REVIEW: Quincy Jones - A Life In Song 85th birthday concert is a Thriller

He flew us to the moon and thrilled us like nobody else can.

Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones

After six decades in the music industry, the icon Frank Sinatra first called 'Q' and the legend who produced Michael Jackson's greatest hits, including his 100 million-plus selling Thriller album, still knows how to party.

Thousands of fans can testify to that after they attended the birthday bash of a life-time, Quincy Jones - A Life In Song.

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This three hour spectacular at The O2 in London, to celebrate him turning 85, had the man himself interviewed live on stage, in between renditions of his unforgettable hits by some of the biggest names in entertainment.

British soul diva Beverley Knight got a standing ovation for her brilliant performances including spine-tingling hit Always and Forever, which tole the show.

But it was close.

Yorkshire's own pop chart-topper Corinne Bailey Rae from Leeds thrilled with a mesmerising version of Lesley Gore's 1963 power ballad, You Don't Own Me.

Simply Red's Mick Hucknall showcased his note perfect smoky jazz voice - crying out for its own album - as he reminded us of Q's film work, with a show-stopping version of title track In The Heat Of The Night.

Birthday boy Quincy Jones with all-star party guests Beverley Knight, Mick Hucknall, Paul Weller, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jess Glynne and more

The Modfather Paul Weller gave us The Italian Job hit song On Days Like These, which revved up the star-studded audience including the film's headline act Michael Caine, along with the likes of Shakira and reportedly Simon Cowell.

Quincy's soundtrack and jazz work was also celebrated with Caro Emerald’s beautiful take on Sarah Vaughan classic Misty, along with a crowd-pleasing Leo Green sax rendition of Soul Bossa Nova - these days known as the Austin Powers theme.

A Netflix documentary about birthday boy Quincy is to be aired this autumn featuring a new song called Keep Reaching, written by Uptown Funk star Mark Ronson, whose birthday gift was to give the the song its first public outing.

The star-studded line up also included performances by chart-topper Jess Glynne, Lalah Hathaway, Jonah Nilsson, Jack Savoretti and Andreas Varady and others, all back by the magnificent Senbla Symphony Orchestra and singers conducted by Jules Buckley.

Leeds own Corinne Bailey Rae wowed at Quincy's birthday bash concert

But it wasn't just about the past, Quincy's support for future talent showcased the inventive work of 23-year-old multi-talented Brit newcomer Jacob Collier, who joined Lalah Hathaway in a haunting take on Human Nature.

The night started with a cover of the Q produced Sinatra standard Fly Me To The Moon, sung by 12-year-old child prodigy, Norway's Got Talent winner Angelina Jordan

Hit followed world wide hit, with Ai No Corrida, Give Me The Night, Stomp until, inevitably, the birthday finale - the Michael Jackson songbook, with Q's all-star line up taking turns to belt out Billie Jean, Off The Wall, Rock With You, P.Y.T, Bad and of course Thriller.

Quincy, whose career includes 27 Grammys, also paid tribute to Lincolnshire's own late great Rod Temperton who, still a surprise to many, actually wrote Thriller, Off the Wall and Rock with You, plus George Benson's hits Give Me the Night and Love X Love, among many others. Jones wasn't going to leave his 'brother' out of this and invited Rod's daughter on stage to join in the celebrations.

Always and Forever from British soul diva Beverley Knight

But the biggest thriller of the night was when Q did what he's alway done best - he conducted his special guests, during a concert party finale of Man In The Mirror.

He also assured fans he has no plans to quit.

"George Burns used to tell me, when you get over the hill - that's when you pick up speed," laughed Q, in conversatiion with journalist host Nic Harcourt.

And If fans could blow out the candle with one birthday wish, it would almost certainly be to party all over again.

Stay tuned.

The show was recorded with plans for a BBC Radio Two highlights programme and more.

Nic Harcourt chats to music legend Quincy Jones