3 hours in the rain! that’s how long my mother stood in line for tickets. From the look on her face when she came home you would have never guessed it. She was positively quivering with excitement, you would have thought that we had won the lottery. As a young kid the excitement I felt then was fleeting, “O great we get to see Michael,” and I was off back to my room to play Super Nintendo. I had no idea that I was about to witness one of the greatest live performances…EVER!
The excitement in the place was palpable, I had never seen so many people that excited. Hours before the show people filled the streets in and around Aloha Stadium, this was to be Michael’s last show before heading off to Scotland to lose himself in the hills. Now, it’s one thing to watch fanatical fans on television as a 10 year old boy. But to actually be there and witness grown menscream and pass outlike school girls terrified me! Overwhelmed doesn’t quite paint the picture of just how small I felt in the world. And then,the show started.What I thought was already a loud scream as people anxiously awaited MJ to appear became a deafening roar when he actually ascended from the floor beneath the stage and immediately began to reel of hits. There wasn’t a butt in a seat in the entire place.
Incredible is a word that “begins” to describe the aura around Michael Jackson when he was in full form. On stage, with the lights and the pyrotechnics blasting in precise rhythm with him he became more than a man. We sat in the 1st row of the 3rd section…quite a ways up if you have never been to Aloha Stadium, but it felt like we were on stage with him. I saw women take off their clothes, I saw women pull out their hair, I saw men weep, for two hours I saw 65,000 people completely lose themselves in the greatness of the performance of another. It was more than music, more than just nifty dance moves. That night, I watched a man exhibit a mastery over everything that we love about music in such a way that i don’t think can ever be duplicated. For a brief moment in my life, time stood still, the feeling I got thinking about how I must have looked from above, just a body among tens of thousands, completely oblivious to anything happening inside my own life let alone the world is one that i will never forget.
I was profoundly moved, I was only a kid and yet my foundation had been rocked. I can’t say how much the event factored into my social development but it did raise questions. About music and dance naturally, but going deeper than that I became curious about passion, love, and Life in General. The concert was themed around a space shuttle launch and after every series of songs MJ would act out the next scene in the skit along with a movie on the monitor behind. We watched as he ran his pre-flight checks and then he would perform a few more songs, and then there was a countdown and the finale concluded with a huge pyrotechnic display and fireworks to symbolize the launch of the ship and the conclusion of the show. At the time i had no idea he was moving to Scotland so I thought he was retiring forever, and of course I cried like a baby, I had just assumed that all the other men were crying for the same reason. Looking back, I think it was so much more than that, i have been consumed by emotion on several different occasions, but never in the way that I was during the concert. It’s generally one at a time, your happy, angry, or sad, but to experience the entire range of emotions, all at once, and to lose all control over it, and on top of that, to watch tens of thousands of people caught up in the same rapture is just more than the body can handle.
Michael’s ability to pull you into the fabric of a show was truly unique, I am now an adult and I have been to several concerts of all kinds and none of them compare to the brilliance I witnessed that night. some artists can pull it off for a song or two, everyone has a hit record that we cant resist, but over the course of 2 hours I have never been drawn that deeply into a concert since Michael in Hawaii. That was one of the most exhilarating experiences for me….EVER, and I will never forget that.