Monday, 11 March 2013

Michael Jackson - Live at Wembley (DVD)

A great performance from a most excellent tour. It's excellent that a show from the Bad tour has finally been given an official release. The tour is far superior to the Dangerous tour. This particular performance comes from the second leg of the tour, which took place in 1988. I personally prefer the first leg of the tour (particularly the easy to find Yokohama shows) so given the choice I would have rather an official release of one of those shows. Two tracks from it do turn up on the DVD though as part of the extras. That's personal opinion though, the Wembley shows were still excellent. More songs from the Bad album were actually performed on the second leg shows so perhaps its more fitting for the Bad 25 package anyway.

As I said earlier, the show is excellent. It's Michael Jackson at pretty much his peak as a performer. It was also his first solo tour, so its history on a variety of levels here. It's also a real treat to hear songs such as Another Part Of Me (one of my favourites) and Dirty Diana performed live which weren't part of the officially released Bucharest show from the Dangerous Tour. Seeing him mess around on stage with the band - like at the end of Bad for instance - is also quite lovely to see given how sad things would end up for him. The reason I prefer the aforementioned Yokohama show is purely because of the setlist. I absolutely love the performance of Shake Your Body Down To The Ground although sadly this track wasn't part of the second leg setlist.

My only criticism of the whole thing really is the picture quality. Obviously its not going to be blu-ray - this footage is 25 years old - but it does look poor in places, especially on the distance shots that show the whole stage. Its very blurry in those shots. It doesn't look like its been restored in any way which is a shame. This performance was sourced from Michael's own personal VHS copy he had of it, perhaps they didn't want to tamper with it out of respect. Really though I think they could have justified it: you do feel like you're watching a VHS tape in places. Another thing they could have added in maybe is some more extra features. The Way You Make Me Feel wasn't performed on the night of the main concert due to a late start, so the performance of the song from the night before is added as an extra. Also there is I Just Can't Stop Loving You and Bad from the Yokohama shows too. I do find that a little bit pointless because they were performed in the main Wembley concert. I think they should have added the various songs that were cut from the second leg setlist instead. Also the Grammy's performance would have been a nice addition too.

All in all though this does remain an essential purchase. I recommend purchasing it as part of the four disc Bad 25 boxset. Its not perfect, but considering how much amazing footage still hasn't been given a DVD release yet (Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller for instance) then we fans should still be grateful all the same. Recommended!

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