George Michael: No plans for ABBA-style hologram show but new music could be on the way

14 June 2022, 15:57

George Michael's Freedom Uncut is released in June
George Michael's Freedom Uncut is released in June. Picture: Alamy

By Tom Eames

George Michael's longtime colleague and friend has spoken about the chances of a hologram tour of the star in the near future.

David Austin - who worked with George Michael for many years including the new documentary film Freedom Uncut - dismissed any hopes of there being a live show in the same style of ABBA's Voyage production.

Speaking at a screening of the new film, David said there is "never" a chance of that happening.

Elaborating, David explained that George had been interested in creating something special during his lifetime, but that it would not be considered now that he is no longer around to agree on any ideas.

"A few years ago, way before all that started happening, while George was with us, we were thinking about doing something with the Royal Albert Hall," he said.

"So around the release of Listen Without Prejudice that we initially made this film for, we were going to do a live event at the Royal Albert Hall. We were trying to work out— maybe it was going to be orchestral, or something like that. We were trying to work out how we could do this.

See the first look at George Michael: Freedom Uncut

"One of the things we were going to do, in the middle— we had an idea that in the middle of 'Fastlove', for that bit where the rain comes down, you know, “in the absence of security”, in the middle of that thing, we were going to see if we could do a hologram idea, in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall, which we thought would blow people away, you know?

"And I went around, and I had all these people sort of courting me. 'They did the Tupac hologram, they did this…' And I just went to look at a load of them, and they were sh*t. They were really, really poor.

"There was some people who were ahead of the game with it, and some people who weren’t. It just didn’t work. I went to Milan to see a company, and there was one in Vegas.

"I want to go and see the ABBA thing, actually, because everyone’s raving about it. And they’ve obviously thrown loads of money, and it’s absolutely jammed full of hits. And that’s the real driver. If it’s full of hit records, that sort of thing works.

"But I saw the Roy Orbison thing. The problem with holograms is, people just don’t engage subconsciously. They notice a hologram, and 20 minutes into it, once they’ve seen it, people are on their phone, and there’s chitchat, and there’s this level of murmur that’s going on.

"The ABBA thing probably works because it’s absolutely jammed— I just saw the Michael Jackson thing in New York last week, the musical. And for me, it felt like a bit of a tribute act. It really ticked that box in a big way. And the guy that played Jackson was absolutely brilliant. And the sound was amazing. It was just like a tribute thing.

"But it really works on that level, because… Firstly, people are really hungry for it. But it’s absolutely packed – jampacked – with hit after hit after hit after hit. And on that level, they kind of work."

Speaking about the possibility of unreleased George Michael songs being brought out, David said: "There are three or four recordings that were complete George Michael, finished, mastered recordings. That’s what we’ve got. And one of them came out a while ago, called 'This Is How'.

Watch the trailer for George Michael: Freedom Uncut

"We’re not going to ever, ever do like, you know… We saw that with… I remember just after Amy Winehouse had passed away. They put that album out. They pulled all these demos out of the drawer, and started getting people involved in them. I think they did the same with Jackson, didn’t they?

"We would never ever do that. George’s complete body of work is his body of work. That’s what we have to work with. There were a few tracks that were finished, and that’s where it goes, you know?"

Freedom Uncut is released at cinemas worldwide for one night only on June 22.

Originally aired on Channel 4, this new version has 30 extra minutes and is closer to George Michael's original cut. The late singer was working on the film to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Listen Without Prejudice before his death in 2016.

The film also features exclusive studio versions of Adele's cover 'Fastlove' and Chris Martin's version of 'A Different Corner'.