If the first of the two Michael Jackson tribute concerts in the city was any indication of the love Chennai has for the King of Pop, we can be pretty sure the second one coming up during the weekend, on his birthday, will have twice the celebration.
Unwind Center’s acoustic ‘Will You Be There’ Concert was as heartfelt as tributes get. Museum Theatre was packed on Friday evening with MJ fans who sang along with Saroop Oomen, Benny Dayal, Freddy Koikaran, Anisha Sarah Verghese, Anjana and others. Direct Cover versions, improvisations, interpretations of his most popular to even the lesser-known songs from his Jackson 5 days marked the two-hour long concert.
Yes, we knew ‘Billie Jean’ would come up at least in two different versions and that the concert would end with kids singing ‘Heal the World’ and yet, when it happened, it gave us goose bumps. The finale ‘We are the World’ was performed by Saroop, Sunandhita Gopinath, Benny, Freddy and the kids from the Unwind school.
Earlier, Freddy, Alok and Jitesh came up with ‘Black or White’ and their version of ‘Billie Jean’ and Saroop did a solo acoustic version of ‘Ben’.
Benny Dayal along with the band Subject To Change (Anisha and Anjana backing up Benny, Toby and Aakash on the guitar and Abraham) performed a rocking medley of Jackson songs giving the songs their own mad little twist, and their version of ‘Smooth Criminal’ brought the roof down.
The highlight of the evening was a small video presentation on how the boy from Indiana influenced the Indian film industry and the crowd broke into applause watching how everyone from Chiranjeevi to Govinda to Prabhu Deva to Shah Rukh Khan to Hrithik Roshan stole at least a move from the legendary moonwalker.
The other artistes who performed were Kamal Singh of Lounge Piranha (‘Man in the Mirror’), Yohaan on the sax along with Alwyn and Arun (they did instrumental versions of Jackson 5’s ‘One Bad Apple’ and ‘I’ll Be There’) and Vocalz Station comprising Krishna Iyer, Sumitha Menon, Gerry (‘They don’t really care about us’ and ‘Liberian Girl’).
For more Michael Jackson nostalgia, over to Pravin Mani and Co, this Saturday.