I think everyone has a Michael Jackson story. Some people adore his music. Some people worshipped him like a God; some thought he was a despicable pedophile, deserving only our scorn. He was the King of Pop, he was Wacko Jacko…
I’ve read people today praising his music. Some claim Thriller was his best work, others Off The Wall…for me, it was a lesser-known album called “Jacksons Live”. It was the first live album I bought, and I remember sitting in my room in middle school wearing out the grooves, three feet from the stereo with headphones so I wouldn’t anger my dad. For me, that’s my favorite MJ moment- listening to him sing with his brothers, on the cusp of supersuperstardom, getting the audience worked up during the pauses in “She’s Out Of My Life”, putting a decent live band through its paces, admiring the lights on the cover, and the glittery socks on the inner record jacket.
And then there’s the time I pulled the absolute worst guilt trip on my mom.
When Jackson announced the Victory Tour, I wanted to go. However, we really didn’t have a lot of money when we were kids. For some reason, Mom was going to pick up tickets for a friend. I went with her and stood in the long line at the Ticketmaster at Wanamakers. I knew we were only picking up the tickets for a friend, I knew we couldn’t afford to go, I understood the whole thing. And yet, at some point when we were near the front of the line, I started quietly sobbing. I couldn’t help myself. I tried to stop; I knew the deal. But I couldn’t. I felt awful, because I didn’t want to do that to my mom, but I just couldn’t turn off the waterworks.
Bless my mom’s heart, she bought us tickets to go. Don’t ask me where she found the money. And I got to go to musty old JFK Stadium in Philly…twice, because the first show rained out. I remember watching the leaks from the bowels of the stadium. I mostly remember the lightning and thunder, and then the fireworks and mist of the second show.
This week’s RARF video comes from that Victory Tour- the Jacksons, singing “Heartbreak Hotel (This Place Hotel)”. The quality of the tape isn’t the best, but I still think it’s a wonderful performance. Enjoy.