Do you remember where you were during Michael Jackson's solo performance for Motown's 25th Anniversary in 1983? I do! I was sitting on our brown and orange shag basement carpet as close to the television as I could get, slightly off to the left so I wouldn't block anybody else's view. My "Thriller" cassette tape had nearly been worn out by then. Every day I'd dance my short 14 year old legs off to it in my Holly Hobby themed bedroom, which had only become age appropriate a few years earlier with the inclusion of a gigantic Donna Summer poster. Although I loved all of the Motown performers, I was beyond excited about Michael getting onstage without all of his brothers so he could do his thing.
Then, almost four minutes into Michael's mesmerizing, sparkly gloved performance of "Billie Jean", came that hair raising moment I will always remember. He spun, slid his feet backwards in some sort of freaky motion and began magically gliding across the stage! I gasped. Time stopped. My mouth fell wide open and chills ran up my spine. WHAT WAS THAT CRAZY MOVE? Have you ever seen anything like it? The stage presence! The wild dancing! The groovy beats! This dude had it all.
I have been a Michael Jackson fan ever since I heard his "Off the Wall" album when I was ten. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'!!!!!" Seriously, I will never tire of that song. Whenever one of his fabulous tunes comes on I still cannot contain myself. Any self-consciousness I may have flies out the window and I bounce, jump, spin and pelvic thrust like there's no tomorrow. I've thought many times about going to the "Michael Jackson One" Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas but if I'm not allowed to dance during the show, my wild energy would need to go somewhere and I'm pretty sure I'd burst into flames. There's no way I could sit still with his music blasting. No freakin' way.
On the day he died all I could think about was how the youngins of today would not get to experience the pure magic of this man. It seems his passing had caused me to temporarily forget all about YouTube and how everyone can still basically see and hear everything he ever did. Oh! I heart technology!
My favorite story told by MJ's manager was about Michael's obsession with having THE BEST concert experience for his fans. MJ would often call up his manager at three in the morning with ideas; he was always coming up with bigger, better spectacles for his shows.
One day MJ's team members were all gathering to confirm details before a performance when Michael announced that he wanted to add something insanely extravagant to the stage. He claimed it was terribly important and that God channels these specific ideas through him at night. They had to tell Michael they weren't going to add anything at this point and suggested that he go home and get some sleep. Then Michael explained to them why he couldn't rest. "If I'm not here to receive these ideas, God's going to give them to Prince!"
Every time I think of that story I laugh. I imagine the typical looking God, an old man in a white robe and a long white beard, shooting fabulous choreography and stage design concepts to MJ through a giant white light direct from heaven, with tiny deadlines tied to them. And each time Michael missed one, Prince jumped on it!
The idea of competition was still bothering Michael Jackson until the very end! Isn't that wild? I cannot imagine the even more amazing things he would've done without that low vibe belief! He didn't recognize that if you hone your focus on what brings you joy, the fear-based idea of competition simply fades away.
Well, before I get all judgy on Michael Jackson, I may as well stop and recognize what this thought is really about, it's not about MJ, it's simply a note-to-self thing: to focus on my own passions (which is always fun) rather than comparison (which is always a bummer). Whether the belief in competition or comparison affected Michael's artistry or not, I am extremely thrilled that we get to enjoy everything he offered us. What a gift he was and continues to be to my love-filled eardrums and forever happy dancing feet.
Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson!