Thursday, April 3, 2008

George Michael To Tour After 17 Years

A swarming paparazzi presence coupled with a nasty legal spat with Sony Music nearly scared him away for good, but George Michael hasn't completely lost his faith in America. This summer, the British bad boy returns for his first U.S. tour in 17 years.

After performing more than 80 shows in Europe, Michael kicks off the U.S. leg of his 25 Live tour in San Diego on June 17 before heading to 19 other cities. The arena tour will showcase songs from his album Twenty-Five, out April 1 and featuring duets with Mary J. Blige and Paul McCartney.

Why return now? Michael, 44, calls it a "rounding off" of his career's first phase. "I don't want to do anything on this scale again," he says. "No more stadiums. I'd like to be the Tony Bennett for my generation."

Disturbed by the increasing trend of downloadable music rendering CDs obsolete and talent shows such as American Idol taking the passion out of pop music, Michael says, "it's the end of a certain era, and I'm not sure how much I really want to be a part of what's next. So, it's a kind of a way of saying thank you to everybody before I move on."

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