At the Conexus Arts Center on Saturday at 8 pm, the Regina Symphony Orchestra, together with rock musicians ‘Jeans ‘n’ Classics,’ will pay tribute to Michael at a special concert. ‘Jeans ‘n Classics’ is a group of rock musicians who team up with orchestras.
Regina audiences last were exposed to Jeans ‘n Classics’s work when the group partnered with the RSO for ABBAmania last year. The group offers a wide variety of shows and the Michael one, is a recent addition to the menu, said Peter Brennan, the company’s owner.
The owner of the group, Peter Brennan said, “We wanted to put the show together to remind everyone, ‘Hey, look at what he did.’ Regardless of all the problems he’d gone through, you realized what an unbelievable musical god he was and what his legacy was.”
The show features some music that goes all the way back to the early Jackson Five and continues through to Michael’s early solo career. The inventory of music goes as far forward as 1988’s ‘Man in the Mirror,’” Brennan said.
“It’s a very cool show and it was an awful lot of fun putting it together,” Brennan said. “You don’t come away sad from it. You come away happy from it. Gavin Hope is totally the star, but he doesn’t try to be a Michael clone. But what he does a great job of is singing it all, and also he’s been known to dance. There are an additional seven people on stage – three female backup singers and a four-piece band.”
‘Jeans ‘n Classics,’ which offers forty-five different shows – “quite literally from James Bond to Led Zeppelin,” Brennan said – will be playing for the third time in Regina on Saturday night.
“Our whole thing is to take pop or rock music and present it with an orchestra,” he said. “And by that I mean not to lose anything that was integral or vital about the pop song in the first place – it’s not Muzak or a toned-down treatment. It’s a proper band and vocals. But we’re always very mindful of on one hand, that respect factor to the original piece and on the other hand, we very much involve the orchestra. They’re a busy and vital part of it and not a backup scenario. We’re very careful and mindful not to do that. The listeners will hear ‘Thriller’ featuring a 56-piece orchestra.”
‘Jeans ‘n Classics,’ does about eighty concerts every year across North America and has done some shows in Europe. It attracts a wide variety of age groups, according to Brennan.
“People who are seventy years old are clapping along,” he said of the Michael Jackson show when performed elsewhere. “It’s very great music and you realize how strong all that material was. For Michael fans, they will hear what they want to hear. For people wondering what we’re all about, you will hear this combination of a rock band with an orchestra, which is an amazing sound. We’ve been doing this for seventeen years now and we only do orchestra shows. It’s a very different, totally live musical experience. No tapes. No tracks.”