The King of Pop receives his flowers in MJ Live, The Michael Jackson Tribute Concert. Previously in Residency at the Stratosphere Theater in Las Vegas, the show moves to The Tropicana in February 2022. My wife and I recently made our first trip to Las Vegas and had the chance to see one of the final performances of the show at the Stratosphere.
Under the direction of Dick Feeny and working hand in hand with choreographer Missy Cochran and music director Gene Sironen, Jalles France assumes the role of legendary Michael Jackson. France is clearly in his element as MJ and is a seasoned performer. From MJ’s signature dance moves to his well-known quirks, it is evident that France did his homework.
The show opens up with “Wanna Be Starting Something” and proceeds to take the audience on a journey throughout Jackson’s career. All of your favorite hits from Jackson’s solo albums Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous make their way into the setlist. During performances of “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Jam,” and “Remember The Time,” the audience was just a room full of positive energy.
While my wife and I had a blast at the show, I have some minor gripes. Wanting to keep the energy going, the ballads in the show are scarce, sans performances of “She’s Outta My Life” and “I’ll Be There”. I am a massive fan of the work Jackson did with Stevie Wonder, as well as Gamble and Huff, so I would have loved to hear even just a snippet of “I Can’t Help It” or “Good Times,” but I can understand the omission of the show. In addition, The Jackson 5 tribute portion of the show, with the faux afro wigs, came off a bit corny. Thankfully, though, during that brief tribute, the choreography is pristine, particularly during “The Love You Save.”
Nevertheless, you cannot deny the infectious groove of MJ’s catalog during MJ Live, The Michael Jackson Tribute Concert. While I never had the chance to see the real MJ live during his time with us, his Vegas tribute show was a substantial stand-in.
Final Grade: B+
MJ Live will kick off performances at Tropicana Las Vegas starting Feb. 7, 2022, with shows nightly (dark Tuesdays) at 5:30 p.m. (doors open at 4:30 p.m.).