March 26, 2008 / 12:11 AM / 10 years ago

George Michael plans first U.S. tour in 17 years

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - George Michael has a lot of “Faith” in his North American fans. The British pop singer on Monday unveiled plans for his first tour of the United States and Canada in 17 years, beginning June 17 at San Diego Sports Arena.

British pop singer George Michael performs at the OAKA Stadium in Athens, July 26, 2007. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

The 22-date arena trek runs through August 3 at the BankAtlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Tickets for the “25 Live” tour go on sale to the general public on April 6th, a week after fan club members get first dibs. Ticketmaster currently lists one show, the July 7 gig at Saint Paul, MN., where the top price is $175.

While his international appeal remains strong, Michael’s profile in the United States has waned over the past decade, although his last album, 2004’s “Patience,” managed to peak at No. 12 thanks to an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Michael, 44, rose to fame in the early 1980s as one-half of the singing duo Wham! and enhanced his popularity with his solo debut, 1987’s “Faith,” which has been certified for U.S. shipments in excess of 10 million copies. It included the hit singles “Father Figure,” “I Want Your Sex Parts 1 & 2” and the title track.

Subsequent efforts did not sell nearly as well, and Michael’s career ground to a halt in the early 1990s when he unsuccessfully sued Sony to get out of his contract. In 1998, he was arrested for lewd conduct in Beverly Hills, and subsequently disclosed his homosexuality.

The European leg of his “25 Live” tour took him to 12 countries where he performed 80 shows for some 1.3 million fans, according to a statement.

The North American tour will promote a double-disc hits set, the second of his career. “Twenty-Five” is scheduled for U.S. release on April 1, a decade after Michael issued the retrospective “Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael.”

Editing by Dean Goodman

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