Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Date With George Michael

On July 13, 2008 I finally watched George Michael in concert. I flew to San Francisco on my birthday. I even flogged the fact that it was birthday when I checked in hoping my charms would get me an upgrade. Unfortunately it was a full flight so back with the rest of the cattle I remained. The rest of the trip wasn't as smooth sailing as I would have hoped either.

Our flight was delayed so I missed the connecting flight to Dallas. While running like a mad woman through the airport, I quickly glanced at baggage claim just to see if my luggage was there. I thought it shouldn't be because the man at check-in told me he'd tagged it all the way through to Dallas. And of course what did I see as I was making a run to transit? My luggage making the rounds on the belt. I quickly grabbed it and continued my sprint.

As I arrived at the check-in counter for American Airlines, I saw one lady at the counter and a line of at least 10 people. I knew at that point I would miss my flight. There was an AA lady so I told her my plight and she said oh, your flight has been canceled. I think that would be the only time I'll ever be relieved to hear a flight of mine has been canceled. So I finally took a breath, lined up, got my boarding pass and of course by the time I reached my gate the flight was delayed again. When we finally landed in Dallas, we were literally stuck on the plane for 30 minutes since another plane was at our gate and there was no extra crew to get it off. By the time I got to baggage claim, I was super hungry and really looking forward to seeing Carlo and Lesan who was super nice to pick me up. But what do you know, we waited for an HOUR before the luggage belt started spewing out anyone's luggage! All I could say at that point was that I was glad I didn't arrive the day of the concert. My luggage came out way after 10pm, the concert would have been running for an hour by then.

I had time to relax and do some catching up with Lesan and Carlo until the following day. At around 6pm, I got ready, hid my camera in my bag as best I could and headed off to the American Airlines Center. I picked up my Will Call ticket without incident and lined up at the entrance. And darn it! They found my camera so I had to check it in. Bummed but not too pissed, I got some dinner and looked for my seat. I was amazed at how close it was when I got there! Hubby really splurged on my ticket!

All my seat mates were really friendly too. They were all amazed I had traveled all the way from Hong Kong. Some even shook my hand. I made friends with a couple next to me and they were kind enough to offer to take some pictures for me and said they would email them. I'm still crossing my fingers they'll send it soon!

On the tickets it said the concert will start promptly at 8pm. Of course it didn't! I had read some blog entries of people who had attended George's concerts in previous cities and all said he started late. Then at around 8:45 pm everyone's excitement reached its peak. The whole stadium started doing the wave. It was so funny to watch. Of course I joined in too.

By then I couldn't contain my excitement as well. I still couldn't at that point imagine I was about to see George Michael in person, at a concert! The anticipation was killing me! The cheering was maddening, the whistle blowing ear-piercing and the screams of George! George! George! spilling forth like a volcano about to erupt. And then we heard his voice...

But you once said
There's a way back for every man
So here i am

Don't people change, here i am
Is it too late to try again

His voice was magical. At that moment I fell in love with George Michael all over again. It was reaffirmation the reason why I love him was because of his voice. After so many years, he still had it. He sounded even better! Not seeing him yet and just listening to him sing those words behind the illuminating LED backdrop made everyone LISTEN to him. For those few minutes, you just stand there, forgetting he hasn't even appeared yet, mesmerized by his voice, reassuring us he's here.

Then George Michael stepped out from a door that magically appeared within the screen. Finally, after 25 years of waiting, I got to see George Michael in person! I was dumbfounded. I screamed, danced, welled up in tears and sang along. That moment will forever be etched in my mind.

George belted out one song after the other. He sounded amazing live. I am tempted to link to all the YouTube videos here but I'll just say it was amazing. It was the fastest 2 and a half hours of my life. He ended the evening with 2 encores and Freedom 90. I was high from the concert. I was depressed it had ended. I was in awe of George. I was tired from all the screaming and dancing. I was concerned since I had no idea how to get back to the hotel. But eventually I did. I texted Hubby multiple times telling him what a great time I had and how truly thankful I was for the greatest birthday gift EVER.

Although I wasn't able to take any pictures at the concert, I'll have my memory to think back on. And tons of YouTube videos. I also got these:

I received a backpack and an USB bracelet with George Michael's TwentyFive songs in it plus music videos! How cool is that?!

So although I'm depressed its all over, Mayapapaya put it well when I asked her for advice on how to deal with it. She texted:

There was a bit of a letdown when it (Prince is her poison) was over, because I'd waited 17 years to see him and then it was over. But the disappointment fades and you'll remember only the high points. And you'll go back to that memory over and over again, remembering only how much you enjoyed it.

So I'll go back to those memories over and over. Those memories will last me 25 years until forever.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

George Who?

My cousins came to visit with their dad last week. One just graduated from high school and the other from college. I was really looking forward to their visit and had a great time hanging out with them. Although I knew they were much younger than me, I totally underestimated just how much so.

I was telling them how excited I was to attend the George Michael concert for my birthday, expecting shrieks of support. But instead I got 2 blank stares at me, asking: Who's George Michael?

The horror! My jaw dropped and I didn't know whether to be flabbergasted that they didn't know who George Michael was or to cry because they were too young to know. I started throwing out his songs, hoping one would ring a bell. When I said Careless Whisper, one of them finally knew the song, only because she had heard a remake of it.

Then it made realize just how young my cousins were. The last time George Michael had a concert in the US was 17 years ago. My younger cousin is 17 years old. Waaaaah!!!

We then started talking about things I did for fun or the last time I actually went out and did something. So not wanting to sound like the complete boring, older cousin, I said I went singing with some friends a few weeks ago and most of them got completely drunk. I suddenly remembered one song we sang which I felt would be a funny story. So I excitedly told them how I chose We Are The World and how we all got up, waved our hands (if only we had lighters), took turns singing and even shouted out who was singing which part. Again the horror of horrors! They asked me what is We Are The World. This time I was completely taken aback. I completely did not think they would have no idea what this song was and how much it meant to me and my generation growing up. At that point I wanted to give Pam and call and ask to borrow her Live Aid DVD and show them. So I gave them a quick summary of what it was and what it meant and cried silently inside at just how damn old I really am.

At least this made me realize just how important some songs and music in general really is to me. After sharing this story with my friends, they commented that maybe if I played my George Michael songs often enough, my kids will grow up to love his music. It'll just be like how we love the classics our parents listen to. I guess its just hard to think songs we listened to growing up will become classics when our children grow up. I'm still living in the era of classics are only those my parents listened to and not me!

Well, at least now I know what will be playing in the house after we move to Melbourne.