Saudi fans pay tribute to Michael Jackson

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(AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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AbuThalib, left, performs at a concert in Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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Updated 02 July 2018

Saudi fans pay tribute to Michael Jackson

JEDDAH: It has been nine years since the undisputed king of pop music Michael Jackson left his fans aggrieved but his legacy lives on in the form of his songs.

Millions of Michael Jackson fans continue to swoon over his songs. The hit songs produced by the deceased pop icon do not seem to lose their freshness. 

Like elsewhere, MJ’s fans in Saudi Arabia also paid tribute to him by organizing a concert in Jeddah on June 30. A local band called “Who’s Bad?” performed at the event, which was held in the Majestic Laylati ballroom. Hundreds of MJ fans attended the concert to remember their beloved artist. 

The concert started with the electrifying performance by AbuThalib’s who was dressed as the pop icon and for a moment made people believe that MJ had returned. He performed one of MJ’s greatest hits “Jam” and set the tone of the event.

AbuThalib, a true MJ fan, captivated the audience by performing almost all hits by the legend. To many in the audience, it was a great trip down memory lane. Many MJ fans became nostalgic. 

The talented singer and dancer, AbuThalib, has Arabic roots as he is from Sudan. He told the crowd how thrilled he and his band were to be performing in Saudi Arabia. “We had such an exciting time here in Saudi Arabia, I am glad we could make it to the Kingdom and perform in front of a wonderful audience.”

He also expressed how much he enjoyed visiting Saudi Arabia. The artist said he would love to perform again in the Kingdom. The response from the audience was overwhelming and filled the hall with cheers.

The supposed wrap-up song was “Beat it” but after the performers stormed back on the stage for a surprise performance of “Black or white.” 

It was a great way to pay one’s tribute to a legend. The participants were thrilled to have attended such an event. Ahmad, an MJ fan, told Arab News: “I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson and it was an amazing experience. I am at a loss for words to express my feelings.” 

Another MJ fan, Seham, said: “It felt so real, the performers were extremely talented.”

Alaa Tammar, a social media influencer, also attended the concert. She said: “I loved the concert and everything about it, I never thought I would experience the Micheal Jackson phenomenon after his passing but here we are.”

At the end of the concert, fans lined up to take selfies with AbuThalib. Other band members mingled with the audience and answered their questions. 

“This was my first time performing in front of a Muslim audience and as a Muslim myself it was very heartwarming to be receive such an amazing reaction,” said AbuThalib.

“Saudi Arabia is a beautiful country, and I am glad I could come here. The audience’s love was genuine.”

AbuThalib also said: “I like paying tribute to Michael Jackson, as he was my inspiration.” 

‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

A still from the kid-friendly film. (Sony Pictures Animation)
Updated 23 July 2018

‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

  • The characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail

CHENNAI: Nothing can be compared to Japanese animation, especially the works of cinematic art created by Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,” “The Wind Rises”), which is not just sharply political but also intensely emotional. In comparison, American animated films may seem somewhat plastic, though the Hotel Transylvania franchise has risen above the mundane. The latest installment,” Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation,” from director Genndy Tartakovsky, depicts a battle between good and evil.
The plot sees Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), her human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the entire monster entourage go on a cruise vacation to Atlantis. On board, widowed and lonely Dracula falls head over heels in love with the director of the event, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). However — plot twist! — she is a human being and several centuries younger. Even worse, she is the granddaughter of the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), whose bitter enmity with Dracula dates back to the 1800s. It is liberally interspersed with humor, which comes courtesy of the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the giant puppy that Dracula's grandson smuggles aboard the ship.
Tartakovsky, who helmed all three editions of the franchise, undoubtedly employed a brilliant set of animators — the characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail. The wit flows at a breathless pace, but what is lacking is a certain novelty, which one expects in an ongoing series.
One plus point is that parents will not find themselves wanting for entertainment. Dracula's romance with Ericka may be lost on children, but it will keep the adults entertained. At 97 minutes long, however, the film could have been far more fantastic.