George Michael High NRGi Tour Start

The first two shows of George Michael’s European tour kicked off in front of large crowds of about 33,000 fans on May 18th and 19th at the home of the Aarhus soccer club in Denmark.

The day of the tour opener was plagued by confusion as fans already unfamiliar with the site were confused even more by the lack of proper signage at the newly renamed NRGi Park. ICO Concert Promotions, which promoted the shows, was hampered by the local authorities’ refusal to post new signs for the venue.

"NRGi is a privately owned electric company," said ICO’s Kim Worsoe. "The city didn’t want to put the new name on the signs, as they did not wish to advertise for the private company. Therefore, out-of-town visitors had difficulties finding the venue," he explained. "It is a discussion that apparently has been going on between the city of Aarhus and the venue for some time, but we were not aware of it until after the concerts.

"The signage outside the stadium was not satisfactory either, due to a misunderstanding between the stadium and ourselves. We solved that problem in time for the second show.

"George Michael’s people were happy and the problems did not affect the show itself, but naturally it is not a good thing when ticket holders cannot find the venue. Doors opened at 17:00 and the show started at 21:30 so everybody was in place well before the show started."

Despite the advance sellouts, walkup tickets were made available on the day of the shows once the tour production had been erected for the first time and sight lines established.

Some of the Danish media, including Jyllandsposten, found other things to criticize about the stadium’s handling of basic logistics for the event.

John Rintza, whose Eventzone company runs coach and hospitality trips to concerts, blamed local promoter Knud Bjerre for the security problems that led to many of his customers being in the wrong part of the arena.

"There was hardly any security and people weren’t being checked as they were going into the stadium and many went in through the wrong entrances. They had to find their own way to the area where they were meant to be and there was no one to direct them," he told Pollstar.

Iben Bødtker, whose Concert Crew company supplied 150 people to serve behind the bars each night, was also vehemently critical of the way Bjerre ran the local operation.

"There were no glasses in the bars when the doors opened on Friday and no one to keep them supplied when they ran out of beer," she explained. "I was told there would be 30 people doing that but they didn’t show up and I didn’t have sufficient staff to cover. There were long queues and I couldn’t have my people carrying boxes of beer, walking through all the crowds from one bar to another to make sure they all had some drink to serve.

"On the Saturday night the bars hadn’t been re-stocked and we ran out after an hour. Then we had to wait for more beer to arrive."

Rintza thinks the stadium concessionaires under-estimated the amount of food and drink the crowd would get through and had no backup when outlets began to run dry.