Where the music ended and the screams, the applause, ended was impossible to say. A solid wall of heat radiated from the audience to the stage, adolescent lust breaking in foaming waves around his feet. I stared up at him, my eyes glazed with that same longing, damp with frustrated tears. He was so perfect.
It was 1988 and George Michael was on his first solo tour. I was 14 and perfectly placed to be hit by a tornado of emotion resulting from the soap-opera storyline of Wham!’s breakdown, break-up and the rise of George as a solo artist. There he was now, almost within touching distance. Shirt open to the waist, hair as soft and light as the fizz in champagne, face highlighted and defined by perfect stubble. He made me want to cry. I cried, so much. I cried watching him on TV. I cried when I heard Father Figure on the radio. Sometimes I would cry in the middle of unrelated activities. It was too much, he was too much.
He took the microphone and looked as if he was about to speak into it, hesitated, stopped. Our screams were deafening; anything he said would be lost. He muttered something, but nobody heard. He stepped back and swung the acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder round to playing position and strummed out the opening bars to Faith. The crowd exploded – maybe literally, perhaps somewhere along the front row a girl burst, showering those around her in hearts and rainbows. George stepped back further, played nothing more.
The buzz started to cool. He was staring out from the stage with an odd expression on his face. His backing band were perfectly still. He strummed another note, loud and discordant. It made me uncomfortable inside, and not in the usual way he did. It hit a raw nerve. I sensed that those around me felt it too. The girl next to me clutched her stomach as if she was going to be sick.
“Can I have silence, please?” George spoke into the mic, his North London inflections flat and colourless. Somehow, we heard him this time. Though you would have thought it impossible, the auditorium hushed. “Thank you.”
We all looked around, making eye contact with each other. What great announcement would George be making? A new album? Would we be the first to hear new material? He brought the microphone close to his lips and spoke, softly at first but with rising passion.
“Hail to you, Lord of Portals, Father of the Secret Paths, Lurker in the Angles! Ia! Yog-Sothoth! N’gai, n’gha’ghaa, bugg-shoggog, y’hah: Yog-Sothoth! Yog-Sothoth! Y’grr ftah’yg’gsh iieergrro y’f’gah-aa sh-tah: Yog-Sothoth! N’gai yg’yggah n’gah y’hah: Yog-Sothoth! Yog-Sothoth! Yog-Sothoth! Ai!”
I remember as the walls of reality melted in that arena. I remember the coming of the Great Old Ones, bringing our new age of darkness. I remember the suffering. But I remember too his eyes, shining with beautiful desire as the abominations shambled into our world.