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George Michael to be Honoured in Celebratory Tribute Concert

George Michael performing in the UK in1999. © Jill Furmanovsky

George Michael is getting a tribute concert which will be taking place next year on what would have been his 56th birthday. According to The Mirror the musician’s family has given the OK for the memorial concert to take place, which will celebrate “his life and music”. The singer died on Christmas Day 2016 from heart and liver disease.

The Mirror state that the new show will have George Michael’s former musical director, Chris Cameron, at the helm. Cameron was responsible for Michael's 2006/7 tour 25 Live, which was his first tour in 15 years and was a huge hit. Cameron was also musical director on The Faith Tour, Michael’s first solo concert tour which took place in 1988 and had Paula Abdul as choreographer.

The tribute concert will also feature ten of George Michael’s band members, including backing singer Shirley Lewis, bassist Deon Estus and guitarist Michael Brown. All sales from the tickets will go to Childline, which the singer supported and had given around £2.5 million from sales of his hit “Jesus as a Child” too.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley performing in the music video for Wham!'s 1980s classic 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go'. Image: screenshot via YouTube / Whamtv

The concert will be held at Brixton’s O2 Academy and various celebrated musicians are set to perform. According to The Mirror’s source, “There will be a number of special guests on the night and, over the coming months, organisers will finalise those taking part. It’s all being kept under wraps. The event could gather a momentum of its own – it could be very special indeed.”

The Mirror say that the concert, which will be called Cowboys and Angels, as a reference to the band members that worked with George Michael, both when he was in Wham! and as a solo artist, will take place on the 25 June 2019. Musicians who could play are Wham bandmate Andrew Ridgeley and Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp.

And it will be “an evening celebrating the life and music of George Michael, performed by those that knew him best. Expect to hear fan favourites from the heady days of Wham! to Faith, his first solo album through to Symphonica.” Tickets will go on sale at 10am on 3 November at Ticketmaster.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley from Wham! taken in 1982. © Jill Furmanovsky

That’s not the only good news for George Michael fans either, because they will get to experience some never-heard-before unreleased George Michael tracks. They’ll have to wait a year, but the new music will be featured in a new film, called Last Christmas, inspired by Wham!'s hit. It will be directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) and will feature the festive Wham! classic which it gets its title from, along with totally new unheard songs by Michael.

George Michael collaborated on the concept of the movie before his death, and the romcom will star Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding and is being written by Emma Thompson and comedian and performer Bryony Kimmings. Kimmings has previously said in a Radio Times interview, ”When I came on board, George was up for it. He’d already signed something to say yes but he’d passed away, and Greg and Emma were still very keen to write it.” So the inclusion of his new tunes has his blessing.

According to Variety, “The film follows Kate (Clarke), who harumphs around London, making a bundle of bad decisions which includes her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two.”

Sounds like classic romcom fodder. But if you’re a George Michael fan and you like a good festive feel good movie, this sounds like sweet manna from the edge of heaven. It will be released in November 2019. Keep the faith.

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer George Michael images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.