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Back in the spotlight

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The long-serving British pop crooner repackages the posh opulence of his excellent orchestral Symphonica tour into his first album in a decade. 

Despite personal problems and health issues in recent years, George Michael emerged from the crises with grace and aplomb as deftly demonstrated during his sold out Symphonica tour between 2011 and 2012. The tour saw Michael performing a total of 75 shows in and around Europe, supported by either the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra or the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Indeed, the success of the tour proved that the former Wham! star has well and truly overcome adversity, and is overdue for a follow-up to his 2004’s Patience. Don’t get too excited just yet, though, because Symphonica is not it. Instead Michael’s latest release, helmed by the late legendary producer Phil Ramone, is merely a live recording consisting of covers and classics culled from the tour.

Originally appearing on Patience, introspective opener Through receives a sophisticated revamp as Michael soars through the orchestral flourishes, singing: “I guess it's tough, I guess I'm older/And everything must change/And all this cruelty and money instead of love/People, have we no shame?” before finally concluding: “It's so clear to me now/ I've enough of these chains/Life is there for the taking/What kind of fool would remain in this cheap gilded cage?”

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