THE undisputed King of Pop has been gone for almost seven years but his music lives on, not just through the radio but on stage too.
Thriller Live was actually created before Michael Jackson died, a reincarnation of The Annual Michael Jackson Celebration, for the legions of loyal fans across the globe who would follow the world’s biggest superstar wherever he went.
Now it has become a posthumous tribute to the legendary singer, dancer and songwriter, showcasing his best work across so many styles of music during his five decades in the business, and is loved the world over by MJ fans.
Opening in Bristol on Monday night, a new UK touring version of Thriller Live took the audience on a motown, disco, pop and rock journey through Michael’s greatest hit all expertly performed by four lead vocalists; Shaquille Hemmans, Rory Taylor, Angelica Allen and Michael Kavuma as well as impersonator Sean Christopher.
Starting with the Jackson Five’s ABC, I Want You Back and a video of Rockin Robin, we are fast transported through the 1970s with glitter balls and disco dancing to Blame it on the Boogie and Shake Your Body before a glimpse into the great man’s solo career with Dangerous, Off the Wall and an emotional performance of the stunning She’s Out of My Life by Rory Taylor.
Rock With You, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough and Can You Feel It make for an enjoyable end to the first half and excitement for the second half, which surely includes all the hits from the world’s best selling albums ever, Thriller and Bad, is tangible.
And we need not be disappointed as Wanna Be Startin Something kicks off another 60 minutes of pure joy for fans of the master’s work. A streetwise version of Beat It, an impeccable reworking of some of Michael’s most memorable dance moves in Smooth Criminal, the gritty rock vocals of Rory Taylor in the explosive Dirty Diana and a full company performance of Man in the Mirror and They Don’t Care About Us leaves everyone on the edge of their seats eager to get up and join the party.
Then we are brought back down to earth, literally with Earth Song, with Michael’s own messages of peace and humility as giant screens feature heroes of the past including Martin Luther King and John Lennon.
As the stage is blacked out, Sean Christopher has the floor and with the iconic image of one single white glove the crowd is crying out for Billie Jean. Sean does not disappoint in a breathtaking display of all Michael’s hip-thrusting, tip-toeing moves so many have tried to replicate.
Then it’s the moment we have all been waiting for, a fully-costumed rendition of the ghoulish Thriller closely followed by Bad and Black or White by which time not a single person is still seated.
Of course, with the amount of hits in Michael Jackson’s back catalogue the show could easily continue all night but reprises of Smooth Criminal and Thriller leave everyone in Bristol delighted and breathless.
The lead vocalists display an impressive range of styles and notes throughout the show, some which sound very similar to Michael and others who put a new spin on timeless hits, while the troupe of hip young dancers are given free range on some numbers bringing songs completely up to date as well as replicating those iconic moments we all know and love.
Thriller Live is an exhilirating, energetic, non-stop celebration of Michael Jackson’s music - so come ready to party and rock the night away.
The show is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, February 20.