Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The Michael Jackson Memorial Show: We all dreamt together
After the cold analysis, by which I mean the truth-telling - the necessary valedictory dream. Only in sleep will you get it.
Just watched the Michael Jackson memorial show in LA, as fantastical and as surreal a spectacle as anything I have ever dreamt: old Motown speaking and singing to MJ's gold coffin resting on the wheeled trolley before them, preachers invoking the loving God and eternity above them, a politician reminding us of MJ's presumed innocence and the implied damnation that awaits his accusers below them. Some men wore red roses, others yellow; the Jackson brothers, all in shades, wore yellow ties and one white spangled glove each in memory: Usher wore a Men In Black suit and wept as he closed his song at MJ's casket. The Jackson matriarch wore the reddest lipstick.
High above the boxed body we saw the pink hatted 10-year-old MJ singing on the Ed Sullivan Show and glimpses of the later MJ doing all the things we were told had changed the world - the moonwalking, the twirls, the hiccup ughs, all the familiar brilliance, but not the video zombies. The Rev Al Sharpton rewrote history and told us MJ's Heal The World came before Live Aid (it didn't) and Brooke Shields shared MJ's favourite song, Charlie Chaplin's Smile. Magic Johnson did Kentucky Fried Chicken a great favour: one of MJ's fave foods despite a chef on the payroll. Smokey Robinson promised MJ two eternities: one on earth in our hearts and one in the next world, "forever and forever and forever" as the politician had said.
The religious, gospelly tone flavoured the dream, emboldened the limitlessness of credible claim: indeed the word "dream" was used over and over again: MJ had allowed no-one to trammel his dreams; the Martin Luther King duo recalled how black America once had a dream: MJ had fulfilled that dream of racial harmony, of bridged divides. Tiger Woods and Obama owed it to MJ. Annoyingly, a rainbow appeared outside my window as all this happened: even the sky here in Blighty, 6,000 miles away, was intent on a creating a schmaltzy dream-like mise-en-scene of oneness through Michael. No wonder stories of signs get written down.
The manner of MJ's final posthumous show (with him present that is) was truly in keeping with his life as he lived it once he became a solo star: lavish, tender, bold in sentiment, beautiful, presentational, heart-stirring, thrilling, dreamy. Showbizzy. Untrue.
If someone could just book all the star acts that appeared tonight and get this show on the global road, someone (MJ's estate) would make a mighty fortune (again).