The Rolling Stone Blog

Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Ne-Yo Defy Naysayers at Michael Jackson Tribute Concert

The Rolling Stone Blog

The pre-concert
news
seemed to indicate certain disaster. Ticket sales were
suspended
 at one point (and subsequent tickets sales were said to be poor),
there was trouble with
the line-up
, and division between the Jackson family over the timing of the
event all contributed to reports branding it a non-starter.

But apparently no one had bothered to tell the fans. On Saturday afternoon,
there was a carnival atmosphere in the streets of Cardiff, Wales surrounding
Millennium Stadium, where over 40,000 fedora-wearing fans blew whistles and
danced to Michael's greatest hits, which blared from local pubs.

The party infiltrated the stadium, where Ne-Yo kicked off the show, announced
by a pyrotechnics display that blazed across the white glove-shaped stage -
reportedly the biggest rig used for a show in Europe.

British boy band JLS received the loudest screams of the night for "Blame It
On The Boogie," performed with Jacksons Marlon, Tito and Jackie. Other
highlights were from Cee Lo Green ("I Can't Help It"), Alien Ant Farm ("Smooth
Criminal") and a duet from long-time Jackson family friends Gladys Knight and
Smokey Robinson ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You").

Many younger acts - Ne-Yo, JLS, Jamie Foxx, Craig David - said that Michael
had been an inspiration for them. So all those hours spent imitating his moves
and grooves (undoubtedly singing into hairbrushes in front of mirrors) turned
out to be hours well spent, as they gyrated their way through classics like
"Billie Jean," "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Rock With You."

There were also notable performances from Christina Aguilera (sporting
enormous hair) and Beyoncé, who appeared via video-link introduced by Michael's
children. British dance troupe Diversity gave a killer performance with plenty
of references to Michael's moves between their signature acrobatics, and Yolanda
Adams' huge voice earned her deafening applause.

Still, the show wasn't quite the triumph it could have been. There were
awkward gaps between some performances, and a particularly awkward moment from
La Toya Jackson, who seemed disoriented after her performance and had to be
repeatedly guided to the correct position on stage. But these are small quibbles
for a show of this magnitude - while the music was playing and the people were
dancing, no one seemed to mind.

Throughout, it was clear that Michael's lasting legacy as the king of pop
endures. "Can you feel his spirit in the house tonight?" asked his brother
Marlon. And as the fans sang every word and did their best Moonwalks out into
the night, the answer seemed pretty clear.

Setlist

Ne-Yo - "Billie Jean"
Ne-Yo - "The Lady In My Life"
JLS - "The Way You
Make Me Feel"
JLS and the Jacksons - "Blame It on the Boogie"
The Jacksons
- "Shake Your Body"
Jamie Foxx - "Rock With You"
Alien Ant Farm -
"PYT"
Alien Ant Farm - "Smooth Criminal"
Leona Lewis - "I'll Be
There"
Leona Lewis - "Stranger In Moscow"
Craig David - "Human
Nature"
Dance Jam live dance performance
Smokey Robinson - "She's Out Of
My Life"
Gladys Knight - "Believe In Yourself"
Beyoncé - "I Wanna Be Where
You Are"
Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson - "I Just Can't Stop Loving
You"
3T (and Tito Jackson) - "Why / Heartbreak Hotel"
Diversity live dance
performance
La Toya Jackson - "Jam / In The Closet"
Cee Lo Green - "You
Can't Win"
Cee Lo Green - "I Can't Help It"
Christina Aguilera -
"Smile"
Christina Aguilera - "Dirty Diana"
Pixie Lott - "You Are Not
Alone"
Pixie Lott - "I Want You Back"
Yolanda Adams - "Another Part of
Me"
Yolanda Adams - "Earth Song"
Alexandra Burke - "Scream"
Alexandra
Burke - "Who's Lovin' You"
Alexandra Burke, Yolanda Adams, Gladys Knight -
"Gone Too Soon"
Jamie Foxx, JLS, The Jacksons - "Don't Stop Til You Get
Enough" 

Related
• Photos: Michael
Jackson Remembered
• Photos: Michael
Jackson's Funeral

 

Photo by Samir Hussein

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