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.