Strange what a near-death experience can do for a man. A year ago George Michael was fighting for his life after being struck down with pneumonia.
But now, here he is, looking and sounding at the peak of his powers and resuming his Symphonica Tour to a delirious fan faithful.
"Good evening Manchester, we’re back!" he yells before launching into a swinging cover of My Baby Just Cares For Me.
It’s the only mention we get that he has ever even been away. As the title of the tour suggests, this is a classically-reworked set of his greatest hits and a mix of well-selected covers. The full orchestra provides a spectacular backdrop to the show, and breathes a sparkling new level of seduction to old George classics.
Eighties favourites Father Figure and Different Corner are sensual singalongs while the likes of Cowboys and Angels and Kissing a Fool were made for this sort of symphonic treatment – it’s truly spine-tingling stuff.
It’s super-stylish too, a sleek black circular set, with our Gorgeous George at the heart of it all in sharp black suit and Tom Ford specs.
But while the overall mood is of laidback sophistication, there are also moments of joyous jiggling – on Waiting For That Day and even a finale snapshot of I’m Your Man.
The cover versions are pretty special too though, Rufus Wainwright’s Going To a Town, Police’s Roxanne and Rihanna’s Russian Roulette proving show highlights.
There’s also an airing for "something local" as he introduces his cover of New Order’s True Faith.
Too many magic moments to mention, this tour proves 49-year-old George is back, and boy he means business.
"Don’t tell anyone, but you’re my favourites," he laughs at the encore.
The feeling is quite, quite mutual.