The concert review “George Michael Attracts Faithful To Stadium” was written by RussDeVault and Keith for The Atlanta Constitution on October 21, 1988. George performed at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, GA, USA on October 21, 1988 during his Faith World Tour
On this night, it would have taken more than a little rain and chilly weather to keep the faithful from catching pop star George Michael in the act
Before a crowd of 37,000 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium Thursday night pop music’s reigning sex symbol danced and pranced about for more than two hours amid screams, screams and more screams.
“He’s just so cuuuuuuutte,” screeched Heather Schreer, 12, who attended with her mother, Carol, 11-year-old brother Joshua, and next-door neighbor, Nichole Van Deu-sen, 12. “He’s just so awesome.”
Heather’s mom agreed.
“I wouldn’t be here,” Ms. Schreer said with a wide smile and a wink, “if I didn’t like him and his music.”
And this was a night for music.
Before Mr. Michael took the stage, the Bangles kept the antsy crowd busy with a rousing 45-minute set that included their hits, “Manic Monday,” “If She Knew What She Want” and “Walk Like An Eqyptian.” It was laced with others gems, the melodic “September Girl” and the rousing rocker “Crash and Burn.”
The group’s encore of “A Hazy Shade Of Winter” sparked dancing in the aisles and shouts. It also left the largely female audience almost panting for Mr. Michael to appear.
Despite a short rain delay, they got their wish.
At 9:33 p.m., after four sharp “yowls,” the stubble-faced Mr. Michael emerged amid lasers, fog and blue and red lights. He swirled around on the 50-yard wide stage a towering multi-tiered monster complete with flashing lights, goal post-size speakers and more than enough banners.
“Sex is something we should do,” Mr. Michael cooed. The audience screamed.
“I want your sex,” Mr. Michael said. The audience screamed louder.
At one point unbeknownst to Mr. Michael, several of the more than 11,000 fans on the football field were squeezed together as concertgoers surged to get a closer look and listen. But no one was seriously injured.
“It was awful,” said one 17-year-old fan, but most of them thought it was worth it
Mr. Michael’s appearance was nothing short of close encounters of the s?x kind. Dressed in black, tight-fitting jeans, a leather jacket and boots, the 24-year-old singer didn’t waste any time playing up his sex appeal and pop triumphs.
Backed by a competent band, which included among its members Deon Estus and keyboardists Tony Patler and Chris Cameron, Mr. Michael played the part of the perfect pretty-boy front man. He talked with the audience and gyrated his hips on key: “You know not everybody has a body like you…”
With his back to the audience, he started things off with a riveting rendition of his controversial “I Want Your Sex.” The tune, which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s singles chart, was the only one of five singles from his “Faith” album that didn’t reach No. 1.
It was mere three years ago that Mr. Michael went solo, breaking away from boyhood pal Andrew Ridgeley, with whom he formed Wham! While together the pair had huge success with a string of dance-oriented hits like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Freedom.”
Last year, Mr. Michael released “Faith,” an album that has sold more than 7.5 million copies worldwide.
For his Atlanta show, he gave the crowd almost everything from “Faith” and a whole lot more. His hit with the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, “I Knew You Were Waiting,” was transformed into an audience sing-along, as were several other numbers.
Never missing a beat or a chance to shake his butt or show off his beautiful voice, he kept things hot and heavy with “Faith,” “Father Figure,” “Monkey,” “One More Try” and several tunes from his Wham! days.
If his voice was tired from touring, more than 150 dates starting back in February and ending this month, it didn’t show. One of the highlights of the evening, and there were several, was a heartfelt rendition of Stevie Wonder’s lovely ballad “Too Shy.” Another pulsating, ironic plus was “Play That Funky Music, White Boy.”
To truly understand Mr. Michael’s growing appeal, consider that he packed more people into Fulton County Stadium that the Braves did on opening day (34,929) and than the Falcons did a few weeks ago against the Seattle Sea-hawks (28,619).
Since striking out as a solo artist, Mr. Michael has been trying to break his bubblegum image and grow as a singer, songwriter and producer.
So far, he seems headed in the right direction.
- George Michael Star 94 FM Radio Interview (2004)
- Wham!’s Last Week, Smash Hit Magazine (July 1986)
- Michael in the Mirror (Atlanta Constitution, 1988)
- Graham Norton Interview with George Michael (2003)
- George Michael’s Oprah Winfrey Show Interview (2004)