FREEDOM!

So there I was at my desk. It was a typical Monday afternoon of scrambling around to make deadlines. I hear a familiar bling from my cell phone, notifying me that I have a text message. It was from Nancy Jane. You remember my friend NJ, don’t you? She’s the one that blogged with me from Israel.

I open the text to find this magnificent message:

“My client has two extra tickets to the George Michael concert tonight. Do you want to go?”

I believe I left my computer on, displaying a half-written story on Rig 98 in Yemen, iTunes blaring a playlist titled “Road Trip 08” and papers scattered all over my desk as I grabbed my purse and ran out the door while screaming to my boss and colleagues that I was going to see George Michael!

The first person I call is my sister Jamie. To rub it in, of course.

Lincee: “Guess where I’m going tonight?”
Jam: “Did you get advanced screening tickets to see Mamma Mia? I’m so jealous!”

Lincee: “Nope.”
Jam: “Well…John Mayer isn’t until next month, so I know that’s not it.”

Lincee: “I’M GOING TO SEE GEORGE MICHAEL!”

I called her back after she hung up on me and told her that the Great Debate would once and for all be put to rest. We discussed which songs I would be holding up my phone as George sang and said goodbye.

Then I either called or texted a ton of people. Again…to rub it in.

Nancy Jane had a meeting until 7:45. We were going to meet at her house at 8:00 and get to the show late, figuring we’d miss the opening act. NJ calls me in a panic:

“I’ve just read that there is no opening act! We have to get there fast. Meet me NOW!”

I hop in my car and drive like a crazy woman to Nancy Jane’s house. I pull up, she hops in and we are off. Then she looks with a questionable brow and asks me why I’m not playing George Michael on the way to the George Michael concert? I quickly pull him up on my iPod and we rock out to Freedom all the way to downtown. Where we had to stop. For a train. That was moving at a crawling pace.

Seriously? There are trains downtown? Who knew?

My patience were tested for the 20 minutes we sat there. I was convinced that he was probably singing Father Figure at that very moment, but Nancy Jane told me to have faith, uh, faith, uh, faith and believe! We finally made it across the tracks, in the parking garage and ran up to the lady taking the tickets. It was 8:40.

NJ: “Did he sing Faith yet?”
Ticket lady: “Honey, he hasn’t gone on yet.”

I’m not ashamed to say that I got teary right there as Nancy Jane hugged the sweet woman.

We ran to the client’s suite and busted through the door just in time to see George taking the stage. And the crowd (mostly consisting of a nice mixture of gay guys, trannies and women ranging in age from 30-44) went NUTS! Nancy Jane and I joined in the whooping and hollering with reckless abandon.

The show was stellar. George looked great. He continues to rock out with his signature dance moves. Most of all, he sounds amazing.

Not being a die hard GM fan, I didn’t recognize many of opening songs, other than that “to give you money” song. You know what I’m talking about. But when I heard the familiar beginning notes to Father Figure, I was transformed back to 1987. He sang a beautiful Gospel rendition of One More Try that is sadly not available on iTunes.

After the intermission clock counted down to zero, a subtle swelling of an organ began to play. Within seconds, the audience switched from murmuring to full out screaming at the top of our lungs. He was performing Faith and I thought I was going to hurl myself over the box onto the group of girls below who were sporting “Choose Life” t-shirts and rush the stage. I quickly dial my sister and hold the phone up for her to hear. Nancy Jane and I are dancing, singing and yelling BABY in all the right places. And then the Faith video pops up on the jumotron behind him. You think George Michael’s butt looks good on YouTube, you should see it five thousand feet high! I, personally, had to sit down and get an adult beverage after this performance.

Luckily, he was playing a song I was unfamiliar with. I decided to take this time to check text message replies from those I had reached out to earlier in the evening.

Original message: “On my way to George Michael concert!”
Jill: “No. Way.”
Rebecca: “FUN!”
webMAN: “I’m sorry.”
Chance: “Studying for the bar. I am dead to the world until August.”

I won’t bore you with details from the rest of the second set, but it was extremely entertaining. Especially the girl in the box next to us who kept yelling, “FREEDOM! PLAY FREEDOM.” And every once in a while I thought I heard, “FREE BIRD! PLAY FREE BIRD!”

Yeah honey. Wrong concert. Skynyrd is next week. Maybe it’s time to go easy on the Peach Schnapps there chica.

But she did have a point. Why wasn’t my boy playing Freedom? Surely it’s coming…

We are screaming our guts out for an encore. He sings a slow song and then Careless Whisper. For the millionth time that night, we all go crazy for George Michael. Then he leaves the stage and returns for a second encore, wearing a cop uniform and sings Outside.

Then he bids us farewell.

EXCUSE ME? This is unacceptable.

Nancy Jane and I join Freebird next door and start yelling, “FREEDOM” to the top of our lungs. Felt very William Wallace. This goes on for a good five minutes. People begin to leave thinking he is done. But NJ, Freebird and I will NOT give in.

Out from behind the jumbotron from heaven, George appears and says that he has energy for one more song and he is going to let us choose what he sings.

I have to tell you reader…I honestly thought to myself, “I really need to yell FREEDOM as loud as I can so he can hear me. What if some lame person in the front row shouts out WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO GO and we are stuck with that as our last memory of this blessed night?”

Nancy Jane, Freebird and I give it all we’ve got as FREEDOM erupts from the depths of our souls.

Along with 20,000 other people in the stadium. It was a weird rush that we had all come together with one common goal. The 32-year-old girls, the trannies and the gay guys who just celebrated 10 years of partnership…FREEDOM!

He rocked the house. And it was glorious.

The only thing that would have made the night perfect would have been Sir Elton John taking the stage to sing Don’t Let the Sun Go Down. That, or George Michael Bluth making an appearance.

The next day, I’m on the phone with my Mom.

Lincee: “Is it wrong that I have a crush on a gay guy?”
Mom [nervous]: “Uhm…what guy are you talking about?”

Lincee: “George Michael.”
Mom: “George Michael from his Faith video?”

Lincee: “Yes.”
Mom: “That’s before we knew he was gay, so I think it’s fine.”

It’s nice to have support from your family.

PS: No question–FREEDOM is the clear winner for the Great Debate in my book!


***holding the phone for Jam during Faith***

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