"Once we got to 'Father Figure,' we were on fire," Deon Estus tells Billboard.
Veteran musician Deon Estus, who played bass with George Michael throughout his Wham! years and on through much of the singer's solo career, can vividly recall how the Faith tour opened. With hues of blue blasting like headlights from above, "There was a cage onstage that would open up and you would hear the organ play," the musician tells Billboard of the album's instrumental opening sequence. "I still remember the buzz. It was fantastic. Every night, I looked forward to 'Father Figure.' Once we got there, we were on fire."
Estus, a Detroit native and session player who spent more than a decade playing in Marvin Gaye's band, had a close-up look at the pop phenomenon that was George Michael, who was discovered dead on Christmas Day. Not only did he perform in Michael's band for the better part of 25 years, he also opened on the Faith tour and co-wrote a song with Michael, "Heaven Help Me," from Estus' 1989 album Spell, which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also drawing the two together: Estus' voice, which would blend with Michael's harmoniously. "We sounded a lot alike," he says.