I have already decided that when the inevitable biopic movie of my life is produced then I would want to do a premier event at the incredibly luxurious Everyman Cinema in Cardiff Bay. You can read about what makes an experience at Everyman so special by reading my review of Jungle cruise at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/08/10/jungle-cruise-screening-experience-review/ but I personally think the super comfy sofa would be the perfect way to enjoy a movie all about my favourite subject …… Me! I also think that there is clearly only one actor who could play the lead character in this movie and it would be none other than the wonderfully eccentric Jack Black! As the muse of the role, I often wonder what training I would have to give someone who would play me in a movie or would they conspicuously observe my day-to-day life and pick up on the strange quirks. When it was announced that Joe McElderry would be headlining a George Micheal tour I was expecting some sort of dodgy impersonation, luckily that was not the case! Instead, it was a concert full of George Micheal’s greatest hits with a suitable amount of Joe McElderry magic sprinkled into them. At first, I didn’t fully understand why Joe McElderry of all people was chosen to headline this tour but it made total sense when Joe reminded everyone (during the show) that while on x-factor in 2009 he sang alongside the Wham frontman!
Many musical icons have been lucky enough to be represented by talented actors recently including Elton John played by Taron Egerton in Rocket Man (which you can read about at https://getthechance.wales/2019/06/09/review-rocket-man-by-rhys-payne/), Judy Garland played by Renee Zellwegger in Judy (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2019/10/09/judy-film-review/) or Princess Diana played by Jenna de Waal in the highly controversial Diana the musical (which you can read about at https://www.nerdly.co.uk/2021/10/06/diana-the-musical-review-netflix/) Despite not being a direct impersonation of the sadly departed singer, Joe McElderry seemed extremely comfortable in the shoes of George Micheal and performing some of the latter most popular hits! This was absolutely a show for die-hard George fans as the majority of the concert was focussed on some songs I personally didn’t know of but the rest of the audience was screaming at the top of their lungs. I have to admit that I walked into this event knowing George Micheal for his contribution to Christmas music through Wham’s “Last Christmas” song but instead a bigger fan of Joe McElderry in fact I once wanted to see Joe after his performance in Joseph and his amazing technicoloured dream coat on my 18th birthday only for him to go out of a different door Usually these events are there for nostalgia but for me, it was an opportunity to learn more about George and even discover some new songs to add to me coveted journey to work playlist.
One of the things that caught my eye during this performance is the fabulous collection of jackets that Joe wears throughout the show! It started with a classic black blazer with sparkly lightning bolts on either lapel to a gold sequin outfit that glistened perfectly under the stage lights to a wonderfully embellished “freedom” leather jacket and ended with an over-the-top fringe denim jacket, all of which I need to my wardrobe immediately! Having known George Micheal for simply his iconic Christmas hit, I was under the impression that all of his songs are incredibly upbeat and fun but I could not have been more wrong. One of my favourite performances throughout the night was the rendition of “Father Figure” which was beautifully performed leading to a very emotionally powerful dedication. On the complete other end of the spectrum the song “fast love” had the audience springing up on their feet, singing as loudly as possible and dancing along to the incredibly energetic hit. I thought that the choice to end act one with the sensual “careless whisper” was one of the greatest creative decisions in the entire show. Not only is this an extremely popular tracks but it again had everyone on their feet singing and dancing along. It seemed like Joe McElderry really enjoyed this performance specifically as he began strutting across the stage as the audience went wild! If I had to have one gripe with this specific performance it would be that the iconic melody was played on guitar rather than the sensual sounds of a saxophone which this track has become synonymous with!
Generally speaking, The second act of this concert contained more songs that I knew and as the audience had an opportunity to buy more drinks, the audience participation grew exponentially! One of the numbers I did not know about before was “Don’t let the sun go down on me”, which was originally a collaboration between Elton John and George Micheal, but this has quickly become one of the most powerful songs I have ever seen performed live. Joe McElderry’s Verizon of this song was absolutely incredible to listen to with the emotional undertones being clearly portrayed throughout the whole song! Going into the show I knew the majority of the lyrics of “Knew you were waiting for me” but I was not aware that this was a song by George Micheal and the incredibly talented Aretha Franklin. Joe McElderry’s guest vocalist took centre stage to help fill in the missing parts but this number had every single person in the audience up on their feet belting the lyrics of the song as loud as they could! The closing moments of the show saw what can only be described as a mega-mix of George Michael’s biggest hits including “Freedom”, “Club Tropicana” and “I’m you man” among many others.
Overall, the freedom tour is clear a concert intended for hardcore George Micheal fans but Joe McElderry is able to sprinkle a bit of himself into the performance with his wonderful stage presence and incredible vocals! If you are a fan of 80s music (specifically wham) then this would be a great night out with friends or family where you are encouraged to sing and dance the night away. I would rate the Cardiff leg of the ‘Freedom’ tour 4 out of 5 stars!