No doubt it’s already all over YouTube and any number of other online video portals, but, to commemorate the long-awaited domestic release of the divine George Michael’s new comprehensive greatest hits set TwentyFive — about which a blog post is imminent — VH1 Classic is airing in a regular rotation Michael’s landmark 1996 appearance on “MTV Unplugged.” If, like myself, you were horrified and outraged by (the usually dependable) Carrie Underwood’s heinously overblown performance of Michael’s 1990 tour de force “Praying for Time” on that “Idol Gives Back” special a few weeks back, you must check out the masterfully intimate way George reinvents his own smash live: using a deceptively plain piano accompaniment, a string section worthy of the Met, and a viper’s parched precision, Michael takes what began as a bitter slam against greed and gluttony and transforms it into a wrenching, impossibly riveting elegy for ceded innocence. It is haunting, spectacular theater, and nothing short of same.

the original video, from 1990:

the Unplugged performance, from 1996:

1 response to “preacher teacher anything you have in mind”

  1. the buzz from A.:

    Wow! (That word again!) You’re getting farther and farther in this blogging business! I REALLY like the “MTV Unplugged” version — it is really excellent. A few more songs like this, and you may have to seriously consider editing your first post!