The best, most thrilling concert I’ve ever been to in my life hits DVD this week, and you’ll find the year’s greatest assemblage of musical all-stars on the new release wall as well. As the December doldrums go, you could do a hell of a lot worse:


Just a month after Volume 1 hit stores with a bang, Fox and the folks at their latest television smash are back on the case with the release of Glee: The Music, Vol. 2, another collection of seventeen cover tunes from the hit high school musical comedy. The show tends to give me hives, but the quality of the music is beyond reproach, and I’m happy to report that the cast’s showstopping rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” — done in collaboration with a deaf glee club from a neighboring school (you had to be there!) in an episode from a couple of weeks ago — makes the cut here, and it’s so great that it almost makes you forget about the kids’ abominable desecration of Van Halen’s 1984 classic “Jump.”

His first “solo” album became a justified smash in the summer of 2007 on the strength of its brilliant collaborations with the likes of Justin Timberlake, OneRepublic, Nelly Furtado, and new Grammy nominee Keri Hilson. So who could blame hip-hop producer extraordinaire Timbaland for dipping back into that same well with his sophomore effort, Shock Value II? Each of the aforementioned artists returns for an encore, and this time around, they’re joined by the unlikely likes of Daughtry, Miley Cyrus, The Fray, Nickelback’s lead singer Chad Kroeger, Katy Perry, and Jet. I’ve heard exactly none of this record, but considering how much reckless fun the original was, I see no reason to believe this won’t be a complete blast.

In July of last year, A, Sherry Ann, and myself rented a gorgeous gray Mustang and took the road trip of all time — at the time, Sherry Ann called it “our big gay adventure” — to Houston to catch the show that no fewer than two of us had been waiting for no less than twenty-five years to see: George Freakin’ Michael performing an actual honest-to-Jesus concert. We had killer seats for the show of a lifetime: King George owned that stage for damn near three hours, honey, and by the time he was done, we were all sweat-drenched from shaking our asses in breathtaking unison. It was literally the best concert I’ve ever been to, and I am so thrilled to be given an opportunity to relive a piece of the magic, as George has just released his first-ever performance DVD, Live in London, recorded during the very same tour that gave us the aforementioned Houston show.


Split admirably between the highlights of Wham!’s discography (“Careless Whisper,” “Everything She Wants”), the shattering classics from Michael’s early years as a solo artist (“One More Try,” “Father Figure,” “Freedom”), and Michael’s vastly underrated later material (“Fastlove,” “Flawless,” “Outside,” “My Mother Had a Brother”), I’ll wager you’ll find London‘s setlist to be a thing of breathtaking beauty, but the truly amazing fact about all of this is how utterly spectacular George still sounds (and looks!) on that stage. Michael’s personal problems have been well-publicized of late, but one needs no more than ninety seconds to watch him and understand that those problems haven’t affected in the slightest George’s God-given talent and ability. Two and one-half decades into one of the most brilliant careers pop music ever constructed, Michael remains a one-of-a-kind force of nature, and Live in London stands as a crisp, compelling document of one uncompromising artist’s dazzling journey.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • He just did one of these a couple of years ago (didn’t he?),
    but Seal has returned with a new collection of Hits.

  • Jared Leto and his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, are up with their latest effort, This is War.

  • And finally, Songs in the Key of Love and Hate, the latest effort from those cheeky rockers Puddle of Mudd.


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