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    Michael Jackson's private concerts filmed by Darras Hall filmmaker

    L.O.V.E. MJ

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    Michael Jackson's private concerts filmed by Darras Hall filmmaker

    Писане by L.O.V.E. MJ on Пет Юни 10, 2011 9:53 am

    Michael Jackson's private concerts filmed by Darras Hall filmmaker

    Memories of Michael Jackson are stirred by two films - never publicly released - of the performer in concert. Darras Hall filmmaker Gavin Taylor gives David Whetstone a private viewing

    Michael Jackson is gone - but in one corner of Northumberland he is not likely to be forgotten in a hurry.

    Indeed, yesterday he came explosively to life - only on screen, sadly, but sparking vivid memories for Gavin Taylor who, in the 1990s, filmed two Jackson concerts for the family of the famously well-heeled Sultan of Brunei.

    You would never guess, from the gentle landscape paintings on his walls, that Gavin had worked with many of the biggest names in popular music - U2, Sting, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, Quincy Jones, to name but a few.

    One of his earliest jobs was filming U2 at Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado, for the live album Under A Blood Red Sky.

    That was a test of his mettle, surely?

    Gavin exhales sharply in agreement. "You're only as good as your last show, so you have to keep the standard extremely high."

    The concert, immortalised through Gavin's footage, has become a classic. He recently provided a director's commentary for a remastered CD package.

    But Michael Jackson is the reason we are here. The celebrated, if controversial, singer died a week ago in the run-up to a comeback series of 50 concerts at London's 02 Arena.

    In an upstairs viewing room lie the fruits of Gavin's years' directing landmark music programme The Tube - made by Tyne Tees TV for the fledgling Channel 4 - and all the spin-off films of major concerts that it generated.

    A CD goes in the player and on the big screen at the end of the room comes the legend: "Jerudong Park Gardens 1997, New Year Celebration."

    Then, for the next few minutes, we are treated to a private viewing of Michael Jackson in his prime, wowing an invited audience to a special concert.

    The film is expertly made on what, in 1997, was state-of-the-art recording equipment. And here, in vivid colour and in close-up, is the riposte to all those who have ever doubted Jackson's capabilities as a performer.

    This may have been a private concert, but clearly it was the real deal, no holds barred. There are myriad costume changes, fireworks, umpteen tricks and physical and vocal pyrotechnics from Jackson.

    Gavin worked for Tyne Tees from 1960 until 1996 when he filmed the first Michael Jackson concert in Brunei, having made contacts and earned a reputation through his work on The Tube.

    He explains that Prince Jefri, a member of the Brunei Royal Family, used to stage concerts by major stars to mark the birthdays of his three children, Princes Hakeem and Bahar and Princess Hamidah.

    "They were all videoed and put on disc for private distribution so they never saw any of the TV networks," says Gavin.

    "I used to go out three times a year and it was amazing. I directed concerts by Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Sting, Bryan Adams, Elton John and, of course, Michael Jackson."

    Gavin filmed Michael Jackson once for a birthday concert and then for the New Year's Eve celebration.

    What usually happened with the birthday concerts was that the star would spend some time with the royal children which would be filmed for the family archive.

    He remembers that Sting and Bryan Adams, who later performed a duet of Every Breath You Take, went jet skiing.

    Stevie Wonder drove a car for the cameras. "He was up for it although he didn't drive far and it was in a straight line," says Gavin of the blind singer.

    With Michael Jackson it was different. He was filmed leaving the aircraft on the Sultan's private airfield and greeting the royal offspring. But there were no filmed trips to the zoo or the funfair.

    In Gavin's viewing room we see the eccentric singer descending the aircraft steps wearing trademark broad-brimmed hat, braided jacket and face-mask and with a very
    short, identically attired person at his side.

    A child? Gavin shrugs. Some aspects of Jackson's life, as we all know, raise uncomfortable questions.

    Gavin remembers he and Jackson spoke just before each of the two concerts, the first of them a break from his History tour.

    "The first time we discussed the use of hand-held cameras on the stage during the concert.

    "Because he'd been on tour, he had American cameramen with him and he said he felt more comfortable if they worked on stage rather than our cameramen. That was understandable.

    "He was a very, very polite, gentle, sensitive person but with enormous talent."

    In 1996 and 97, says Gavin, Jackson was at the peak of his performing powers, but this is clear from the film we are watching.

    "Just watch this," says Gavin, fast forwarding to the end. "Even I didn't know this was going to happen."

    At the very end of the concert, a huge tank trundles onto the stage, a soldier jumps out and points a rifle at the singer who then subdues him into a blubbering heap with a message of peace and love.

    "He certainly knew how to put on a show," says Gavin.

    How did he feel when he heard the singer had died?

    "I was surprised but I wouldn't say I was shocked. I think he was under such a huge amount of pressure and he was also in a lot of pain.

    "I met him in the peak of condition but he had grown skeletal. You can't dance around on bones forever."

    Gavin is credited as video director on the private film we watch which is marked as a Sensible Music production for Goldcrest International.

    Gavin was hired by Sensible Music's Andy Zweck after impressing him with his film of Queen performing at Wembley Stadium.

    Just two framed downstairs items give a clue to Gavin's working life: the photo of him with the (real) Queen, taken after he directed the Royal Variety Performance and his Grammy nomination for best music video after he filmed Miles Davis and Quincy Jones (who produced Michael Jackson's Thriller album) at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1993.


    Where there is LOVE, I'll be there...Just call my name and I'll be there...

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