Saturday, 26 December 2009

2. Jam - The Breakdown

So.  The 'talent' has just vaulted through the stage and stands statuesque, motionless.  Sparks rain down behind him and the crowd are going crazy.  The air is thick with anticipation; the tension palpable.

The first song of the set is the title track from the 'Dangerous' LP, "Jam".  The song isn't necessarily one of MJ's greatest hits of all time, but it certainly has his trademark 'snap'.  The thing I'd like to point out here is that the song contains a 'dance breakdown', something which has been reproduced by pop boy bands of the past 10 years or so.  Check out the following video from the 5 minute mark;8-year-old me thought this was amazingly cool:

Amazing.  I can't wait to talk about the show's lighting, as this is one thing that's struck me more and more as I've re-watched the concert (an edited version was recently shown on BBC2 as part of a night dedicated to MJ), but I'll need to find out a little more about it first.  There's an AWFUL lot going on onstage - I may well try and contact the LD and see what he remembers about his design.

During my latest viewing of the show, I couldn't help but wonder whether MJ sang live or lip-synched. I think I've come to the conclusion that he sang most of the tracks live but that he may well have 'mimed' for a few of them, particularly the more 'active' numbers.  I think it'd be fair to say that not even MJ could do some of the things he does on this tour AND sing every song live.  If you've ever seen that video of Britney on YouTube, revealing what her headset mic actually picks up during the course of a song while she's miming, you'll understand.  Some of the songs (mostly the slower numbers, or ones he's traditionally sung into a handheld such as 'Billie Jean') he sings into a handheld; others (like 'Jam') he's on a headset mic.  If you listen to his vocals in this song, I think it's safe to say he's actually doing them live, what with all the heavy breathing and some missed vocals, not that it matters.  'Jam' isn't really about the crooning, it's more about the dancing, the rapping, the moving, the...well...jamming.