights though were his version of New Order’s True Faith and Let Her Down Easy by Terence Trent D’Arby. But Michael could have been singing a Domino’s menu and the audience would still have loved him for it!".

The Birmingham Mail.net on the 17th of October 2012 by Richard Comb said...The Birmingham "crowd were repeatedly on their feet prompting the star to say, ‘you keep standing up I love you!’ A fit tanned George resumed his Symphonica Tour in spectacular style at the LG Arena, taking an adoring audience on a classically tinged tour of his greatest hits and excelling with an eclectic mix of covers...Against the back drop of a sumptuously lit stage, the hits oozed like warm honey, including Father Figure and Kissing A Fool.  Despite his illness, George’s pitch perfect voice is, if anything, richer than it was in his mega-selling 80’s heyday. One of White Soul music’s greatest set of lungs remains in fine fettle...Despite sometimes adverse press coverage and scrapes with the law, Gorgeous George remains a bone fide British Treasure. The fans listened, as usual, without prejudice".

See I told you the press were all deeply dippy over our returning conquering hero. The first two of the home concerts sorted, his L’Oreal Smirk is firmly back on his face folks...his homeboys now all know he’s definitely worth it!!!

My thanks as always has to go to @GeorgeMichael, @GMSingers, @HenryHey, @JVoxAcademy, @Edthejazzman, @HayelyPomfrett, @FadiFawaz, @GeorgeMOfficial, @MarshallArts, @GeorgeMichaelNL, @GMichaelNews, @SymphonicaTour, @GMFamilyForums

The George Michael stalwarts:- @TanteGeraldine, @Dutchieemy, @Dutch_ada2, @HappyS74, @Mollie5555, @MagdaGMfan, @LILA_GMFAITH, @Disney30, @Sjrsam, @Yogs1961, @Mollyke, @Faithful2u2g

@Junction10, @PiersMorgan, @Nikos992,@FannyWalters, @BrigieGee, @Sarahsivers, @ntonella, @jaynerose15, @Rachel4589, @MartinjohnW, @taratomes, @GMactweets, @Katerowley96, @Wolfietoon, @ritaheer, @tracye_bourne, @Sambucasaddler, @xBoobalicious, @thesparky1, @SweetGeorgeM, @Alijaney, @staceyNicola, @maddymckean, @Sjrsam, @RacheljBush, @BIGGBAPPS1906, @Peskypixie, @fliss8882, @Eli87GMFaith, @mandibm, @Bobeydog, @HanHillyard, @Wesleysmithtv, @mickcoppock, @djmikepeters, @ChrisHallGolf, @Lrsbearuk, @pebbles3211, @RedPux, @F0xyuk, @Tomwoo, @AlongtheThames, @Dawn_E_Cox, @djmikepeters, @Michaelcronogue, @geoffcwatts, @jasonkitkat, @judiG75, @Soldiersister1, @Simon196830, @claire291268, @sianroberts15, @sandieshoker, @Missussprince, @blvlaw, @GemiBear13, @Sueleat, @Simonehancox, @robyna36, @barlowmad, @Steylynefrancis, @longollie, @amberw00d, @SusieTime, @carin69, @Debbie0Meara, @theEricam, @kandiloveruk, @laurosll, @MissJP3, @dasillis, @PringleCindy, @Marc_schroder, @RowenaTT, @Sarahsivers, @Bobeydog, GemiBear13, @kaylsdutton, @jessPrice82, @AshAsram, @Luciekershaw, @KingZain_17, @CockerillAlison, @kevintaylor1359, @cheekychappies @thelgarena, @itvnews (Central) with Wellesley Smith, Adaforshort.blogspot.ie, thesun.co.uk, expressandstar.com, Birminghammail.net.