In complete contrast to the set mentioned above, Past And Present was a proper compilation put out by Universal to celebrate 25 years in the business, and Michael even did a memorable tour to promote it. It is just one disc but it really does include some of the absolute cream of the crop, with ‘Love Changes Everything’, ‘This Is The Moment’ and ‘Empty Chairs, Empty Tables’, plus ‘One Step Out Of Time’ and the excellent version of ‘The Show Must Go On’ from Music.
What makes this extra special though is the additional material – the inclusion of ‘The Impossible Dream’, ‘Being Alive’ and ‘The Prayer’ are welcomed with open arms. There’s two Kismet tracks in the form of ‘Stranger In Paradise/This Is My Beloved’, plus a stunning orchestral recording of ‘Gethsemane’. That should be enough to seal the deal, but if not, Hairspray fans will lap up the version of ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ which includes the rest of the performers from the original run Michael starred in, making it the closest thing we have to a cast recording.
Also, if you visit iTunes, the version of Past And Present on there has an exclusive bonus track, which gives fans a rare chance to another Hairspray number that Michael normally never goes near, the anthemic ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’.