Most of you know that I love me some Michael Jackson, so when the opportunity arose a few years back to dress up for Halloween, I decided to do my best to create a mirror image of the pop star.
The event was Cher’s “final” concert of the Living Proof Tour. After performing for around two years, she announced that she was going to wrap things up in Toronto with a Halloween extravaganza. She invited her fans to dress up for the occasion, promising a party-like atmosphere. I knew this was my chance to go all out, so I started working on my costume weeks in advance.
I already had the black fedora and had been growing my hair to the point that it nearly reached my shoulders. After finding and purchasing a satin “Thriller”-inspired jacket, I created and handstitched a silk surgical mask and beaded glove. I completed my look with black pants, white socks, black loafers, and a shiny metal belt.
Size wasn’t much of a problem, since I was a few pounds lighter back then. I was also almost the exact same height as MJ, so the illusion seemed to have worked out pretty well all around.
The evening started with a search for lipstick, since I decided that the color I had brought on the trip with me just wasn’t going to cut it. I walked around downtown Toronto until I found a drugstore, where I went in and picked out just the perfect shade of red, feeling very “Michael” the whole time. I figured this was just like something he might have done, even if I didn’t have legions of bodyguards, press, and fans in tow.
The real fun started at the concert’s venue. Everyone was in great spirits and many were in costume. People almost immediately began approaching me with their mouths agape, saying things like, “Oh, my God!” and asking to pose for pictures. One security guard asked me to pull up my pant leg so he could make sure I had on the trademark white socks.
I had a great seat on the floor near the front of the stage and thoroughly enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame as I strolled through the arena and saw the hundreds of people pointing and staring in my direction. I did my best to imitate Michael’s walk, hoping to fool the crowd into believing that Mr. Jackson had actually come to see Cher’s final performance.
Cher arrived on the scene in an unbelievable witch costume that had been designed by Bob Mackie, and the next two hours went by in a flash of dancing, music, lights, and screaming.
The whole night was so wonderful and enjoyable, save for one incident when a drunken young man started yelling at me about being a pedophile and liking “little boys.” It only gave me more sympathy for the musician, knowing that there must surely be a person like that in every crowd – one bold enough to say what so many are thinking.
I walked several blocks from the venue back to my hotel, basking in the adoration of those along the way. People would drive by and hang out their car windows screaming “Michael” and I felt like a true pop star, even if a little melancholy knowing that the fantasy would end when the costume came off.
Just a few weeks after returning home from the concert, I learned that Cher had added a couple of more dates in Vegas. Then she added another whole leg of the tour, finally ending it in May of 2005, almost two years after her “final” performance in Toronto.
I had no regrets, though. It was a night I will always remember.