Michael Jackson BAD tour Working Day and Night illusion and performance!

Michael Jackson’s performance of “Working day and night” in his BAD tour was one of the highlights of the tour and ended with an amazing illusion … let’s take a closer look!

Michael Jackson performed the song “Working day and night” on his BAD tour and his DANGEROUS tour. The song was really the heart of the show – right in the centre. It was also ended with an amazing magic illusion into “Beat it”. The illusion on the Dangerous tour was probably one of the greatest stage illusion’s by a musical artist ever and you can read all about it and how it was done HERE! The BAD tour, especially the first leg contained much less stage magic and illusion’s and, for that tour (first leg), this was basically it. Michael would go on to add illusions to the show in on the second leg of the tour, most notably in the song “Thriller”. Let’s take a closer look …

Working Day and Night – Bad tour

Michael Jackson rehearsed this song intensively and we are fortunate to have footage of him rehearsing for his Dangerous tour as well rehearsing the song DURING the tour, on stage. The song was actually dropped for the last few shows and I suspect that this was because it was a hard song to perform, a long song to perform and that Michael was ill. In addition, the show was really cut short for the last few dates of the tour and he really only did the hits.

Michael Jackson and his STRICT rehearsals of this song!

In his rehearsals before the tour we hear Michael really chastise his dancers and band, telling them to “turn” and to do the moves properly – “turn, all the way!”, “turn, all the way!”. This is a very free flowing song but with lot’s of starts and stops. It is a very hard one for the band – as Michael often said – you have to watch him.

Michael also was strict with the lighting, and even more than 75% through the tour was unhappy with the lighting and telling them to add more and do more “exciting things”, during this song. The lighting did change during the Dangerous Tour, with addition’s of white back light’s on a new incline and a new set up.

BAD tour to Dangerous Tour – changes

The song, when performed during the BAD tour was extremely fast and this was slowed down during the Dangerous tour. I think that it probably was a little too fast during the Bad tour, so that was a good thing. The band had a hard job and they made mistakes during the rehearsals but for the shows they were nearly also always spot on – they sped up certain parts for the Dangerous Tour.

Michael Jackson Costumes

Michael had a full jump suit on during this song, because he had elements of his “Beat it” costume underneath, which we will come to in a moment when looking at the illusion in the song. Michael started off the tour with a black sparkly jump suit but this was changed on the second leg of the tour to a bright white suit.

The change makes perfect sense and was needed because the previous outfit was way too dark and you couldn’t really see the moves clear enough – the white outfit solved that.

The Working Day and Night Bad tour illusion!

At the end of the song Michael’s band and dancers stop and Michael goes crazy. The helpers bring on a big set of steps with a concealed chamber above it. The music then starts and then Michael runs up the stairs and stands at the top of the platform. We can clearly see underneath the platform and the stairs …

The music continues and a curtain type tube drops over the King of Pop and we can hear him shouting his trademark screams. The screams then stop and the curtain tube that is surrounding Michael raises up to reveal that Michael Jackson has disappeared!!!!!!

The magical mysterious music comes on and then “BAM!”, explosion and Michael is on the other side of the stage, on a crane above the crowd in a brand new costume for BEAT IT! Wow … that’s magic!

How did he do it?

We have previously looked at the Dangerous tour illusion and it is very similar in ways – he can really only go down. A few interesting points to take a look at:

1) When Michael runs to the top of the stairs we see that Michael stands in a very specific way with his legs apart

2) We see a very interesting white tape configuration on the steps … Why is this?

3) The whole contraption is fixed in one place every show. It is always in the EXACT place, is this on purpose?

4) After a few moments Michael’s singing and screams stop … is he in another dimension!?

This illusion was copied by NSYNC in their PopOddesey tour and if you take a look you will probably work it out pretty easily. This trick is over 20 – 25 years old now so I think we have enough time passed to take a look!

Interesting Stair case

The magic is in the construction of the stair case. We are fooled by the design which is a combination of dark and light areas but if you look carefully you will see that the stairs themselves are very wide – more than double the width that we are given to believe that that the top of those stairs are not in the usual place – they are right underneath where Michael stands. This gives him the perfect positioning to slide down the inside of the stairs and run underneath the stage, do his costume change and jump onto the crane for “Beat it”.

All Michael has to do is jump down the stairs. There isn’t even a trap door, it’s just a square hole. We can see this during Michael’s performance in Tokyo, when the camera angle is slightly too high:

I am very curious to how they did this illusion on the second leg of the tour in locations like New York City and MSG. The audience would have seen the hole BUT i presume that there would have been some kind of cover or flap, in fact, thinking about it, it could have been covered this a thin membrane material and he could have just jumped clean through it.

Wembley stadium show

I am amused by the BAD tour performance in Wembley because during the first leg of the tour, Michael stops screaming and sing, once he slides down the stairs.

For the second leg and specifically WEMBLEY he carries on singing all the way to the illusion! (give or take a few moments) – This means that when he was doing his costume change AND running across the width of the stage, one of his crew was probably holding the microphone to his mouth, to give that impression of continuity!

An amazing tour and an amazing song!

By Anthony King (c)

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