Thriller Live unashamedly celebrates the life and back catalogue of the undisputed King of Pop, Michael Jackson. When you read that the show has been playing in London’s West End since 2009, it would be easy to mistake this for a musical tribute. But it’s really not, it’s something so much more.
This slightly-over 2 hour long show sets a blistering pace through Jackson’s back catalogue from the earliest of Jackson 5 days to the iconic pop ballads us children of the 80s and 90s knew.
It’s been nearly 6 years since the icon died and I remember watching the queues of people outside the Staples Center in LA awaiting the launch of the documentary-film of what would have been his major comeback tour, “This Is It”. Last night’s atmostphere at Auckland’s Civic Theatre was almost as energising, with fans up and on their feet for all the major hits.
This really comes as no suprise – with an international cast of dancers, singers and live musicians pulling out hit after hit and storytelling along the way. Even the most devoted of us MJ fans murmured with appreciation as we recalled that Thriller spawned 7 Top 10 hits from 11 album tracks. It’s impressive even now to remember, but even more impressive to see and hear those tunes (and those dance moves) delivered with eerie precision.
The talented Mig Ayesa (Sydney-born, frequent traveller to these shores in shows like Annie) is one of 5 lead vocalists including Australian Prinnie Stevens, who rose to mainstream fame through her appearance on The Voice, but comes from a musical theatre background. It’s Manchester born Alex Buchanan that steals your breath away however. You wouldn’t even have to close your eyes to believe you were listening to the King of Pop himself, the vocal and dance performance is so bang on.
Considering how much I would have considered paying to see the comeback tour, the night was intensely moving even as I calculated there was no possible way I’d hear all my favourite tracks from a 45 year musical career. That being said, the back catalogue they managed to cover was remarkable; including my favourites Man In The Mirror, Billie Jean, Beat It and of course, Thriller.
Could there be much more perfect way to spend Friday the 13th than eagerly awaiting the iconic zombie dance number? I think not! Even the most stoic of audiences will find it hard resist tapping their feet, clapping and dancing on request from the stage. It was easy to sense the love and inspiration that Michael Jackson birthed across generations of fans; young and old and to leave a venue smiling, laughing and feeling all the best parts of nostalgia was a real treat.
The show is only playing a super short season 12 – 22 February at The Civic in Auckland, but you won’t regret grabbing tickets now and making this show a priority! Ticketing information available here.
With thanks to Auckland Live.