When George Michael opened the new Wembley Stadium with incredible setlist

15 April 2024, 14:22

George Michael's Wembley performance in 2007
George Michael's Wembley performance in 2007. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

On June 9, 2007, George Michael achieved a remarkable feat: he became the first music artist to perform at the new Wembley Stadium.

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This iconic venue, with a seating capacity of 90,000, had undergone extensive redevelopment, and George Michael’s gig was a momentous occasion for fans and music enthusiasts alike.

A Triumphant Return

After nearly seven years since the last concert at the original Wembley, George Michael took the stage with a mix of nostalgia and anticipation.

He almost didn't make it onto the stage at all, as a security guard initially didn't let him into his own gig.

It was meant to be Bon Jovi opening the new stadium, having previously been the final act at the old Wembley. However, the late completion of the stadium meant that the band were unable to do so, and George stepped in.

"It was such a dream," he told Sky's Chris Evans at the time. "About a year ago, it really was a dream. And I was so jealous of the people who were supposed to open it. And this is just fantastic."

George Michael - Outside (Live from Wembley, 2007)

He said: "It just occurred to me last year when I heard that everything was going to be late and that those gigs last year, I think it was Bon Jovi, The Stones, and Robbie, I think, were supposed to play here last summer.

"When I worked out that they weren't going to be able to, I thought, well, there's a possibility you could actually sneak in there next year. So I approached the board and said, 'I'd love to be the first. And please keep me in mind'. And they came down to the shows at Earl's Court and obviously decided I was worthy."

The crowd eagerly awaited hits from his Wham! days and his illustrious solo career. As the lights dimmed and the cheers echoed through the stadium, George delivered a performance that would resonate for years to come.

Setlist and Emotions

During that historic night, George Michael treated fans to a captivating setlist that spanned his musical journey:

The audience swayed to timeless tunes like 'Careless Whisper', 'Faith', and 'I’m Your Man'. These songs, etched in music history, evoked memories of George's earlier days.

His solo hits, including 'Fastlove', 'Jesus to a Child', and 'Freedom! '90', showcased his vocal prowess and emotional depth. Each note reverberated across the stadium to the thousands of fans.

Emotional Honesty

Onstage, George Michael expressed his gratitude to the fans, calling them “the best, most patient in the world.” The gig formed part of his 25 Live tour, which was his first in 15 years.

His emotional connection with Wembley was palpable. He reminisced about his childhood association with the venue and acknowledged the immense honour of being its first performer.

George Michael - Freedom '90 (Live, The Road To Wembley, 2007)

Challenges and Triumphs

The gig occurred just a day after George Michael received a community service sentence for driving while unfit.

Despite this, he remained undeterred, stating that it hadn’t affected his preparations. His resilience and passion shone through as he addressed the crowd, even taking a moment to challenge the press’s portrayal of his private life, calling his attackers "liars".

Asked before the gig if his sentencing had affected his preparations, he replied: “Not at all, not in the slightest. It’s just nice to have it out of the way.”

Legacy and Beyond

George Michael’s performance at the new Wembley Stadium marked a triumphant return for the singer.

His legacy extended beyond that night, as the stadium continued to host legendary acts like Muse, Metallica, and the Concert for Diana.

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That June evening in 2007 witnessed not only a concert but a celebration of music, resilience, and the enduring spirit of George Michael.

The show was filmed for the Road to Wembley special DVD.

The full setlist was:

  1. Song to the Siren
  2. Flawless (Go to the City) (clip)
  3. Fastlove
  4. Father Figure
  5. Star People
  6. Everything She Wants
  7. Praying for Time
  8. Too Funky
  9. You Have Been Loved
  10. Shoot the Dog
  11. Faith
  12. Roxanne
  13. Spinning the Wheel
  14. Jesus to a Child
  15. Idol
  16. The Edge of Heaven
  17. Amazing
  18. I'm Your Man
  19. Outside
  20. Careless Whisper
  21. Freedom 90