Local Sussex radio station, More Radio, each year hosts the Summer garden party for residents of the seaside town of Worthing, offering a mix of local talent and national tribute acts – known as the More Radio Live! show.
This summer, the headline act offered audiences the chance to ‘relive the magic of Michael Jackson’ with a UK Tribute act – creatively named Ben and the UK Michael Jackson Band.
Working in the live entertainment industry at XP has significantly changed my view of these types of events; noticing everything now from the marketing, ticket pricing and organisation on the day.
When posters went up around our hometown, our 8 year old (and self-proclaimed die-hard MJ fan) squealed excitedly and begged us to book tickets – which we of course obliged and were delighted to discover that tickets were only £9 each.
In the month before the gig, our house was more often than not blasting out the king of pop’s biggest hits (namely Smooth Criminal on repeat – sorry neighbours) and dance moves were furiously rehearsed ready to show Ben how dedicated she really is.
The big night finally arrived and the essentials were packed for Jasmine’s very first live music gig (well, mostly sweets but ‘we have to keep our energy up for dancing, Daddy’).
The support acts, girlband Violet and Murdoch’s Crazy Eyes, had the first few hours of the show covered and did an excellent job of drowning out the moans of ‘Where is Michael Jackson?’, ‘Why are these people playing I don’t know them?’ and ‘I’m bored is it time for sweets yet?’ before Ben finally entered.
The stage show was, in short, excellent. Renditions of all the favourites; Billie Jean, Thriller, Dirty Diana and a Smooth Criminal finale. Costumes had been replicated down to the finest details, dance routines mastered, the band were flawless and even Ben’s ‘American’ Michael voice grew on us after a while. Families were dancing all around and it really did feel like a little bit of Michael magic.
On asking Jasmine her favourite part of the show she commented, ‘I loved it but… it was too loud, I’m too short and when the lights shone on his face you could see his chin make up’. You don’t know her, but trust me when I say that’s actually a pretty positive review.
Thanks Ben and the Michael Jaskson Tirbute Band for a brilliant night (for under a tenner), and for introducing my child to live music… the first gig of many I hope.