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Tribute to the King

of Pop aims to be a real Thriller.

He was a kind, gen­uine man but above all he was a mu­si­cal ge­nius – that’s what Adrian wanted to cel­e­brate in Thriller Live, his stage tribute to the King of Pop. “Michael Jack­son mu­si­cally was one of the great­est show­men around,” said Adrian, the show’s pro­ducer. “In his lat­ter years, his art and what he was about as an en­ter­tainer got lost some­what and the head­lines took over. “For some­one who had fol­lowed his ca­reer for 21 years I thought it im­por­tant to bring his mu­sic back to the pub­lic.” And Adrian, who got to know the star more than 20 years ago af­ter cre­at­ing the first Michael Jack­son fanzine, hopes Aberdeen au­di­ences come away with a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion of that mu­sic when the show moon­walks into His Majesty’s next week. “It’s a two and a half hour cel­e­bra­tion of Michael Jack­son’s ca­reer,” said Adrian. “It’s a con­cert first and fore­most and a live, high­en­ergy show – but it’s not an im­per­son­ation show. We try to take peo­ple on a jour­ney through Michael’s ca­reer with five dif­fer­ent lead singers, start­ing with a young boy who does all the Jack­son Five ma­te­rial. “Be­cause I didn’t want it to be a looka­like show, we have four adults singing in var­i­ous guises ... we have a fe­male Michael Jack­son, a rock Michael Jack­son, a soul Michael Jack­son. To have one per­son try­ing to sing all his songs would have been like try­ing to repli­cate him and there’s only one Michael Jack­son. So we just try to hon­our him with the best show we can.” And it cer­tainly sounds like a cracker, with hit af­ter hit in­clud­ing Smooth Crim­i­nal, Bil­lie Jean, Bad, Thriller, and vir­tu­ally any other global hit for the su­per­star you care to men­tion. Thriller Live was run­ning long be­fore Jack­son’s death two years ago. In fact, its ori­gins date back to 1991 when Adrian first pro­duced an an­nual Michael Jack­son tribute show – some­thing Michael him­self de­scribed as “beau­ti­ful and in­cred­i­ble”. It grew over the years into Thriller Live, which took to the stage in 2006 at Lon­don’s Do­min­ion Theatre. It was run­ning in the West End on the day the star died. Adrian said Michael’s death was a huge blow. He had met the singer many times over the years, be­ing granted ex­clu­sive mag­a­zine in­ter­views and in­vited to Nev­er­land. Adrian said: “I was shocked when I heard he had died. I didn’t be­lieve it for the first day or two. My first thoughts were for his fam­ily. “Michael was very open and kind with me from the very out­set. He wasn’t like the press per­ceived him to be. “He was smart, he was very funny and very much a kid at heart. That was all gen­uine.” Since his death, Thriller Live has be­come more pop­u­lar than ever. “There are a lot of peo­ple com­ing to see the show out of cu­rios­ity, or a lot of peo­ple who didn’t see Michael Jack­son live who want to see a lit­tle bit of what that might have been like. We’re reach­ing a wider au­di­ence. “It’s not just for his fans, any­one who has got a Michael Jack­son record can come and see the show. It’s a feel-good night, peo­ple join in, singing and dancing. “It’s beau­ti­fully chore­ographed. You would think you were watch­ing a Michael Jack­son video with, say, Smooth Crim­i­nal or Beat It.” And as Thriller Live grows, Adrian hopes it will be part of the move to re­mem­ber Michael for his mu­si­cal ge­nius, not the ac­cu­sa­tions of a bizarre life­style. “Michael Jack­son was, in my opin­ion, one of the last greats of mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment. To­day mu­sic is a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish with celebri­ties be­ing born ev­ery 15 min­utes on X Fac­tor or Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent. “Michael Jack­son wasn’t man­u­fac­tured. His ca­reer lasted four decades and he was very much old school in that he stud­ied the greats like Jackie Wil­son, Ste­vie Won­der and James Brown. “As he said him­self, in or­der to be­come great you have to study the greats and be­come greater. “I think his mu­sic has lasted the test of time be­cause it was all from his heart and his soul. He was unique and in­spired a whole gen­er­a­tion. “I think it is sad that it has taken his pass­ing to earn him the re­spect he has now. “But he has been im­mor­talised. His mu­sic is now speak­ing much louder than it ever did.”

BROTHERS: The show pays tribute to the Jack­son Five. MON­STER HIT: The Thriller se­quence is a show high­light.

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