Adrian Grant: On keeping the Michael Jackson legacy alive
'Thriller Live' creator, Adrian Grant recently spoke to the Liverpool Echo about the show and keeping Michael Jackson's legacy alive.
“It’s a feelgood show, it’s like a concert, so if the audience can get behind it then obviously the cast can respond to that and get energy from them. And it’s always a good crowd down at the Empire, very lively.”
Grant came up with the original concept for the show after more than 10 years of organizing an MJ fan day in London. And before that, he launched a Michael Jackson fanzine in the 1980's that soared from an initial 200 copies to 25,000 subscribers in just two years!
But Grant admits that he was initially more of a Prince fan.
“I was aware of him in the Jacksons and so forth, in the late 70s, but I didn’t really become a fan of his music until the THRILLER album when I saw him moonwalk for the first time. I thought ‘wow, that’s incredible!’ And then I really took an interest in his music. There were a lot of girls at school who were crazy about him and I thought ‘nah,’ I was a bit of a Prince fan. But then I saw him perform and he was unbelievable on stage.”
One of the original readers of that fanzine Grant created was the man himself and in 1990 Jackson invited Grant to Los Angeles to meet him in the studio as he recorded the DANGEROUS album.
Recalling that meeting, Grant says, “I didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as he walked into the studio, he was very welcoming, very down to earth, not at all like the press perceived him to be. He was just like a normal guy who was great at his job, singing and working hard in the studio and then at the end of the day he invited me to his ranch for lunch. That’s what I remember about him most. Just being a very kind, generous person.”
Jackson kept tabs on what Grant was up to and in 2001 he even attended the 10th Anniversary of the MJ fan day in London.
“He came and watched it from the corner of the stage. We had to build him a little tent. He came on stage afterwards and spoke to the fans, who went crazy and he said how much he loved the show. And it was then I realized that perhaps this could become a bigger type of production, and I saw 'We Will Rock You,' the Queen show, which gave me the idea for 'Thriller Live.'”
It's a concept that has proven hugely successful with fans both old and new. Grant says he's just happy to do his part to continue the legacy of the music legend. So far, one million people in 20 countries have seen 'Thriller Live.'
“That was always my goal,” Grant says. “To bring Michael’s music to the masses via a touring production.”