The Jackson 5 kind of looked like me. Sung nothing like me, fortunately. Reflected a life I thought fun and colourful. My father still has the Off The Wall record. It is my favourite Michael Jackson album – musicianship of the highest order. I do appreciate it more now that I’m older. It wasn’t always that way.
My favourite used to be Thriller. I remember when Thriller came out. I was 10, going on 11. I got a ‘Michael Jackson’ haircut. I remember the Thriller video – a betamax – doing the rounds. I remember getting the jacket. I remember the Billie Jean performance at Motown’s 25th Anniversary – the first time the Moonwalk was ever seen. I used to do that routine, with the hat, in high school.
I remember when Michael Jackson died. I was working late. It was a Thursday night/Friday morning. Someone tweeted something about him being rushed to hospital. I sat online, with the telly on flipping through channels, chatting to people around the world, as we all tried to figure out what was going on. I had my questions, like many others, over the years, about his conduct. But, it hurt. He. The music. Been a real part of my life’s soundtrack for 30 years.
My son loves MJ’s music and has since he was 3; he’s 5 now. Beat It and Thriller have generally been his favourites. I have the This Is It DVD. There was a time when it was on constantly. My daughter, who is 18 months, after a brief Beat It phase, absolutely loves Heal The World. So when I heard that the tribute show History II, with the number 1 Michael Jackson impersonator Kenny Wizz, was going to be on at Joburg Theatre, I had to get tickets for myself and the Prince.
I went with no expectation and we had an amazing time. It was great to share in an experience with my son that has touched us in different ways. Kenny Wizz has the mannerisms down. It was great that he didn’t pretend to be Michael Jackson and was clear that it was a tribute because, as the cliché goes, there’s only one. Wizz had the dance moves, a decent band, made up of South African artists other than the guitarist (and musical director) who was dressed up as Slash, and a couple of good dancers. The dancing and singing were effortless for MJ. Wizz has moments where you can see he’s working hard but, as a tribute, it was a great show because it taps into the emotions of the audience and their relationship with the music.
And when he put a stool on the stage with hat, gloves and a white rose and performing Gone Too Soon with pics of Michael Jackson on the screen behind, I must admit the eyes watered a little bit. If you are a fan of Michael Jackson and his music, definitely find a way of watching a Kenny Wizz tribute show.
Had to share.