Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
George Michael: Live in London(2008)
George Michael winds down his 25 Live tour in his first-ever concert film, which finds the former Wham! leading man revisiting hits familiar and fresh in two sold-out shows at London's Earls Court. Michael's impeccable vocals take center stage, and his pop-song prowess is driven home with such classics as "Faith," "Freedom" and "One More Try." Even "Careless Whisper" gets a nod, as does the Police's "Roxanne."
For more about George Michael: Live in London and the George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray release, see George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 25, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Andrew Morahan
» See full cast & crew
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray Review
George Michael celebrates 25 years in showbiz and proves he's learned it's at least as much about the glitz as it is about the music.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 25, 2010
I am not a huge fan of Brian Posehn, the unkempt, often foul mouthed comedian who appears on The Sarah Silverman Program. But he gave me a huge laugh a few weeks ago doing a standup routine where he talked about throwing his I-Tunes "auto recommendation" feature into a permanent state of confusion. Posehn is evidently a head banger, prone to downloading nothing other than heavy metal offerings, but as a joke one day, he decided to download the "worst holiday song ever," Wham's "Last Christmas." Evidently that juxtaposition of Anthrax with George Michael was enough to send Apple's logarithms reeling and poor Posehn's I-Tunes didn't know quite what to make of his sudden conversion to easy listening pop "grooves." I doubt too many other of Michael's other fans have similar problems. Though Michael's post-Wham career has seen both a number of impressive chart hits and some rather unsavory personal peccadilloes come to the fore, the singer songwriter has managed to hold on to a rather large cadre of fans and this Live in London Blu-ray release finds him covering both Wham and solo numbers to a large and adoring crowd of very vocal acolytes.
From his earliest days with Wham, Michael proved that he was at least as aware of image as he was with sound. If Wham was not exactly the most musically sophisticated act of its era, its undeniable worldwide popularity could be at least partially ascribed to the visual acuity of Michael and partner Andrew Ridgeley. That same awareness of what the audience is looking at, certainly the harbinger of the MTV generation, is fully on display in this often audaciously produced concert. Michael himself is dwarfed by giant screens, and even the thrust becomes a conduit for various light and image effects, making the actual artist at the center of it all seemingly superfluous at times. While Michael's own writing is always competent and frequently very melodic, it's also rarely inspired, either musically or lyrically, as the best efforts of, say, early Elton John-Bernie Taupin could be. We are presented with one finely constructed single after another, but cumulatively they have the effect of Teflon music; nothing ever really sticks to the listener after the next equally well constructed, largely meaningless tune begins.
And so this concert, for all its brilliant playing, great backups, and Michael's still appealing voice itself, becomes all about stagecraft. Whether or not that was a conscious decision on the part of Michael is anyone's guess, but it can't be disputed this is one incredible evening of visual stimulation, one obviously enjoyed immensely by the gigantic crowd assembled in London's Earls Court Arena, a football sized stadium that literally overflows with fauning and screaming Michael fans. Michael's song choices, aside from the expected chart hits, are also quite interesting at times, and the arrangements are notably diverse. We therefore get a sort of early 60's rock triplet take on the Newley-Bricusse classic "Feeling Good," with a nod to Nina Simone's iconic version (listeners unfamiliar with it should check out Oleta Adams' relatively recent remake). And there's a nice swing shuffle arrangement of Sting's "Roxanne" which Michael nicely underplays vocally, a completely different interpretation from Sting's strident tenor on the original Police version.
But like so much in the corporate music industry, it all seems incredibly prepackaged, with little to no spontaneity and precious little feeling. Michael attempts to connect with his audience in some selected "intimate" moments, where he sits on a bar chair and croons a ballad or two, but there seems to be a wall between the artist and his audience. Perhaps that's one of the prices to be paid for superstardom. Some may also question Michael's taste on making his public indecency arrest a part of the production, but as some wag once proclaimed, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."
This is undeniably slick, brilliantly produced concert fare. If it never really picks up momentum (due partially to the rather odd programming of alternating fast and slow tunes), it is rarely boring. Visually spectacular and musically never less than technically perfect, it's a strangely pristine experience that rarely if ever reaches out and grabs the listener by that most important aural organ, the heart.
The concert includes:
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray, Video Quality
George Michael Live in London is an extremely sharp looking concert video, arriving in 1080i (not 1080p as some people have reported) and encoded via AVC. It's rather ironic that this in an interlaced video considering the gigantic television screens which surround Michael during the concert and which due to their size might seem to be advertisements for interlacing artifacts. Surprisingly, there are no artifacts of any import to be seen. This is a remarkably sharp and well detailed piece, with good, if somewhat subdued, color in terms of the humans, but with some great, audacious palettes on display in the visual elements augmenting the music. Some viewers may be annoyed by the overall darkness of this piece, which often finds Michael swathed in shadows, but black levels are excellent and consistent and contrast is strong, even in shots with arc lights blaring into the cameras. Some people may actually find the visual elements of this Blu-ray stronger than the audio, which is both a bit strange but also interesting.
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray, Audio Quality
I was a little underwhelmed with the surround activity on the DTS HD-MA 5.1 offering. To its credit, we aren't bombarded with ambient audience noise spilling into the rear channels, but similarly precious little of the music seems to seep back there either. What is offered here is a very crisp and well detailed soundtrack that ably supports both Michael's voice and the superb backup band and singers. Michael does go through some stylistic paces here, and the DTS track never falters in fidelity whether it's reproducing heavier techno beats (which provide some nice, thumping low frequency) or the more relatively restrained pop ambience of pieces like "Careless Whisper." If you don't mind a front-heavy mix, this is really excellent sounding, though it ultimately amounts to something like glorified stereo.
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
An hour of bonus material is offered, the bulk of which is a 42 minute featurette called "I'd Know Him a Mile Off," a title culled from an obnoxious guard's refusal (documented in the concert itself) to let Michael's limo into the arena parking lot since the person in the back seat was "obviously" not the star. The same worker flips off Michael and the limo driver as they pull away, and I assume he is now happily ensconced on Britain's burgeoning unemployment lines. The rest of the piece has some interesting moments with the crew and band, though there is one cringe worthy moment, too. Michael's father comes backstage to introduce his son to a legendary Greek singer. George is obviously none too thrilled to be bothered, and quickly tells his father that he is the only person who's ever been allowed to come backstage, and that furthermore, it's time for Michael to get his hair done, so buh-bye. Hopefully no one made eye contact.
The other 18 minutes are split between three bonus tunes, "Precious Box," "Jesus to a Child," and "First Time Ever" (which is a slightly redacted version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If video killed the radio star, it begat a whole new generation of music hitmakers who valued image as much as sound. At the head of that list is George Michael, who proves here after 25 years he's mastered the fine art of looking good while sounding fine. If there's precious little soul here, well, that may not be what the goal was to begin with.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to George Michael: Live in London. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to George Michael: Live in London in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray, News and Updates
No related news posts for George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray yet.
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to George Michael: Live in London Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.