What you think about the 30th Anniversary concerts?

Themidwestcowboy

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The victory tour is no doubt a thing to behold. That leaked Toronto show is my fave MJ concert
Even the history tour was a spectacle way before it's time. Now it's almost a given that performers put on a spectacle live for their performances but MJ was way ahead of the curve. I still haven't seen something as grand, majestic and theatrical from a pop artist as the History Tour. It was a beautiful marriage between spectacle and music.
 
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filmandmusic

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Even the history tour was a spectacle way before it's time. Now it's almost a given that performs put on a spectacle live for their performances but MJ was way ahead of the curve. I still haven't seen something as grand, majestic and theatrical from a pop artist as the History Tour. It was a beautiful marriage between spectacle and music.
Yes but it is the theatricality that I don’t really like. I only really enjoy concert footage of 70s by most artists, The 80s were still ok but it already started to become a bit much for me.

I still enjoyed MJ when I saw him but I was a bit bummed at the time that he did the exact same show twice. I was hoping for a different setlist.

But you are provably right, my father went along with me ( he is not really a fan) and he was in awe of the whole concert
 

Themidwestcowboy

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Yes but it is the theatricality that I don’t really like. I only really enjoy concert footage of 70s by most artists, The 80s were still ok but it already started to become a bit much for me.

I still enjoyed MJ when I saw him but I was a bit bummed at the time that he did the exact same show twice. I was hoping for a different setlist.

But you are provably right, my father went along with me ( he is not really a fan) and he was in awe of the whole concert
I'm the same as you. My favorite eras, when it came live performances, was the 70's and the 80's. The triumph tour and the Victory Tour is what I consider an adult MJ in his prime, combining both singing and dancing effortlessly without having to sacrifice one for the other :)
 

Smooth72

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I saw MJ Live twice. Victory tour and Bad tour both in Detroit area. Victory was great Bad was a bit better. Diana Ross and Barry Gordy were in attendance for the Bad concert I saw. MJ had a bit more energy that special night. Fabulous performance. If I remember correctly October 24th 1988, Palace of Auburn Hills.
 

Nite Line

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Michael did play it quite safe when it comes to changing up his routines for his performances. Once he found the perfect formula in his mind, he stuck with it forever. Examples include the Jackson 5 medley, the cherrypicker routine during Beat It, the stop and start during WBSS, singing with a fan during She's Out Of My Life. I wish Michael had experimented a bit more with his performances, and also shown some love to his lesser known songs.
 

KOPV

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It's fair for someone to h
It's possible, as I never watched the fan-made recordings of the shows, only the television special. Do you remember what songs from his solo set he did sing live?
Off the top of my head, Rock My World, & The Way You Make Me Feel (2nd night)... There could have been more but it's been years since I've watched it. On a percentage level, 30th Anniversary had more live vocals by Michael than The HIStory world tour.
 

zinniabooklover

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Michael did play it quite safe when it comes to changing up his routines for his performances. Once he found the perfect formula in his mind, he stuck with it forever. Examples include the Jackson 5 medley, the cherrypicker routine during Beat It, the stop and start during WBSS, singing with a fan during She's Out Of My Life. I wish Michael had experimented a bit more with his performances, and also shown some love to his lesser known songs.
This is the type of stuff I'm talking about.
 

AlwaysThere

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This is the first time ever hearing this take. Why did you think Michael's bands were under average? Genuine question
I’ve always felt that they never measured up to the quality of the studio recordings. Obviously that’s to be expected with how detailed Michael’s songs were, but listening to live performances of “Dirty Diana” or “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” never hit me in the same way as the album tracks did. Also, the backing vocalists were almost always TERRIBLE. On their own they were great (especially Darryl Phinnessee), but their voices didn’t blend whatsoever and the harmonies were all over the place.

The one exception was the This Is It band, which I think was top-to-bottom perfection.
 

filmandmusic

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I wish Michael had experimented a bit more with his performances, and also shown some love to his lesser known songs.
This is why I am so obsessed about performances of the 70s. He did hundreds of concerts then and not one has leaked, maybe they’re lost or never recorded but as little as there is now? I can’t believe it, they were a mania there must be more recordings.
Anyway what I want to say is setlists were a lot more varied judging from some basic research I did so these concerts sound exciting to me but I guess it hard for those fans who are only into adult MJ.
A dvd or audio release of a concert each year from 1970 ( first official nationwide tour) till the Victory tour in 1984 is my ultimate dream (all of it 100% live). The footage of the Triumph tour is so cool, they even have horn players on stage, so natural and organic. I love it when we can see the entire band with the singer. There was not a year (bar 82 and 83) when he didn’t perform with his brothers, they were always on tour or in the studio or on tv shows.

I have heard 3 different live versions of who’s loving you and they’re all wonderful I sincerely hope there is a video of it one day, crowd goes wild and it is basically his finest live performance of all time.(imo)
It gets particularly interesting around 1977/1978 when MJ matured into his prime (with the voice we all recognize) but still sang songs like never can say goodbye, got to be there, dancing machine, one day in your life, happy etc.

I really think there are some surprise performances in these tours that we don’t know yet he ever sang live. I think it would also be a really good way to get fans into Motown Michael , when they see and hear he really was a great performer back then as well.

PS I really really want to promote the “live at the forum” release again. 2 awesome high quality audio recordings of A 1970 and a 1972 concert. When I heard these concerts for the first time I knew MJ had it all from the beginning, a complete natural performer and singer and check out the setlists, both are almost completely different…
Without this release I would have never gotten into the Motown period of MJ, I thought they were just a studio boysband but the boys played and sang live and each performances tops the album version by a landslide like only a true liveband can do it. A very overlooked era!
PS2 during a destiny tour concert in New Orleans I see MJ accepting a little paper from a fan in the crowd and sticks it into his pants, perhaps a phone number? What I try to say is, that spontaneity is so cool to see, I’m sure there is always something unexpected happening at these 70s shows, there was a lot more interaction. Security was less tight.

It was not yet MJ the larger than life King it was MJ the artist having fun on stage.
 
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DuranDuran

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I also don’t know how other artists promote their new albums but logically in my eyes you would perform the entire new album and then add in some hits as an encore at the end. That would be exciting.
There's an old joke that when a veteran singer/band says they're going to perform something from their new album, that's when half the audience gets up to go to the restroom or get snacks. Why do you think that Journey got a Steve Perry soundalike singer (Arnel Pineda)? So they can perform the hits that they're known for when Steve was in the band. Genesis recently did a tour and they haven't had a new album since the early 1990s (not counting compilations & box sets). It's likely the last one since Phil Collins' health is not that great. He can't play drums anymore and he sat in a chair for the entire tour.
 

zinniabooklover

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Also, the backing vocalists were almost always TERRIBLE. On their own they were great (especially Darryl Phinnessee), but their voices didn’t blend whatsoever and the harmonies were all over the place.
Oh god, thought it was just me that thought this. I dunno as I would say they were terrible (although Sheryl Crow was, imo) but they weren't that good. And this is a Michael Jackson show. I don't understand how that could happen. Unless I'm just spoilt. I've come to Michael's live stuff only very recently. So I'm used to hearing his own backing vocals on his records and he was one of the best. His backing vocals are off-the-chart. But I don't think that's the whole story. I am used to hearing live shows, I don't have a problem with the difference between the studio sound and the live sound for vocals In fact, I usually prefer the live sound. I genuinely think the backing vocalists, collectively, weren't as good as they needed to be.

I agree that the voices individually were fine (except for SC, she really does not have a good voice, imo). It was the combination that didn't work. And, yes, the harmonies were sadly lacking.

I think the TII backing vocals were loads better and Judith Hill was awesome. The best IJCSLY partner for Michael, imo.
 
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zinniabooklover

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This is why I am so obsessed about performances of the 70s. He did hundreds of concerts then and not one has leaked, maybe they’re lost or never recorded but as little as there is now? I can’t believe it, they were a mania there must be more recordings.
Anyway what I want to say is setlists were a lot more varied judging from some basic research I did so these concerts sound exciting to me but I guess it hard for those fans who are only into adult MJ.
A dvd or audio release of a concert each year from 1970 ( first official nationwide tour) till the Victory tour in 1984 is my ultimate dream (all of it 100% live). The footage of the Triumph tour is so cool, they even have horn players on stage, so natural and organic. I love it when we can see the entire band with the singer. There was not a year (bar 82 and 83) when he didn’t perform with his brothers, they were always on tour or in the studio or on tv shows.

I have heard 3 different live versions of who’s loving you and they’re all wonderful I sincerely hope there is a video of it one day, crowd goes wild and it is basically his finest live performance of all time.(imo)
It gets particularly interesting around 1977/1978 when MJ matured into his prime (with the voice we all recognize) but still sang songs like never can say goodbye, got to be there, dancing machine, one day in your life, happy etc.

I really think there are some surprise performances in these tours that we don’t know yet he ever sang live. I think it would also be a really good way to get fans into Motown Michael , when they see and hear he really was a great performer back then as well.

PS I really really want to promote the “live at the forum” release again. 2 awesome high quality audio recordings of A 1970 and a 1972 concert. When I heard these concerts for the first time I knew MJ had it all from the beginning, a complete natural performer and singer and check out the setlists, both are almost completely different…
Without this release I would have never gotten into the Motown period of MJ, I thought they were just a studio boysband but the boys played and sang live and each performances tops the album version by a landslide like only a true liveband can do it. A very overlooked era!
PS2 during a destiny tour concert in New Orleans I see MJ accepting a little paper from a fan in the crowd and sticks it into his pants, perhaps a phone number? What I try to say is, that spontaneity is so cool to see, I’m sure there is always something unexpected happening at these 70s shows, there was a lot more interaction. Security was less tight.

It was not yet MJ the larger than life King it was MJ the artist having fun on stage.
There is nothing I can add to this. This is a perfect summation.

MJ the artist. That's it
 

Galactus123

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Off the top of my head, Rock My World, & The Way You Make Me Feel (2nd night)... There could have been more but it's been years since I've watched it. On a percentage level, 30th Anniversary had more live vocals by Michael than The HIStory world tour.
YRMW wasn't fully live. He did live adlibs during the choruses and started singing live near the end. The beginning of TWYMMF might have been live.
 

ArchieSmash

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He did that because, around 2001, he had some procedure done on his face that paralyzed his lips muscles for a while. If you watch him on the YRMW video, at the New York Invincible signing event or at the 30th anniversary special, he hides his mouth every time he smiles or laughs, because his upper lip basically can't move. The movement did come back later on, but for a while it was scary as there was a fear among fans some nerves had been severed and it would never come back.

Also, hiding his mouth was a way to hide the lip-synching, as the footage would be seen by a more casual audience who might not take kindly to the fact MJ wasn't singing live.
This is purely conjecture, but the procedure you refer to is most likely a result of Lupus treatment, which became very aggressive in 2000. The most common treatment for Lupus is prednisone, which has a common side effect of "moon face" on the areas treated with it. We know that Michael's lupus was most rampant on his upper lip and cheeks from images where the lesions are visible in the 80s and it directly corresponds with the areas that started puffing in 2000.

Michael has been covering his face like that since at least 1981 during the Triumph Tour. It's still unclear as to why. I choose to believe it's simply a nervous tick Michael tends to do (like how he licks his mouth and lips, which is something he did since the Jackson 5 and up until the 30th Anniversary) rather than something more insidious.

The entire show is lip-synched, excluding the Jacksons reunion part, and even that is heavily edited and studio-enhanced.
This is absolutely untrue.

The Way You Make Me Feel is completely live other than the chorus on September 7th and on September 10th it has live ad-libs and intro. The live vocals for the former are incredible and the only performance that trumps it is Monza 1992, but that only has ad-libs. Unsurprisingly, all these live vocals were edited out of the TV release.

Billie Jean is live from when Michael signals the band to turn it live a bit after the moonwalk.

Black or White has live ad-libs for the breakdown.

Beat It is completely live from the solo onward and during the intro. The September 7th show is less live but the vocals that are there are legitimately terrible and I feel nothing but sorrow hearing Michael in the state he is.

You Rock My World is only playback for the verses, and has live ad-libs throughout all the choruses. He honestly sounds better than the album (mainly because the album is autotuned to hell and back but still).

I hate the attitude of deeming things live and not live when we should weigh in how much of it's live, Beat It during the HIStory Tour is mostly live and yet everyone acts as if he never sung a note of that song. The vocals for Beat It in 1996 are the best since 1984 in my opinion.

Nothing against her in a general sense. She just sounds HORRIBLE there.
She sounded great in the amateur footage, but her dubbed vocals are pretty bad, yes.

It's well-established from numerous sources -- including MJ himself ("I don't like to tour, I go through hell touring") that MJ didn't want to tour to support the albums. And since it was obviously much easier to lip-synch, and since the fans and the media let him get away with it, that's what he did. I love MJ as much as the next guy, but the truth is that, regarding live performances and touring, he took the easy way out. The fact there was dancing in his act is no reason not to sing : you can both move and sing live (ask James Brown), and he could have certainly sung some of the slowest number that don't involve dancing (Heal the World, for instance).

If he were still alive today, he couldn't get away with those all-lip-synching shows. With social media, videos of him miming would make the rounds, and he'd get a lot of flack for it.

If you compare TII to any of his previous tours, as far back as the Victory tour, you realize that MJ basically never changed his act. Once a particular song was done on stage in a particular way, it was set in stone forever. "Now we'd like to do the old songs, the old-fashioned way!".
This hypothesis doesn't work with the recent revelation that Michael was singing in full underneath the playback, with his microphone muted (only he can hear his own voice). He used playback because he didn't want to disappoint his audience with a sub-par vocal performance, not for any health reasons. Michael Prince (main studio engineer on the HIStory Tour) relayed as much on the MJCast.

Michael did play it quite safe when it comes to changing up his routines for his performances. Once he found the perfect formula in his mind, he stuck with it forever. Examples include the Jackson 5 medley, the cherrypicker routine during Beat It, the stop and start during WBSS, singing with a fan during She's Out Of My Life. I wish Michael had experimented a bit more with his performances, and also shown some love to his lesser known songs.
These are bad examples. The cherry picker wasn't even a thing until 1987 and later on during the HIStory Tour it was minimised greatly only to be gone again in 2001. The Beat It routine in general has changed more than most other performances. In 1984 there were two guitar solos and a whole bunch of stuff that would eventually be deleted by 1984 and then further streamlined in 2001.

The WBSS break changed quite a bit.
In 1984 he would exit the pose and kind of size up the audience for a second before kicking the air and then singing "If you can't feed your baby" followed by the band starting again.
In 1987 the kick was removed.
In 1988 he would only move his microphone to his mouth to sing it while not changing his pose until the band starts.
In 1992 he would step back and the drums would signal the song about to start, at which point Michael would sing to sync up with them.
In 1993 he would stamp the ground beforehand to hype it up ala Rock With You 1984-1989
In 1996-1997 he would clap his hands instead.

She's Out Of My Life didn't have a fan to sing with it for most of it's performances.
In 1981 he walked down the side of the stage to hug a fan on the other side of a border.
In 1984 Michael started to lie and sit on the stage and the fan was removed from the routine so Mike just walked on the side of the stage to get closer to the audience.
In 1987 the girl was back and she got to go past the gate so the girl could hang out on her own volition.
In 1988 the girl instead gets positioned on the top of higher on the stairs for Michael to come over to her rather than the other way around.
In 1992 the girl comes up the stairs to meet Michael instead and THIS is when he starts letting her "sing along" (although usually they just scream).
In 1993 Michael would kiss the fan in addition to the 1992 routine.
In 1996-1997 the fan is now in You Are Not Alone instead but instead of kissing her, he tries to square dance with her instead.
In 1999, She's Out Of My Life was rehearsed as a duet with Mariah Carrey and Michael would dance with her during the section where he'd interact with the fans ala IJCSLY.
There are naturally more variations on these but these are the main ones.

These last two literally changed every tour, why did you use them as examples this?
 
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mj_frenzy

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That TWYMMF performance could be just extra material. They don't need to replace the solo one. I think Thriller and Dangerous could have easily been performed. Thriller isn't very dark. Beat It choreography they used is a lot darker. One of the dancers got stabbed on stage. :D
Fair point, but given that Michael Jackson wanted so much his dear friend Slash to perform with him on stage for those two shows, this meant that the 'Beat It' rock performance and its choreography had to be included.
Well, in theory yes, but singing also takes energy, plus the set list was probably designed in such a way that Michael gets to recharge during these 'slow' songs for the energetic performance later. All I am saying is I don't think Michael took these decisions out of laziness or was ok with a sub-par performance, at least not for Dangerous or HIStory. Either he genuinely believed that lip singing will lead to better show (which I agree), or he was not able to sing live due to health issues.
Lip-syncing his songs (in the HIStory Tour) certainly did not lead to better shows.

Instead, it led to some embarrassing and laughable moments that he should have foreseen and thus avoided.

For instance, when the on-stage girl (in 'You Are Not Alone') hugs him and kisses him, the audio vocal playback remains unaltered.

Or, the fact that he had to start lip-syncing 'You Are Not Alone' from backstage in order for him not to miss the first cue.

Or, in certain songs when he used studio vocal playback which was recorded 15 years ago (such as, in the 'Off The Wall' medley).

Or even in songs with multiple vocals layers (like, 'Blood On The Dance Floor'), where trying to lip-sync them gave him a really hard time on stage.
 

ArchieSmash

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Instead, it led to some embarrassing and laughable moments that he should have foreseen and thus avoided.

For instance, when the on-stage girl (in 'You Are Not Alone') hugs him and kisses him, the audio vocal playback remains unaltered.
That's literally the whole reason he lip synced the song, so the fan wouldn't interrupt the audio.

Or, in certain songs when he used studio vocal playback which was recorded 15 years ago (such as, in the 'Off The Wall' medley).
When he does sing live in DTSTYGE, he sounds exactly like his young self anyway. His falsetto has not changed. Your judgement is misguided.
 

Nite Line

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That's literally the whole reason he lip synced the song, so the fan wouldn't interrupt the audio.
If that is the case, why didn’t Michael ever lip synch She Is Out Of My Life? He also invited a fan on stage during the performance of that song.

The fact is that Michael was going to lip sync You Are Not Aline, regardless of whether or not, he invited a fan on stage. Look at the two performances of YANA during the charity concerts in 99. He lip synced both times, despite not performing with a fan.
 

ArchieSmash

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If that is the case, why didn’t Michael ever lip synch She Is Out Of My Life? He also invited a fan on stage during the performance of that song.

The fact is that Michael was going to lip sync You Are Not Aline, regardless of whether or not, he invited a fan on stage. Look at the two performances of YANA during the charity concerts in 99. He lip synced both times, despite not performing with a fan.
I worded that wrong. I'm saying that Michael doesn't want the fan to be heard, if he did, he'd have his mic turn on when she comes on-stage and keep the playback running.
 

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Lip-syncing his songs (in the HIStory Tour) certainly did not lead to better shows.
That's a matter of opinion. In a perfect world Michael would live perfectly, and dance without getting out of breath, won't have any health issues .....

But sadly we don't live in that world. Given the thing we're at that time, I don't believe the show would have been better if Michael sang everything live.

@ArchieSmash did a great analysis of things that changed and stayed the same over time. Thanks for that great post. 👍
 

ArchieSmash

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That's a matter of opinion. In a perfect world Michael would live perfectly, and dance without getting out of breath, won't have any health issues .....

But sadly we don't live in that world. Given the thing we're at that time, I don't believe the show would have been better if Michael sang everything live.

@ArchieSmash did a great analysis of things that changed and stayed the same over time. Thanks for that great post. 👍
lol I was super worried that wall of text was too combative sounding.
 

Hiker

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lol I was super worried that wall of text was too combative sounding.
Oh loved reading that.
You missed a big one though - the Billie Jean entrance. The suitcase got added during HIStory, and he had fun with that during the show. Sometimes he 'searched for the light' and sat down on the suitcase grooming his hands and shoes, waiting for the bus. 😂
 

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Oh loved reading that.
You missed a big one though - the Billie Jean entrance. The suitcase got added during HIStory, and he had fun with that during the show. Sometimes he 'searched for the light' and sat down on the suitcase grooming his hands and shoes, waiting for the bus. 😂
All the tours (and Royal Brunei) have different timing with how each element of the song comes in. I was mainly talking about what they were saying stayed the same (when they didn't).
 

dethorro

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Or, the fact that he had to start lip-syncing 'You Are Not Alone' from backstage in order for him not to miss the first cue.
There's no reason to believe that that was the case since Jonathan Moffett would always give the cue with a count (one, two, "another day has gone.."). Additionally, he lip-synched the song a number of times in 95 and he never started the song from backstage.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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This hypothesis doesn't work with the recent revelation that Michael was singing in full underneath the playback, with his microphone muted (only he can hear his own voice). He used playback because he didn't want to disappoint his audience with a sub-par vocal performance, not for any health reasons. Michael Prince (main studio engineer on the HIStory Tour) relayed as much on the MJCast.
His sub-par vocal performance was directly tied to his health though.

btw are you talking about the cherry picker specifically for beat it? Because he started to use the cherry picker on the Triumph Tour.

Are you also saying that only live vocals from TWMMF that trumps this performance is Monza 92?

Not to be harsh but this is the worst live vocal performance of TWYMMF I have heard. He is not hitting the notes, singing off pitch with a scratchy voice. You can't seriously say that this sounds better than any live concert performance of TWYMMF from the Bad Tour? I really liked the vocals on the intro though!
MJ didn't always kick during the break on WBSS in 84

8:49
 
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ArchieSmash

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His sub-par vocal performance was directly tied to his health though.
His health was fine at the start of the '88 leg yet he still had subpar vocals (for the most part) for songs he would later lip-sync.

btw are you talking about the cherry picker specifically for beat it? Because he started to use the cherry picker on the Triumph Tour.
Yes specifically for Beat It, I do wonder why it disappeared for the Victory Tour.

Are you also saying that only live vocals from TWMMF that trumps this performance is Monza 92?

Not to be harsh but this is the worst live vocal performance of TWYMMF I have heard. He is not hitting the notes, singing off pitch with a scratchy voice. You can't seriously say that this sounds better than any live concert performance of TWYMMF from the Bad Tour? I really liked the vocals on the intro though!
The opening sucks but the rest is super good, specifically "oh I'll be workin' from nine to five, to buy you things to keep you by my side", I've scoured through every concert where he sings that line live and this is the best one. In all the Bad Tour concerts where he sings this his voice cracks or he lets the backup singers do it.

Not to be harsh but this is the worst live vocal performance of TWYMMF I have heard.
Kansas 1988, Tunis 1996 and the other MSG concert exist.

MJ didn't always kick during the break on WBSS in 84
There are always exceptions, but for the most part he did. That's what I meant when I said "There are naturally more variations on these but these are the main ones."
 
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PurpleThriller

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I can’t help it I find the performances embarrassing and it bothers me a lot that youtube recommends these concerts to me. Same for HIStory and to some extent Dangerous tours. There is so much footage of these tours on youtube. Most of this footage isn’t live and you get to see a lot of comments how Michael lip synced his entire career.
What we seen on youtube is not Michael the genius energetic live performer but some sort of cheap knock off. I simply will never understand how a guy that feels completely natural and comfortable on stage was ok with doing mime shows. There can only be one reason and I think he was kind of forced to do these tours while he didn’t really want to do any of the tours post bad, it is completely half arsed for the most part.

If I was a dictator I’d forcefully remove and forbid every post bad tour concert footage online 😖
dangerous tour from 1992 is still amazing
 

Richard76

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Why MJ used lip sync? As far as i know this performance was not so big...? and what operation surgery he did? Because somebody says he tried to hide his mouth due to upper lip problem?
 
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