Thriller Live Review: Sean Christopher’s Michael Jackson A Show Stopping Tribute To King of Pop

Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald – By Chloe Smethurst | All Things Michael

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Capturing the spirit of Michael Jackson’s legacy without relying entirely on mimicry, Thriller Live is buoyed up by a funky live band and several brilliant vocalists, plus a team of dancers. The staging is lively, with several levels and projection panels filling the space with visuals and the sounds of Jackson’s best-loved songs.

British performer Sean Christopher is so good he’s almost unbelievable. With his trilby pulled down low, he gives a rendition of Billie Jean so close to the original it’s as though the King of Pop himself was onstage, slicing the air with his hands, crackling through each joint and sliding backwards in a slick moonwalk.

Where Christopher excels in recreating MJ’s presence, fellow vocalists Wayne Robinson, J Rome and Peter Murphy give terrific, faithful versions of the hits without looking like imitators.

Moving easily between songs and even decades, the production resembles a concert more than a musical, which makes Mig Ayesa’s hammy acting seem out of place. Luckily, his impressive voice is perfectly tuned for ballads such as She’s Out of My Life.

Prinnie Stevens’ performance gains momentum throughout the show, reaching a high point with her show-stopping version of The Way You Make Me Feel.

Spangled jackets, gloves and belt buckles lend extra zing, as does the immersive lighting and atmospheric digital projections. If only the group choreography was tighter and more interesting, Thriller Live would be hard to fault.

With just enough audience participation and all that classic music, Thriller Live is a winner.

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How The NFL Convinced Michael Jackson To Perform For The Super Bowl Halftime Show

Sources: Sports Illustrated – By Austin Murray | All Things Michael

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The calculus changed radically in 1992, after ice skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill got their heads handed to them by In Living Color comedians Keenen and Damon Wayans. CBS’s Nielsen rating dipped from a 42.1 to a 32.8 during that halftime, and the NFL suits had seen enough. Overnight it was decided: The days of jayvee, dinner theater–caliber entertainment were over. The league sent everyone deep. They decided to go after Michael Jackson.

For a month they got nowhere. Steeg sat down with the King of Pop’s manager, Sandy Gallin, 11 months before Super Bowl XXVII. “I remember pitching them,” he says, “and them not really having a clue what we were talking about.” At a subsequent meeting, producer Don Mischer pointed out that the Super Bowl would be broadcast in more than 120 countries. Now he had Jackson’s full attention.

Steeg recalls Jackson saying, “So you’re telling me that this show is going live to all those places where I’ll never do a concert?” A pause. “I’m in.”

“Michael worked harder than anybody [who’s done the halftime show], before or since,” says Steeg, who remembers seeing Jackson still rehearsing his act at seven the night before the game, in a tent outside the Rose Bowl.

And it showed. Jackson, rocking a bandolier-draped frock coat on loan, apparently, from Muammar Gaddafi, was sensational. The final moments of that show were the most viewed in the history of television at the time.

 

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Thriller Live Gives Reporter A New View Of Michael Jackson

Sources: The New Zealand Herald – Catherine Smith| All Things Michael

Seeing the live stage celebration of Michael Jackson’s life and work is absolutely thrilling, discovers Catherine Smith.

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I’ll declare up front: I have never been a huge Michael Jackson fan. I’ve never had an encyclopaedic recall of every song/album/video, never worshipped at the Altar of Michael. Sure, I sang along in the playground to his first solo hit Ben (sweetly, recorded just before his voice broke in 1971, released in 1972). I’m pretty sure I bopped along to Off the Wall tracks, and I do remember the impact of Thriller.

But I wasn’t until I spent more than two hours on my feet dancing, singing and raging like I was 18 again at Thriller Live, that I realised that this man had created the soundtrack to my life. There was even, I confess, a teeny tear or two. Say what you like about the monkeys and the sleepovers, Jackson was an extraordinary artist, unmatched by many others.

Thriller Live is billed as a concert production that celebrates Jackson – it is not a tribute show, although one performer does remarkably resemble the king of pop, it is not a musical with “the rise of” yarn in the way of Buddy, or The Jersey Boys.

Adrian Grant, who developed the original concept for the show as an off-shoot of his annual Michael Jackson Celebration he began for UK fans in 1991, has documented the history of this entertainer with an ensemble of five singers and 10 dancers.

After getting Jackson’s nod in 2001, Grant developed the show into a proper spectacular. It previewed in 2005, went on a UK tour in 2007, and hit the West End. Like Jackson’s artistic legacy, Grant’s collaboration with director/choreographer Gary Lloyd and musical director John Maher is now one for the record books: the 20th longest running West End show, touring shows have played in more than 28 countries (significantly, not the United States, for copyright reasons) to audiences of more than three million people.

Michael endorsed an early version of the show, his brothers have all loved it.

Grant could well be the uber-fan boy. He met Jackson a number of times at Neverland and accompanied him on visits to children’s hospitals – and one of the joys of the show is the obvious love and admiration cast and directors have for him and his work.

Maher put the first show together in 2007 and is still touring with the production in Australia and New Zealand eight years later. The former school choir singer who played Riff Raff with Richard O’Brien in a 1986 production of Rocky Horror Showhad been an actor, been in a rock band, and still likes to do a bit of cabaret. He points out that this is not the sort of show where you do bold, new arrangements or re-invent someone’s work as an outsider.

“I had to study what makes [his music] tick, how to capture that. I had to study it like a forensic scientist. He was at the forefront of recording – the first big artist to use keyboard base, his rhythmic detail is phenomenal.

When you listen to his a capella recordings as a kid in the studio, the groove is so heavy, and that voice, his phrasing. I can’t think of a singer who sang more rhythmically,” he says.

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Sony/ATV Appoints Moses Martiny To Vice President Digital, Europe

Sources: Broadway World | All Things Michael

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Sony/ATV Music Publishing has today announced it has appointed Moses Martiny to the role of Vice President Digital, Europe.

In this newly created position Martiny will report into Sony/ATV EVP of Digital & Society Relations Europe Antony Bebawi and work with the company’s international affiliates as well as the UK-based International and Business Affairs teams.

Antony Bebawi said: “I am delighted that Moses has joined us. He brings a complementary set of skills and valuable experience to our team which will further enhance our growing digital licensing business and help us to continue to deliver improved results for our songwriters during these exciting yet challenging times for the music business.”

Moses Martiny said: “I am excited to join the renowned team at Sony/ATV. As the leading music publisher Sony/ATV is playing a key role in enabling and shaping the expanding digital music eco-system. The challenge is to support a vibrant and growing market, while also ensuring fair compensation to the creators of music. I look forward to working closely with digital services and Sony/ATV’s industry partners to evolve the European digital music landscape.”

The new role places Martiny at the centre of the rapidly-expanding and ever-evolving European digital music market and will include him working with digital service providers as they develop new digital music products and services. He will be responsible for key digital negotiations for a range of pan-European services. These will be administered via SOLAR, the joint venture between UK collection society PRS for Music and German society GEMA, which was set up last year to provide services for Sony/ATV and EMI’s pan-European licensing of its Anglo-American repertoire.

Martiny previously worked at UK collection society PRS for Music, which he joined in 2013 as Head of Business Development. This followed him occupying the global role of Director, Digital Business Development at EMI Music and subsequently the Parlophone Label Group where he was responsible for strategic and global distribution deals with leading digital music services.

ABOUT SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING:

Sony/ATV Music Publishing, established in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony and Michael Jackson, is the world’s leading music publisher.

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Together with EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV owns or administers around 3 million copyrights including those from such iconic music catalogs like Leiber & Stoller, Mijac Music, Motown and Famous Music. Sony/ATV also controls many of the best known songs ever written like “New York, New York,” “Hallelujah,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Moon River,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Mission Impossible Theme,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Stand By Me,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition, Sony/ATV represents the copyrights of such legendary artists as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, The Supremes, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder, among others. Its ever-growing list of chart-topping artists, writers and producers includes Akon, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, P!nk, RedOne, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Stargate, Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

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Wise Advice: 24 Classic Song Lyrics To Live Your Life By

Sources: NME | All Things Michael

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“If you wanna make the world a better place/Take look at yourself and make a change” – Michael Jackson, ‘Man In The Mirror: Change begins within, as the old saying goes, and didn’t the King of Pop know it, harnessing it into a glimmering 1980s aspirational classic.

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“Anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain/Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders” – The Beatles, ‘Hey Jude’: This Paul McCartney pearl of wisdom is an important one: there’s no point carrying burdens and losing yourself in worry, echoing another of the Fab Four’s finest: ‘Let It Be’.

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“And so, become yourself, because the past is just a good bye” – CSNY, ‘Teach Your Children’: Don’t cling onto so-called better days, Graham Nash’s ‘Deja Vu’ standout track seemed to suggest in this 1970 release: better to be who you are now, and pass on everything you’ve learned to younger people around you.

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“All that money you made will never buy back your soul” – Bob Dylan, ‘Masters of War’: Bob knows where it’s at. A searing suckerpunch to the heart of capitalism, this Zimmerman classic is a reminder that financial greed can wreck you spiritually.

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“Work it harder, make it better, do it faster… that that don’t kill me will only make me stronger” – Kanye West, ‘Stronger’: Ain’t that the truth, Kanye. The song’s pulsating electronics, borrowed from Daft Punk, expertly reinforce the song’s sense of empowerment.

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“Losing love is like a window in your heart/Everybody sees you’re blown apart/Everybody feels the winds blow” – Paul Simon, ‘Graceland’: Don’t worry about hiding heartbreak, is the lesson to be learned from this warming Paul Simon lyric – it’s a universal part of life. There’s no shame to be felt in a failed romance. Better to have loved and lost, and so on…

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Win Tickets To See Chris Tucker At The Riverside Theater In Milwaukee – First Five Rows! (Updated With Show Recap)

Sources: Jammin’ 98.3 | All Things Michael

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Jammin’ 98.3 has your last chance to win tickets to see Comedian Chris Tucker make his triumphant return to the Riverside Theater on Friday, January 23!

Playing is easy!
• Listen to Jammin’ 98.3 Friday, January 16 – Tuesday, January 20 at 11:59pm for the keyword to text.
• Once you hear it, text the word to 77000 for your chance to win
• It’s that simple!

All Chris Tucker Text rules and WJMR General Contest Rules apply. Deadline to enter is on Tuesday, January 20 at 11:59pm. Five winners will be randomly selected to win a pair of tickets in rows 1-5 on Wednesday, January 21 and contacted by phone.

Don’t want to play? There still time to purchase your tickets. Tickets are on sale now for $60 / $40 at RiversideTheater.org and the Riverside Theater Box Office (fees may apply).

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UPDATE

Chris Tucker Toasts the Taxman

Source: Urban Milwaukee Dial- By

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There was a moment near the beginning of Chris Tucker’s headlining set at the Riverside Theater on Friday night where he hinted at the main reason he’s on tour. During a killer Tony Montana impression, one of about 15 Tucker did throughout the night, the Cuban drug dealer was trying to negotiate with the IRS. Adding to the humor was the personal connection to Tucker: the beloved comedian, once the highest paid actor in Hollywood, owes a lot of taxes, somewhere in the millions. Sources say Tucker settled his bill with the IRS back in September and it’s likely his current tour is helping to pay for it.

There’s nothing like the government on your ass to motivate you to make people laugh. And that’s exactly what Tucker did on Friday, the day that shares the title of his breakout 1995 film. I was skeptical of the big screen with Tucker’s face on it hanging above the stage whileTerry Hodges delivered a so-so opening set. But its usefulness was revealed once Hodges exited the stage. A high-energy highlight reel of Tucker’s short but successful Hollywood career played while Edwin Starr’s “War” (Tucker and Jackie Chan’s signature song from the Rush Hour series) echoed through the theater. Afterwards the man of the hour emerged amid smoke to raucous applause, dancing for a minute before settling the crowd.

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Tucker’s celebrity has waned over the years, but the Atlanta-native still gets asked for pictures pretty much anywhere he goes, which made for a solid opening bit about celebrity and cell phones. During his opener he worked in an impression of legendary actor Sidney Poitier, using it as a transition into his Hollywood material. The funniest story was about an actor he never shared screen time with, Wesley Snipes, but who has had similar, tax-related money problems. Tucker polled the audience about their interest in more Friday and Rush Hour films, but I’m not sure their opinions matter; the IRS bill will probably determine the fate of those projects.

With the Hollywood braggadocio and living in the limelight anecdotes behind him, Tucker’s set really picked up when he explored more personal, relatable aspects of his life. The biggest laugh of the night came while acting out a bedroom scenario in which your partner wants more, but you’re “doing your best.” A story about going to church as a child and defying his mother also won over the nearly sold-out crowd. He circled back to tales of fame and his friendship with Michael Jackson to close out the 80-minute set.

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Unfamiliar with Tucker’s stand-up career, which dates back to early 1990s Def Comedy Jam appearances, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Back then he was known as a clean comic and when his Hollywood career petered out I heard he became ultra-religious. But the 43-year-old hasn’t lost any of his physicality and is as hilariously vulgar as his on-screen persona. Tucker also has a strong set of pipes and showed them off throughout his set, especially near the end. The final bit incorporated renditions of Anita Baker, Barry Gibb and Michael Jackson, Journey, and Frank Sinatra. It was the kind of feel good, sing-along, heartfelt performance that his mother should be proud of, kind of like going to church. Now Tucker just needs to make sure the IRS gets his collection plate.

 

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Michael Jackson Guitarist Jennifer Batten Will Perform In Bucharest

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Guitarist Jennifer Batten, who accompanied Michael Jackson in three world tours, will perform in Bucharest on March 26, 2015 in Club Tribute. She teams up with bassist Stuart Hamm and drummer Chad Wackerman as a supergroup to inaugurate the Live Music Masters series events.

In the ’80s, the guitarist Premier League was dominated by men, but women managed to make their way through. It all started with a band casting for Michael Jackson. A graduate of the prestigious GIT (Guitar Institute of Technology), Jennifer Batten was selected from 100 guitarists for the “Bad” tour. Her professionalism assured continuity in the King of Pop’s band for another 2 world tours “Dangerous” and “HIStory.” Ten years on stages around the world singing along with mega star Michael Jackson, made her mastery visible (see video).

Later, Jennifer Batten worked with Jeff Beck, with whom he was on tour and recorded two albums within 3 years. On the solo guitarist has released three albums and has written two books of music.

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After first discovering Bucharest working with Michael Jackson, Jennifer Batten returns to capital in the company of two exceptional musicians: Stuart Hamm on bass, Chad Wackerman on drums.

Anca Lupeş from Star Management was attracted to Bucharest to inaugurate Live Music Masters series in Club Tribute. The highest caliber concert artists of rock, jazz or classical music who have reached the highest level of virtuosity with their instruments shall be bought to Bucharest under this title

For this first concert, 300 tickets are on sale at prices 66, 77 and 88 RON.

 

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Sources: Info Music | All Things Michael

Tiger Shroff Pays Tribute To Michael Jackson At Awards Show

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21st Life Ok Screen Awards winner of Most Promising Male Tiger Shroff gave a rocking performance. Tiger Shroff was cheered by whistles as he made his entry on stage doing some high octane stunts.

Tiger, dressed in black gunjie and track pants, performed on his hit numbers from Heropanti. He got the loudest of cheers from the crowd as he paid a tribute to his idol Michael Jackson.

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Then came the final moment when he did a few martial art steps and the famous flute step.

He also danced on ‘Aa Raat Bhar’ song from Heropanti. And this budding star knows how to entertain the audience as he danced to This is the ‘Pappi song’.

And he wrapped up his brilliant performance by jumping in front of the stage much to the delight of his fans.

 

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Sources: Indian Express | All Things Michael