Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Michael Jackson show Thriller Live full of hits but fails to rock our world

LONDON - MARCH 05: Michael Jackson attends a press conference to announce plans for a summer residency of concerts at the O2 Arena, Grenwich on March 5, 2009 in London, England.
Michael Jackson performing in London in 1993

Love him or loathe him, Michael Jackson’s music will live on because for four decades he was a hit-making machine.

Thriller Live is a testament to the late artist’s incredible career from his cute beginnings in the Jackson Five through to the success of Thriller — still the world’s best-selling record of all-time.

On tour in Belfast this week, fans of the King of Pop packed the Grand Opera House last night, but it seemed to leave most of the audience cold.

The glitzy show is less a musical and more a concert of his string of hits which pays homage to Jackson’s legendary live performances.

The first half has a narrative flow beginning with Jackson as a teen sensation belting out ABC with his brothers and sisters to his breakthrough solo album Off The Wall. There was an awkward audience participation moment when the cast invited the audience to Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).

It then turns away from charting the singer’s rise and fall to become a medley of Jackson’s greatest hits. This is probably a good thing given the series of child abuse allegations, addictions and his cosmetic surgery habit — all of which would have spoiled a feelgood night out.

Instead the show focuses on Jackson’s best-loved tracks.

The vocals are provided by six very different singers, none of whom really look like him. The dancing is great and there are some dazzling multi-media effects.

However, the show felt very much like The X Factor and never really thrilled.

ANNE MADDEN

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