The iconic Michael Jackson, the undisputed ‘King of Pop’, lives on in the hearts of music fans the world over, continuing to inspire new generations of singer.
But in the shape of the stage show Thriller Live, which is currently being performed at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall, there is a chance to relive the huge hits of his phenomenal back-catalogue — and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention thanks to an incredible, all-action tribute.
To do justice to a legend (a word I don’t use lightly), whose musical career spanned four decades, is a tall order indeed.
However, the cast of dynamic, powerful and incredible singers and dancers, underpinned by a brilliant stage setting, on-point crew and superb band, manage to pull off the impossible.
From the moment the obligatory mobile phone warning cranks into gear in the style of Vincent Price’s voicceover for Thriller, we in the audience knew we were in for a great night.
Nostalgic tracks which brought back memories of my childhood to haunting ballads, showpiece songs that were as much about performance as the music, and exalted songs that shaped a genre, all bases were covered.
There is also a level of honesty on show, with those in the wings resisting the temptation to turn this into a story with plotline, beginning, middle and end.
This is about the music, in my view a pure celebration of what Jackson essentially was all about, despite the circus away from the studio or stage.
There are dozens of tracks covering all the eras that Jackson transcended.
His early days are to the fore with a nod to the Jackson 5 thanks to the likes of ABC and Rockin’ Robin.
And it is here that we are introduced to the fabulous lead vocalists who took us through the night — Britt Quentin, who bares more than a striking resemblance to the man in both looks and voice, Rory Taylor, the stunning Adriana Figueroa, Shaquille Hemmans and Ina van Woersem.
This group, backed up by incredible acrobatic dancers led by dance captain Kevin Heatherson, just go from strength to strength, not least when encouraging the audience to get up on their feet and join in the party. Especially when ticking the box of the disco days with the likes of Blame it on the Boogie.
A particular highlight for me came when the aforementioned Rory Taylor beautifully sang ‘She’s Out Of My Life’ from the album Off The Wall. Save for the beautiful tones and pitch-perfect vocal clarity, you could hear a pin drop.
If the first half of the show was a tour de force, then the second half ramped up the pace with a nod to some of the more modern tracks.
Smooth Criminal, from the album Bad, is an almost picture perfect rendition of the accompanying video - played out just feet away from us.
Earth Song is a real showstopper with the entire cast involved.
And there is no way I could complete this review without a mention of one of the most important tracks of ALL TIME, Thriller. It is brilliantly brought to life with zombies, a graveyard scene and THAT dance.
A truly incredible show that I would recommend not only to Jackson fans, but also fans of music, fans of live performances, hell.....just fans of great entertainment!
Thriller Live is currently being staged at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall until Saturday January 13. For ticket information and to book CLICK HERE.