Michael Jackson 1958-2009, RIP

MJ’s death has affected me on a deep level. This grief caught me by surprise. In reflection, I’ve remembered that MJ was my first pre-teen heart-throb, and I didn’t realize that I had kept a place for him tucked away in my heart all these years. Throughout his magnificent 40 year career I have maintained tremendous respect & admiration of him as one of the great entertainers of out time. More than his music, I think my continued connection to him was in his dancing and his showmanship.

Last nite I went back on YouTube and watched a number of live performances not included in the weekend video marathon on all of the music channels (there were times this weekend when 5 channels were simultaneously running a marathon of videos, often in amazing synchronization, a tribute that went on 24/7 for 4 days).

Here’s a couple that I found that exemplify his power and showmanship:

First, the Motown 25 billie jean, you’ve watched cuts of his moonwalk debut here many times. Part of his enduring magic is that you cannot take your eyes off him (notice this quality when watching his group dances in his video legacy). As his final choreographer put it, “He’s electric”. BTW: YouTube also has the full performance, which begins with he and his brothers preforming at the Jackson 5. As Michael points out, it’s a nostalgic walk down memory lane to listen to the old songs:


Second, may i present the 30th anniversary billie jean. His showmanship is amazing. he begins by walking out on stage with an old 1930’s suitcase, and placing it on the stool. The house is quiet, his shoes are mic’d so that the sound of his steps, the clicks of the heels of his shoes and the buckles of the suitcase are amplified as he walks over to a stool and opens the case. First he removes a black sparkling shirt and puts it on. the crowd roars in anticipation of what’s about to occur. he does a twirl, displaying the shirt for all to adore. then he walks back to the case and removes a worn black fedora. again the crowd goes wild as he carefully places it on his head and pulls the brim down low over his nose. you know the pose, and so does the crowd, which continues to cheer as he reaches back into the case, and takes out a sparkly white glove. (one fan said she wished she were a left hand white glove). he quickly places it on his hand and puts the case and stool up stage. Next the props of the glove & hat wave to the screaming fans as he wiggles his fingers behind his back and tips the hat, completing this reverse striptease. he shows off many moves, in addition to the famous moonwalk, including the robot and a few from “dangerous”:


I will leave you with a live performance of “remember the time”. Clearly injured (he had sprained his ankle) and ever the showman, he sits in a golden Egyptian throne, befitting the king of pop, and sings with no dancing. what amazes me here is the remarkable showmanship exhibited: he’s not dancing (though as if unable to contain himself he gives us a few choice head and shoulder moves in a short dance in the chair) and i cannot keep my eyes off him. even sitting in a chair he manages to captivate and hold the attention:


Michael Jackson flew high in the stratosphere, with the likes of elvis, lennon, garland, monroe, astaire, kelly and barishnikov.

goodbye Michael. you remain ever in our broken yet always adoring hearts.