Sunday, 22 November 2009


I must have been around 7 or 8 years old when I fell in love with Michael Jackson (in the most un-molesty sense of the phrase).  His voice, his moves, his music, his magic - he was less like a performer to me and more like a fictional superhero of sorts.  And this was before my interest in and passion for music had even begun to develop - it's strange; I always think of ELO or Oasis or even Scooter as my first musical 'interest', but on closer analysis, MJ was there way before all that.

My interest in the man, the legend, probably peaked in 1992 with the BBC screening of the HBO produced 'Live From Bucharest - The Dangerous Tour' concert film.  I vividly remember begging my parents to tape it for me (as it was screened after my bedtime) and to make sure there was enough tape space to capture it all.  In the subsequent weeks, months and even years, I wore out the old VHS tape from watching it, awestruck.

The set list is any fan's fantasy set list; even the lesser-known songs (to me) were spellbinding, especially impressive as the majority of them were hits before I was even born.  The true beauty of the show, and the true value of Jackson's performance, was that the wonder and awe was not only limited to the music and the dancing, but on a broader level the show as a whole was a spectacle to behold; a magical nether-world where  anything he dreamed was possible.  I've yet to see a show like that again - there are obviously shows that do the things he did, but with them it's the spectacle of the show itself that you come to see; here is a world where everything that happens amazes and yet all that amazes is only a spectacular by-product of the music of an amazing pop concert.

Fast-forward to 2009, and a tortured and broken Jackson is no longer with us.  Years of media stress drove him to an escape through drugs, which then lead to his unfortunate and possibly accidental death.  I feel little but sorrow for the loss of such an amazing icon, but on a more personal level, I feel sorrow for the loss of an obviously troubled human being.

His youth was stolen from him, the pressure to perform, achieve, impress leaving no time for a normal childhood.  Next, he hits the big time and the media dog him with bizzare stories (some of the more strange of which being propagated by the man himself), casting him more into the public eye than ever.  Medical problems, his much-documented skin disease and assorted cosmetic surgeries leave a proportion of the populous reaching for torches and pitchforks.

Then came the molestation accusations - whether these were fabricated by the families involved for monetary gains or whether the allegations were true is not for us to discuss.  If the allegations were in fact true, then I can only summise from his general persona and former personal troubles that he was simply a man with a problem, like many others before him, only he was unable to escape the cold light of justice long enough to get help and try to make restitution for any wrongdoings.

All of this paints an extremely bleak picture of an extremely talented and unique individual caught in a world of pain from which he was unable to escape no matter how hard he tried.  Maybe he's in a better place now - maybe not.  I'd personally love to have him on my list of people I can jam with in Heaven, nestled somewhere between Johnny Cash and The Edge.  Whatever the outcome, no-one can dispute that we lost an absolute freaking legend this year, and it's going to be a long, long time before any of us who truly appreciated him get over it.

I'd like to, therefore, take a little of your time to explain some of the reasons I believe him to be such a magic individual, and why I will miss the guy an awful lot.

I recently re-acquired the aforementioned concert, and one viewing took me back to 1992, reminding me of all the things that had obsessed my 8-year-old mind.  I think  that pretty much everything I loved about Jackson can be found in the songs of this show, and so I'd like to just write a short list of posts over the coming days and weeks, documenting and investigating the show and sharing the things I've come to love so much about it.

Let's end this post, and start the investigation, with the set list of that concert, and a look at possible things to discuss from the show/titles for subsequent posts:

1. Main Titles ('Brace Yourself') - 'The Toaster'
2. Jam - The Breakdown
3. Wanna Be Startin' Something - The Music
4. Human Nature - The Lighting
5. Smooth Criminal - The Spectacle / The Patented Shoes
6. I Just Can't Stop Loving You - The Drama
7. She's Out Of My Life - The Emotion
8. I Want You Back / The Love You Save - The History
9. I'll Be There
10. Thriller
- The Magic
11. Billie Jean - The Dancing
12. Working Day And Night - The Band
13. Beat It
- The Mechanics
14. Will You Be There - The Filler Act
15. Black Or White - The Movies / The Rock
16. Heal The World - The Environment
17. Man In The Mirror -The Anthem / The Passion / The Jetpack Switcheroo

Can I also advise anyone who wishes to do some extra-credit homework before the series of posts begin that I now realise the whole show is readily downloadable from the usual Torrent repositories, or for ease of viewing, it's also up in its entirety on YouTube in a variety of formats/playlists, but I will probably be posting clips to illustrate points as the series progresses.

Until then - Adieu!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice, look forward to this, great looking page, interesting to see what you make of MJ and this concert