For Indonesian Michael Jackson impersonator Awal, the King of Pop’s death in 2009 was shattering, turning his world upside down, but it gave him the motivation to further his craft and fascination with the star. Awal began by reaching out to other Jackson fans in Indonesia.
“I joined a Michael Jackson group soon after he died, though I didn’t really step up my moves until about a year ago,” said Awal, whose dance steps and fashion, particularly his fedora hat, are inspired by classic Jackson hits like “Billie Jean” and “Smooth Criminal.”
“I figured it’s just a small gesture to keep his legacy alive, most of all for me. After all, I grew up with his music, and I’ve been a Michael Jackson fan since I was a child,” he added.
Now, Awal and other Jackson impersonators are gearing up for the opportunity to perform with one of Las Vegas’ leading impersonators Kenny Wizz, as “A Tribute to Michael Jackson Starring Kenny Wizz: History Does Repeat and This Is It Indonesia Tour 2013” comes to Indonesia.
“The tour will start off on Aug. 31 in Surabaya before dropping by other cities … like Makassar and Balikpapan. The show will wrap up in Jakarta on Sept. 7,” project director Franky Paath said of the tour.
The Indonesian Michael Jackson impersonators will showcase their talents during intermission at the Jakarta event.
Well-known Indonesian Jackson impersonator Wahyu Jackson said Wizz would be well received.
“Wizz will get quite a welcome in Indonesia, as Michael Jackson fan clubs throughout the country have more than 27,000 members, making it one of the largest in the world after Great Britain and Russia,” Wahyu said.
Collecting Jackson memorabilia for more than 20 years, Wahyu has even performed a few of the King of Pop’s numbers — in full Jackson garb — before President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the first family.
“I really look forward to seeing the show. After all, Michael Jackson has always seemed to be a larger than life figure since I first saw him in the ‘Moonwalker’ video game in the late 1980s.”
Speaking during a news conference to promote the tour in Jakarta, Franky explained that there is more to the show than the obvious allusion to Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, which was cancelled when the star died just three weeks before the sold out series of concerts was set to commence in London in 2009.
“Kenny Wizz’s arrival in Indonesia, and the timing of the tour, coincides with what would have been [Jackson’s] 55th birthday on Aug. 29,” Franky said.
He added that one of the tour’s aims is to offer Indonesian audiences the chance to experience what the eccentric star’s stage show would have been like, as Jackson failed to tour Indonesia during his lifetime.
“The scale of the show, starting from the equipment, Wizz’s skills, as well as that of his backup chorus and dancers, will give audiences something of the spectacle that is a Michael Jackson concert. After all, Wizz and his crew cut their teeth in Las Vegas,” Franky said.
“Of all the Michael Jackson impersonators there are today, Wizz perhaps captures his person, starting from his looks, style and of course dress best, because he used to work for Jackson as his body double.”
Wizz was discovered as a teenage street dancer around the time that Jackson’s “Thriller” was huge in the early 1980s, and was picked up by an agent due to his likeness to the megastar.
“Wizz’s concert in Jakarta is of a larger scale than those before it, as he will perform 25 songs in two shows. The Michael Jackson fan clubs will get to show their stuff during the intermission or even at the culmination of the show along with Kenny Wizz. But the Jakarta show will be one of a kind because it will feature Michael Jackson impersonators, nearly all of which are based in the capital,” Franky said.
Ticket prices range from Rp 150,000 to Rp 750,000 ($14.60 to $73).
ATribute to Michael Jackson Starring Kenny Wizz: History Does Repeat and This Is It Indonesia Tour 2013
Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.Skenoo Hall, Gandaria City Jalan Sultan Iskandar Muda No. 57ASouth JakartaTel. 021 4555 5050 www.mybooking.co.id