Bad is back as Michael Jackson tribute band Who’s Bad returns to Akron Civic Theatre

Arts / Article

Pop music legends get revered in one way through tribute bands. The King of Pop has his in the form of Who’s Bad, a seven-member musical group out of Chapel Hill, N.C. This group has been described as an unrivaled celebration of Jackson’s music. We can all find out just how true that is as they appear at the Akron Civic Theatre, a Knight Arts grantee, on May 17.

Who’s Bad. Photo courtesy of the Akron Civic Theatre

Who’s Bad’s live performance is acknowledged as a power-packed performance of Michael Jackson’s expansive catalog that has ignited crowds on every continent. It is the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band, and the only one to predate his untimely passing.

Who’s Bad, we are assured, has awed even the skeptics, selling out nearly 50 venues in the United Kingdom including London’s O2 in December of 2010, the venue where the King of Pop was slated to end his career with a 50-show “This Is It” concert series.

How do they do it? Read through some reviews of some of their performances and you will get an idea. The costumes, for one, including the iconic sequined jacket and glove, provide some of the visual impact.

So, too, does the resemblance of one of the singers to Jackson, even as he performs – pretty deftly we are told – some of the famous Jackson moves (read the world famous moonwalk move here). In fact, the group is credited with studying seriously and fastidiously every concert move and groove the legendary Jackson is known for.

Another performance contribution – and indeed another kind of tribute to Jackson’s legacy – is the production quality of the performance. One critic called it studio production level stuff, whereby the band knows how to build the anticipation of the audience with its riffs and interactive moves vis-à-vis one another, up to the point where the audience – waiting with bated breath – finally gets to see the “tribute Michael” make his appearance and launch into song.

Apparently there are even moments when audience members can even get on stage and dance with the singer and members of the band.

And there is the music: “Billie Jean,” “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” “Smooth Criminal,” and the rest.

Who’s Bad, the Michael Jackson tribute band will perform at 8 p.m for a one-day-only concert on Saturday, May 17th at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Akron; 330-253-2488; www.akroncivic.com. Tickets are available at either $14 or $18.