Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Thriller Live
Nottingham Royal Concert Hall

Michael Jackson was an icon, The King of Pop, and tonight at the Royal Concert Hall this company of dancers and singers cemented that fact with a full pelt run down memory lane. From the early Motown days, encompassing almost every hit single he, and the Jackson Five/Jacksons had. You will never be able to replicate the amazing live shows Jackson put on, but this show comes pretty close to providing anyone, like myself who never had the chance to see the King of Pop in concert, a chance to experience the incredibly well crafted pop, r 'n' b, soul, disco and good time music he gave the world, in a concert setting.

The five brilliant vocalists didn't provide impressions of Jackson, they paid tribute to the man of the white glove, and in many places you could just shut your eyes and it was uncanny how close the vocals were to Michael's. Sean Christopher, Shaquille Hemmans, Michael Kavuma, Cleopatra Higgins and Rory Taylor brought back to life the spirit of the man. Cleopatra, who you may remember from the band Cleopatra, sang many of the earlier back catalogue, giving buckets full of aching soul to songs like "Who's Loving You" and the achingly beautiful "I'll Be There" as well as a gorgeous duet in "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", the number one song Jackson recorded with Siedah Garrett. Rory did one amazing job on "She's Out Of My Life", what emotion that man has in his voice, but they all gave strong vocal performances.

An amazing troupe of very energetic dancers kept all of our energy levels up. Every one bringing the video routines to life on stage, as well some incredible contemporary moves complete with some very athletic signature backflips from dancer Peter Cleverley, every dancer giving that "WOW" factor. "Thriller" is one dance we've all tried to do at a family party or wedding and this was one just one of many many highlights choreographed by Gary Lloyd.

The set was designed by Jonathan Park and was practical for all of the dance routines, as well as being exciting to look at. An explosion of electric colour scapes created some wonderful video effects, courtesy of The Twins FX, adding even more excitement to the already bursting show. The costumes were also amazing bringing the memories of Jackson's iconic videos flooding back to life before your very eyes. Who can forget the white suit for "Smooth Criminal", the white diamond encrusted glove outfit for "Billie Jean", the red leather jacket and jeans for "Thriller" as well as the disco period of the mid to late 70's tight jumpsuits. Yes they were all there!

The live band directed musically by ex Level 42er Mike Lindup, brought an incredible throbbing dance beat to the Royal Concert Hall. The two guitarists, Rob Minns and Alan Salmon, making that recognisable rock guitar sound as if Slash had been there in the room on "Beat It". What an amazing atmosphere.

i saw this show a few years ago and, looking back at my review then, I could see just how tight this show has become, both choreography wise and music wise. Maybe, and I am really being picky here, the lip-synching could have been just a bit better, but this was only because I was looking for it. If I hadn't had been looking for it, i wouldn't have probably noticed. 

A couple of the popping and locking dance segments also could have been sharper with more locking off from the dancers, but again I was watching for it. No one can dance like Jackson, let's face it if Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were fans of the man's moves, and even Sammy Davis Jr couldn't copy the intricateness of the choreography, these dancers really had their job cut out. You know what though, this whole show is just one fantastic, and loyal tribute to a musical legend and the singers and dancers worked their butts off to give the audience the closest thing to an original Jackson greatest hits tour, and the audience lapped it up, we were in their hands all night.

I've been a fan of Jackson's since the early seventies when I discovered the "Michael and Me" album, and I've been a fan since then, and still am today. Forget his personal issues, concentrate an the massive musical legacy he gave us and go and see this whirlwind of an incredible, and lovingly produced tribute to a musical legend.

So many hits including "ABC", "I Want You Back", "Can You Feel It", "Shake Your Body Down", "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough", "Off The Wall", "Earth Song", "Man In the Mirror", "Dangerous", "Bad", "Billie Jean", "They Don't Care About Us", the list goes on and on and on.

"Thriller Live" is on at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 16 January 2016

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