I had the honor of attending the long anticipated, American tour of famed singer/songwriter George Michael at the Xcel Energy Center. It is easy to see how he has remained popular over the past 25 years with his catchy songs and great stage presence. Because I am not an avid George Michael fan (I got tickets for free), I was able to appreciate the show on a different level than people who have emotionally attached themselves to the artist for years and years. I would like to share three life lessons that I learned from George Michael:
1. The key to lasting success is having catchy songs early in career. This will ensure instant popularity and a large fan base. If you can hook them in early enough, people will identify their early childhood, awkward adolescence, crazy college years or even midlife – rock music inspired life crisis. Before you know it, your music has become Muzak (that last conclusion was courtesy of a fellow concert go-er, Katie). The ultimate result, fans will begin to sing all of your songs for you at any public venue, making you’re job as a rock star much easier. Not to mention all of the royalties you will be earning because of the commercials your music now endorses.
2. There is such a thing as being too literal. The stage setup was quite spectacular. Imagine a giant stage with a huge television running from the backdrop down to the very front of the stage. During the sets, images of dollar signs, hearts, diamonds and other figures were displayed according to the song. While there were some abstract images, most were incredibly literal. When George Michael sang about not knowing what to do about a particular love interest, giant question marks flew across the screen. The overtly literal imagery was comical, taking me out of that magical moment.
3. Make sure you know the city you are in. I understand the difficulty that comes with traveling across country and not knowing exactly where you are. However, from what I understand about people from Minneapolis or St. Paul, each are extremely particular about their city and at no point wish to be confused with one another. So if you ever find yourself in front of a crowd of 10,000 people in St. Paul, under no circumstances is it ok to yell, “How are we doing Minneapolis.” You will not likely get a warm response.
In addition to these three life lessons, I left the arena with the song “Freedom” stuck in my head for the rest of the night. I would say I made out pretty well.