Monday 28th August 2006

While I was struggling to find anything to write about on Friday, even to some extent on Saturday evening. I now find myself with two full days of events to report on. Let me first go back to Saturday evening. I decided to watch Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope on Sky. At the end of the movie, I had a sudden urge to play X Wing versus Tie Fighter and brought back memories of stumbling through Mysteries Of The Sith on my PC a few years ago. A fantastic movie that never ages, even though I have seen it countless times. I am glad that Sky are showing all of the movies back to back, I went for the full cinematic experience, with the lights off and the surround sound turned up. I will try and catch the second instalment, The Empire Strikes Back which is my favourite. (Generally speaking I always like the second film in any trilogy series) Although the films are being repeated at midday on Sunday so I will have a second chance to watch them if I so choose. After watching the movie, I was on my computer and started digging around both IMBD and Wikipedia for information on the film, particularly the fact that they were the 1997 special editions and I know that many fans disapprove of George’s tinkering. I did not really know much about this, until I read into the various aspects of the film franchise and discovered Lucas bashing. I tried to look out for the changes in the special editions and will keep an extra eye on the rest of the movies I watch on a Saturday night. The rest of this Saturday night just gone was spent on MSN. I was tired but watched MOTD, even though perhaps I was not in the mood for football. Then I was up chatting to a friend on MSN until the small hours before eventually going to bed somewhere around 2am.

Sunday, I got up around 9.30am and then had a further dose of football in the form of Jimmy Hill’s Football Supplement. A different take on the weekend fixtures and the upcoming international break. I eventually tore myself away from the television, even though it was tempting to just sit and watch music videos for the rest of the morning, there was more important work to be done. Heading to my room, I went through and sorted out all my paperwork. Then I went off and vacuumed the car in preparation for Monday. It was not really that dirty inside and just needed a quick tidy. I got ready and then waited for my parents to come home. My sisters had arrived from Sheffield at 11am, but my sister had to then head off to work. My parents arrived around 3pm and after some food I grabbed all my stuff and headed out. I wanted to catch the 16:30 train from Wycombe and it was going to be tight. I booked my tickets from the automated machine at 16:25, exactly five minutes before the train was due to arrive. Perfecting time, but only just. Once in Marylebone, I took the tube to Oxford Circus and from here walked down to Tottenham Court Road. The last time I had been at the Dominion Theatre, was twelve years ago. I had gone to see Grease with my primary school as we were performing a production at school and I was in the choir. At the time Craig McLachlan was in the lead role with Sonia as Sandy but for various reasons I believe it was Shane Richie playing Danny and another unknown actress playing Sandy. Although unfortunately, my memory is sketchy, I can remember being in the circle but quite some distance from the stage. Or could have been the fact that I was so short at the time. No problem with the view this time around. I was perfectly in the middle with a clear view of the entire stage and about the right distance back in row Q. There was a big contingent of MJ fans, which I expected but the majority of the audience were the general, ‘joe’ public. All coming to see the songs of the King of Pop. I must be honest and my expectations of the show were quite low, to begin with. There were rumours on various forums that Thriller Live would have a storyline with many characters taking the names of songs (e.g. Billie Jean) to give a narrative around the hit songs. I think this helped because my expectations were quite low. When I picked up a programme at the door and read about some of the talented singers and dancers involved it finally dawned on me that I could be in for an entertaining evening. The show was scheduled to start at 6.45pm but did not start until way into 7pm. I did not really mind as this gave everyone a chance to find their seats while I browsed the programme.

Thriller Live

There was quite a variety of assembled talent, including some people I knew of. Marvin Humes from band VS (managed by Simon Webbe but disbanded after three singles and a one non-charting album). Then, perhaps the most famous of the entire cast, was Kym Mazelle. She sang the song, Young Hearts Run Free in the motion picture, Romeo & Juliet but that was over a decade ago. You might recognise her from ITV’s Celebrity Fit Club, where she lost ‘a couple of pounds’ (her own words on stage) in series three last year. And the least well known perhaps was a dancer who used to tour with Alice Deejay from 1999 until the dance group’s rather early departure from the music scene. The safety curtain went up and the lights dimmed. The show was about to begin. I was excited to see what the group would do with Michael’s songs and his videos.

Hold on a second? I could have stayed at home and put on Moonwalker (VHS). The show opened with the opening scene from the 1988, straight to video movie. A live rendition of Man In The Mirror. It takes me to almost exactly thirteen months ago when Nav recited the opening lyrics to me over MSN. Perhaps it was more than the song, the opening when those famous feet walk onto an empty black stage, with the single spotlight and you see the moves and the magic comes to life. After the song, the show began with some young kids singing early Jackson Five material. These group of children were highly talented with exceptional voices, particularly Dominic. Part one was mainly material from the early 1970s and predominately Jackson Five / The Jackson’s songs, which in my opinion are not my favourite. I prefer the mid-1980s solo stuff, but nevertheless, this did get the crowd going and there is nothing wrong with Blame It On The Boogie or Can You Feel It? They are both fantastic songs and suited the big stage with the crowd responding over time. The performances were very good, including I Want You Back, the official opener to the show and Music & Me. At 8.30 pm, there was a twenty-minute interval. I knew the second half would feature the songs I like. Sure enough, they opened with Beat It, my all-time favourite MJ track. Although there was a problem. The singer was female. Now before I get jumped for being sexist, I have no issue with a woman singing the song itself, but it needs a male vocal to give it the edge, the rough stuff if you will. While I was very impressed with her long jacket, come overcoat, come skirt, her voice was just not up to the job and even a professional strong female lead would have had trouble with such a powerful number. This was perhaps my only disappointment of the show. Female singers also sang Earth Song, but it was done in more gentle, peaceful way in comparison to the 1995 UK Number One, which perhaps had more of a shock factor (if you factor in the video). Then the interchange was very clever, with a gospel choir at the top of the stage. The young singers from the first segment came onto the stage, all dressed in white. There was a short pause. Then the young girl sang the opening line, “Your love is magical, that’s how I feel, But I have not the words here to explain…’ The crowd responded with big rapturous applause all around. I was hoping they would have sung Human Nature, perhaps my second all-time favourite song by the King Of Pop, but Speechless was perfect. Watching it being sung live, I realised why it would have made a great single and of course, a fantastic video. Having the sweet voices of angelic children worked well with the whole atmosphere of the song, track 8 on Invincible. All I can say is wish for what could have been!

The finale could only feature two songs, Billie Jean by Navi and then Thriller, once again with Navi dancing and a full group of backing singers. There is no doubt that Navi is a fantastic dancer but sometimes he should concentrate purely on the dance movers and not miming the songs. I enjoyed the end of the show, as we were encouraged to actually get up off our seats and have a little dance to the final few songs.

An after-party was held at Jury’s Hotel around the corner, although this was a change of venue. Originally the party had been planned for the Teatro Nightclub over in Soho. We were in the queue for a few minutes around 10.30pm, even though the party was scheduled to start at 10pm. I was desperately looking at my watch every few minutes. The show had overrun somewhat with the late start and I knew my last train from Marylebone was at 11.40pm. I would have to leave at 11pm sharp to make it across London in time. I was gutted that I had to leave early. Particularly as I had so many friends to catch up with and so many new friends so meet. More so when the cast arrived. It would have been great to get my programme signed. Never mind, there will be more events in the future. Instead, I headed off home, the music of MJ ringing in my ears. I was itching to put on a CD or listen to an mp3, but I could not do that until today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.