George Shows Himself To U.S. Market

George Michael is heading out on a U.S. tour similar to his recent European 25 Live series.

The 22-date arena tour beginning at San Diego Sports Arena June 17 will be the first time he’s played the States in 17 years.

The European leg of the "25 Live" tour, which began in September 2006, saw the troubled former Wham star getting front-page headlines after falling asleep at the wheel of his car and being cautioned for possession of cannabis.

It was also a huge success for artist and tour organiser Marshall Arts. The 15 U.K. shows, which were spread across Birmingham’s NEC, Manchester’s MEN Arena, Glasgow’s SECC and London’s Earls Court and Wembley Arena, shifted nearly a quarter of a million tickets in two hours.

In Norway, the Oslo show at the 10,000-capacity Spektrum sold out in 90 minutes. Copenhagen’s 49,000-capacity Parken went clean in three hours. The first of three concerts at Rotterdam’s 11,000-capacity Ahoy Arena sold out in six minutes. The second and third shows took 16 minutes each.

A second lap of Europe in the summer of 2007, which took in some outdoor venues, was less successful. A few promoters took heavy losses, including Richard Hoermann of Vienna-based He said his July 13 show in Vienna, which had already been downgraded from a 25,000-capacity open-air site at Danube Island, was the main reason his company went bankrupt.

The tour may determine whether Michael’s American fans still have Faith, the title of his debut solo album that moved more than 10 million copies in the U.S.

The follow-up didn’t do anywhere near as well and in the early ’90s he ended up unsuccessfully suing Sony to get out of his recording contract.