The Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Celebration was an event to remember.
I attended the show on September 10th, 2001... Exactly 15 years ago today.
As a Jacksons fan first and foremost, I was excited to see all 6 of the Jackson brothers reunited on stage. It would be the first time in 20 years... and I just HAD to be there.
I was young. My dad (also a huge fan) had seen Michael 3 or 4 times and had always RAVED about how amazing Jacksons shows were. So, when the tickets went on sale- he and I used his cell phone, our house phone and AOL (yes, we still had dial-up at this time) and completely devoted ourselves to get them. After busy signals, Ticketmaster site crashes, we had no choice but to continuously refresh our email inboxes with fingers crossed.
I've always heard that the ticket prices for this show were the most expensive ever (at the time). Not only was this a mini-Michael Jackson concert, this was a celebration of his 30 years as a solo artist. The program featured a long list of big-name performers. Our tickets were the lowest priced and were as far back as you could imagine being at The Garden. We were at the tippy-top of the arena. Literally so far in the back that you could walk up 2 or 3 steps and arrive at the popcorn stand.
But we didn't care. It only mattered that we were there.
Butterflies in my stomach all day at school, I remember racing home and being super anxious about getting there on time. Can't remember what I wore but, I doubt I had on a Michael shirt. I am not sure if I even owned one at the time. And sadly... we didn't even take any pictures that night.
Seeing the other artists perform was exciting of course but, at a Michael Jackson show, most folks are there to see him.We waited nearly 4 hours for Michael to come out. The time in between acts was ridiculously long and most of the people in our section that night got antsy. I even saw a couple of people get up and leave.
It was nearly 10pm when the Jacksons set began.
Now keep in mind, at this point I hadn't truly delved into Michael's solo music. I was routinely falling asleep to Third Album, the Love Songs Compilation, or the 10-track Jackson Five "Best Of" album. So this moment meant a lot to me. The Jacksons medley was something I have vivid memories of. The sparks and smoke burst into the air, as the 5 Jackson brothers entered through their respective doorways.
And Michael rose from the floor.
He removed his helmet slowly and with that classic "I am the King of Pop and pretty much, the greatest ever...." stance. With one hand pointed in the air and one at his crotch, he gave the cue and the show began.
Here are 3 of my most memorable moments from that evening:
Three of the things that I remember most about the show:
1. Michael's performance of You Rock My World. Dad and I literally ran out of our seats and down as many stairs as we could, from Section 400 to somewhere in the 100s to get a closer look. Thinking back, this sounds kind of obsessive and insane but... this is where Michael takes you! You totally get in the zone.
2. Seeing Michael doing the TWYMMF silhouette dance from the back. Had the privilege of seeing Michael behind the curtain. His moves were so perfectly timed and precise. (Not to mention, I've heard that Jermaine wrote in his book about Michael not having practiced for these shows at all. I suppose we have to take this with a grain of salt but, without a doubt Michael moved "with flawless precision".)
3.The Jacksons. I suppose that I've saved my personal best, for last. Experiencing the brothers all dancing together in unison to "Can You Feel It" was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. And that breakdown of "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)? Totally classic.
A lot of people like to rag on the 30th Anniversary Celebration concerts.
They don't think Michael was at his best.
And to be frankly honest, I can't say I reach for this tape first when I am in the mood to watch concert. I wasn't the biggest fan of the costumes that night... Or Michael's shaggy hairstyle and habit of hiding his mouth while he sang.
But, on September 10, 2001, I realized that there were other people in the world that felt as passionately about Michael Jackson and his message as I did. I realized that Michael Jackson was an outstanding and electrifying performer. I got chills through my body just seeing him on that stage... and I don't care about how fangirly that sounds.
It's my truth.
I'll always cherish the memory of seeing Michael Jackson live for the first and ONLY time.
And I hope to save my ticket stubs until I get old and gray... so I can tell my grandchildren about what it was like to witness a living legend... haha. :-)
Does anyone know how to preserve ticket stubs so that the ink doesn't fade away?
Were you also at these shows? What was your favorite moment?