'Who’s Bad' Michael Jackson tribute tests waters in Prince Albert

By paNOW Staff
November 7, 2013 - 9:34pm

The 'Who’s Bad' tribute band started out as fun project at the University of North Carolina a decade ago. Now, it tours the world and performs about 120 times a year.

Prince Albert was the most recent stop on their path, where 'Who’s Bad' put on a show at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts on Thursday night. They played recognizable hits including “Smooth Criminal,” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

In 2003, Vamsi Tadepalli was a jazz major when he asked some peers if they would be interested in putting a Michael Jackson tribute band together.

“We put the band together before we had a Michael, believe it or not. Fortunately, a friend of mine knew a guy that knew a guy, and introduced me to him,” said Tadepalli, who is the manager and owner of 'Who’s Bad.'

The group’s first ‘Michael’ still tours with the group to this day.

There have been many changes to the group, which have toured with six different ‘Michael’s over the years.

The biggest one was when Michael Jackson died in 2009.

“We had kind of set ourselves up as being the go-to band for paying tribute to Michael. We actually got several opportunities to perform internationally, which is obviously kind of a crappy way to get in the spotlight, with his death. But people wanted to hear the music and that’s why we started the group,” said Tadepalli.

The group has been busy ever since. He attributes their success to high energy and the audience participation.

“’The Way You Make Me Feel’ we do a lot of audience interaction. We get a girl on stage like the music video. Kind of flirting between Michael and the girl, walking back and forth. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure,” he said.

The music played varies between performances, but spans Jackson’s entire career.

With the full band, horn section, dancers, and Michael Jackson performers, nine people took to the stage on Thursday.

Before this tour, 'Who’s Bad' usually only went to British Columbia when in Canada. However, they’re “testing the waters” across the nation with the current show dates, said Tadepalli.

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