This, via the Financial Times (subscription required)…
As more information about George Michael’s Russian New Year’s Eve concert comes to light, a mystery has begun to emerge. A mystery that casts doubts on whether the superstar actually performed at all on New Year’s Eve.
Witnesses at the hotel where George Michael was staying say that at around 11.30pm on New Year’s Eve, shouting was heard from Michael’s royal suite. A porter who works in the hotel said,
I heard someone that sounded like Mr Michael screaming – Have you finished polishing my shoes yet Kenny? And a little later I distinctly heard the same person shouting angrily – I’m not going on with all this stuff about Dawn’s baby hanging over me.
However, a cab driver that was passing the hotel at around 2.45am saw George and his entourage leave the hotel, and head towards the location of the concert, which was just outside Moscow.
So, it seems likely that George Michael turned up at the party. Here, though, the plot begins to thicken. It turns out that almost none of the three hundred guests at the New Year’s Eve party were familiar with George Michael or his music. The handful that were, however, expressed surprise at the nature of the show when it finally started three and a half hours late. One partygoer was Andrew Androsovitch, an LA-based lawyer who had flown back to his home-land for New Year. He told us,
I was really surprised at how different George Michael looked in real life, compared to how he looks in his videos and photos. He did look vaguely familiar, but he was much shorter that I expected, and not only that, but his singing was terrible – really out of tune. When he wished us Happy New Year, he spoke with a kind of Texan drawl. I said to my partner that this doesn’t look or sound anything like George Michael. And, I wasn’t the only one with doubts. A bearded gentleman appeared by my side as I was talking, saying – Yeah, he’s more like Michael Bublé, but without the voice or the talent, isn’t he? What really made me doubt that the man on stage was George Michael, though, was his choice of songs. The man on stage said – This is one of my biggest hits. It’s actually number one in America right now! And then he began to sing – To the left, to the left. Everything you own in a box to the left. I recognised the song right away as not being one of George’s.
The financial arrangements for the gig left the organiser of the party mystified. Before the show, it seems that Michael’s people had demanded to be paid in cash. Used twenty pound notes, to be exact. His manager reportedly told them that this was because George Michael finds cash more convenient than cards because he often likes to pop out to his local corner shop for ice cream in the middle of the night. They don’t take credit cards. As the cash was being handed over, the billionaire looked out of the window and claims to have seen George Michael running around in the bushes outside in the gardens, and appeared to be shouting – Are there any suckers out here? Any suckers? Michael’s manager told him that it couldn’t be, because the singer had said he was going to sit in the car that was waiting to take them to the airport.
None of George Michael’s representatives could be reached for comment last night. The singer is due in court on January 11 to face charges relating to being unfit to drive an S-Class Mercedes.