Keeps The King Of Pop's Music Alive
Michael Jackson might be gone, but his music lives on through the performers of Who's Bad, a tribute band currently touring the US and the world. Two performers and a full band with horn section bring the King of Pop's discography to the stage each night in a concert for the ages. If you are looking for a full Michael Jackson concert experience including choreography and crowd interaction, then your search is over!
Other than maybe the Beatles or Elvis Presley, there really isn't one music artist that can compete with the legacy of Michael Jackson. From his beginning in the mid 1960s with the Jackson 5 through the present day, Jackson's music continues to spread throughout the world and from generation to generation. My personal experience began in 1983 with what is now the best-selling album of all time, Thriller. I can vividly remember dancing and rollerskating to hits like "Beat It," Billie Jean," and "Thriller." Even at a young age of seven, I could tell that many people connected with Jackson's music.
I never saw Michael Jackson perform live in concert, other than watching the Grammy Award shows or the Superbowl XXVII halftime concert on TV. But after witnessing a Who's Bad concert at the Montgomery Performing Art Center, I got a pretty good idea of the atmosphere. There were adults and kids alike dressed up in sequins and wearing white gloves just like fans back in the day. I was even surprised at the stage rush during the show. Pretty much throughout the evening, fans reached out a hand to get a touch from either of the Jackson impersonators (if that tells you anything about his legacy.)
|Who's Bad band members|
Before I get into the show, here's a little background on the band. Who's Bad hails from Chapel Hill, NC. and was founded by current manager Vamsi Tadepalli in 2003. Over the years, they've shared the stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin, The Backstreet Boys, The Four Tops, Boys II Men, and Pitbull. Michael Jackson’s longtime friend and manager Frank DiLeo was quoted after witnessing a Who’s Bad show in Nashville, TN that “the show was great….Michael would have been proud!” I definitely agree with the quote and with their own description from their website stating:
"As the curtain opens on a Who’s Bad performance, every MJ fan feels the adrenaline, screams at the sight of that unmistakable silhouette, and succumbs to a surefire Michael Jackson sing-along. The energy is purely magnetic, the musicianship is first-rate, the dance moves deftly inspired."
|Taalib York as Bad era Michael|
The first half performances also included an awesome rendition of "Earth Song" by Bell. I had truly forgotten what a beautiful song it is. York's next appearance featured a white hat and a blue shirt, which we all knew meant it was "Smooth Criminal" time! View the official video for a true taste of the show...
After about a 20 minute intermission (which most of us needed to catch our breath,) we all anticipated what was yet to come. Bell was quick to ask us during the first half which songs we wanted to hear. After nearly losing an ear drum from the woman sitting next to me yelling "Billie Jean!!!", I realized there would probably be a good 30 minute stretch of songs that we would all couldn't wait to see performed. The second half began with a book end from the Off The Wall album. York again showed off all his dance moves with "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and then took us back to MJ's beginnings. York and Bell went back to back with Jackson 5 hits "I Want You Back" and "I'll Be There." I think we all appreciated the inclusion of the early hits and being able to experience every decade of MJ's music. Bell then continued with "Remember The Time" and then left the stage in darkness. Trumpet player Ray McCall became the emcee, who had brought energy to the show all night. He began to pump up the crowd for what was to come, teasing drummer Archie Logan that we weren't ready for it yet.
|York & Cross performing Beat It|
And speaking of dance choreography, zombies-like moves were seen in the next performance of "Thriller." I could see many people in the crowd dancing along with York, McCall, and McCoy during the song. The performance was complete with the footsteps and door sound effects at the beginning and the Vincent Price laugh at the end. Then for the final song of the night, Bell returned with the band's namesake "Bad." Another great vocal performance by Bell followed by a standing ovation from the crowd. The light remained low as the cheers and screams continued for the band. Sha-mon! There was more to come! Bell returned with the band for their first encore performance which was "Man In The Mirror." The vocals were spot on and at several points let the crowd take over the singing. Unfortunately, the clock ran out on the babysitter and we had to leave before the final song which was York taking lead on "Black or White." I had wondered throughout the show if York and Bell might share the stage for a song and judging from this video, the crowd probably did get a small taste of both performers.
I'd highly recommend the Who's Bad concert, whether you are a die-hard Michael Jackson fan or just want to hear some great music that will stir up memories you forgot you had. The band is currently on a US tour that is mainly on the East coast, but do have a few shows in the Midwest and West coast. (View their tour schedule here.) I'd also recommend visiting the band's website WhosBadMusic.Com in general. You can learn more about the history of the band, view pics/video of performances, buy exclusive t-shirts, and connect on social media. Make sure you also visit the "Jacksonology" section featuring a family tree, photos, and interactive timeline of one Michael Joseph Jackson.