In my ongoing mission to mix it all up a bit whenever I can, I thought I’d actually do a proper photoblog for once so without further ado, here is a selection of my favourite shots from the recent “Forever Michael” concert in Cardiff, Wales. Celebrating the life of US musician Michael Jackson, the evening saw family members and musical acts from both sides of the Atlantic performing songs from his back-catalogue.
After legal wranglings from family members, the show was initially threatened but on October 8, 2011, the tribute concert went ahead, albeit without the Jackson name in the title. Dancers and musicians came to the Millennium Stadium to perform covers of some of his most famous songs with US actor and singer Jamie Foxx playing host for most of the evening.
With the Black Eyed Peas and Jennifer Hudson pulling out at very late notice, and Beyoncé sending a recorded performance to be played on the stadium screens, we were all assuming that Christina Aguilera would provide the American sparkle to the show but she managed to cause quite a stir in a rather different way due to her latest looks. Not quite the Christina we all remember!
The other moment of the evening that was likely to make the next day’s papers was an appearance by Michael’s children Prince, Blanket and Paris. Having been the picture that proved to be the most important from Michael’s funeral, this rare appearance was the moment that we were all waiting for. When the moment came, they appeared on-stage to announce Beyoncé’s video, with the youngest child Blanket appearing particularly uncomfortable. As the children left the stage, I switched over to my 500mm lens and managed to catch a single tear.
As I touched on above, certain members of the Jackson family weren’t keen on the event taking place, so only a limited number of photographs were allowed to be used during the show, but the one thing that really puzzled me was a lack of “Thriller”. Surely, the catalogue is all owned by one company/person so if you can do some of it, you should be able to do any. I was really looking forward to a bit of ghoul dancing!
One of the big surprises of the evening was Texan gospel singer Yolanda Adams. When she was announced a small ripple of applause went around the stadium as many people, like myself, knew the name but not the voice. She went on to steal the show, outperforming every other act with a skilled and powerful voice. Backed by a gospel choir, she sang “Earth Song” and really did blow everyone away. It’s fantastic when someone surprises you in this way.