‘Who’s Bad’ has SU seeing two men in the mirror
In 2009, America lost a great pop icon, but on Friday H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center welcomed him back.
I took my seat about 15 minutes before the “Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band” show time. The crowd was buzzing with excitement for the internationally acclaimed cover band. As soon as the clock struck 8, the lights went down and the opening video began to play. A short movie of paparazzi and crazed fans following Michael Jackson to the tune of a very dramatic choral piece began playing. The music grew louder and I could feel my gut sinking in anticipation. The spotlight finally shone on front man James Times III and the band began its opening number.
After a few songs were performed, the lights went down, and Joseph Bell replaced Times as Michael Jackson. Bell performed a few songs and when the music stopped, he asked, “So, what do you all want to hear tonight?”
The crowd began shouting out Michael Jackson classics: “Billie Jean,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Thriller” and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” Bell then asked if the crowd enjoyed the Jackson Five, to which they responded with ear shattering cheers. The band began playing the opening riff of “ABC” and the crowd sang along with Times for the first verse.
The tag-team Michael Jackson impersonators swapped out again and the band began to play “Smooth Criminal.” After the final note of the song, there was a signature MJ falsetto call. Times then introduced the band members: Eric Buckley on guitar, Quinton “Q” Moore on bass, Archie Logan on drums, Aaron McCoy on saxophone and Lynn Grissett on trumpet.
Times then invited everyone on stage to dance with him during “We’re The World.” More than 30 fans took him up on this offer and joined him on the stage to share the spotlight. The rest of the show was filled with many more swaps between Bell and Times, along with break dancers, perfectly syncopated choreography and of course, moonwalking to “Billie Jean.” “Who’s Bad” finished the show with “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” as its encore after the crowd demanded one more song. As a Michael Jackson fan, born in the wrong time to see the “King of Pop” live, “Who’s Bad” was the next best thing to experiencing the man himself.