Written by CUIndependent in Entertainment on Jan 21, 2011 8:20
With sequins, zombies and gravity-defying dance moves, a night of Michael Jackson is always a memorable experience.
Tribute band Who’s Bad came to the Fox in Boulder last night and delivered a performance that would have made their idol proud.
Enthusiastic Jackson fans were out in numbers and ready to dance. As the seven-member Chapel Hill, N.C., band eagerly took the stage, there seemed to be only one crucial element missing to get the show started.
Michael Jackson (Taalib York) smoothly walked onstage to the sound of awed whispers at the sight of the seemingly resurrected pop idol. Sporting his classic aviator sunglasses, fedora and black military style jacket, it wasn’t long before cameras began flashing.
The set kicked off right with the upbeat songs “Jam” and “Smooth Criminal.” York immediately dived into his role, enthralling the audience with his impressive dancing ability. From the moonwalk and crotch grab, to Jackson’s fluid robot, York had fans grooving with him as he deftly emulated Jackson’s signature moves.
York wasn’t the only one with the dancing fever. The pulse of Who’s Bad was largely due to the playful musicians who were completely invested in the performance aspect of the show. Saxophone player Vamsi Tadepalli, and trumpet player Ray McCall were a hilarious duo that often would jump up to perform well-choreographed dances with Michael. Even guitar solos in songs like “Come Together” (a Beatles cover) were dramatized by Patrick Cross.
Not one, but two talented Michaels perform with the band every night. Joseph Bell showcased his incredible vocal range on songs like “P.Y.T.” He donned a fake afro for a few infectious Jackson 5 hits, including “I Want You Back.”
During “The Way You Make Me Feel,” sung by Bell, women in the audience were invited onstage to dance with the band. An initially cute idea became slightly awkward when women began competing to look seductive onstage and left the audience was somewhat alienated from the band.
However, during “I’ll Be There,” audience members began hugging each other and swaying in heartfelt unison. This moment of togetherness among strangers was a light-heart highlight of the show.
The act really picked up in the second half, when McCall dramatically announced that the band would soon be traveling into ’80s and ’90s Jackson territory.
Sing-along hits were surely on their way.
With favorites like “Bad,” the show reached a high point of energy. York’s dance solo in “Billie Jean” was an impressive display of technical skill, while Tadepalli and McCall’s mock knife fight during “Beat It” heightened the theatrical element in the act. “Thriller” was an instant boost as people attempted to do versions of the clawed dance without bumping into one another.
In the encore, the band returned to play “Man in the Mirror” and finished off the set with “Black or White.”
Who’s Bad left its audience remembering the music of Michael Jackson.
If you missed Who’s Bad, check them out tonight at The Bluebird Theater in Denver. Tickets are available here. Also, check out the CU Independent’s Q&A with Michael Jackson tribute band founder.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Stephanie Riesco at Stephanie.email@example.com.