I have a list of artists I’d still pay to see perform for the first time.

This list, more a product of a life blessed by concert attendance than one made of snobbiness (though there is some of that as well) has very few names on it.

Tonight, is has one fewer.

 

Though a child of the eighties, George Michael was pop just before I knew the meaning of that word. Then in his second act, George was sex… before I knew much of what that meant either.

I knew there was something about his jeans that elicited screams from the girls I wanted to date, but that was about the end of that…

 

It was in Act Three, as a wandering, scared shitless soul in Malden, MA that George and I really began our affair.

These were the days of bootleg record stores, and George’s Unplugged album was the record I simply needed to have. I purchased it. I consumed it. And in doing so I was shown a way in.

 

I owe not just a more mature respect of music to George Michael Unplugged, I owe the very origins of my writing.

Boston was where I truly knew desperation. It was where I was given my pen… And every one of those first probing words was written with George Michael in my ears.

 

In the years since my Ivy capitulation, I’ve rebounded and grown. I’ve found some arrogance, and I’ve even learned to shop in shades of humility. (sometimes)

I’m thrilled to say I’ve seen some of the same from my old friend, George.

 

This older George – though some years were trying – was a man I’ll remember for his whimsy. His cheeky Twitter rants and effortlessly astounding turns on mostly European stages… I’ve consumed all with a joy enabled by the assumption that I’d have years still to meet him.

To be clear, I had no design on ever shaking the man’s hand. To meet him, for me, would have been to have written [while listening] to him. To meet him would have been to have discussed him more with friends. To meet him would have been to just once have seen him play live in concert.

 

Now. He’s gone, and I’ll allow myself the ache of his vacancy. I won’t hide from the pain as I often did in my youth… Both he and I achieved different measures of Freedom long ago…

 

2016 has seen the passing of many whom we held dear. In George Michael, I’ve lost someone I’m not quite able to describe the absence of.

 

Such perspective will come. In time. Perhaps I’ll write more about it then. If so, I’ll know who to thank.

 

Sleep well, George. You’ve earned the rest.

 

Take care my love, he said

Don’t think that God is dead

Take care my love, he said

You have been loved

 

12/25/2016

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