Agony inside the dying head

When I look at these photos of Michael, I am convinced he was mentally and physically unable to perform the 50 concerts AEG had scheduled for him in London. He looks so exhausted and emotionally wounded. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, this poor man was in an incredible amount of pain. I can’t help but remember the words to one of his songs… I am the damned, I am the dead, I am the agony inside the dying head.

Bless you, Michael. I hope you are resting in eternal peace.

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Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’

Last Wednesday evening, I donned a wig, fedora, red satin jacket, black surgical mask, and a sequined glove to go watch Michael Jackson’s This Is It – a documentary chronicling the King of Pop’s last days. Before leaving, I jokingly referred to the four people accompanying me as my “entourage.” It turned out to be not far from the truth when they almost had to drag me to the car a few hours later.

As soon as we arrived at the theater, two women spotted me and freaked out. As other fans arrived, several began to ask if they could either photograph me or have their picture taken with me. Some brought their children to greet me, whispering in my ear that they wouldn’t know the difference. This scene continued up until we were able to go into the theater and grab some seats on the top row.

I had been looking forward to seeing this film for weeks, and it exceeded all my expectations. I saw Michael Jackson as I had never seen him before – a man in charge of the smallest detail, but a human being who was full of love and graciousness towards others and filled with concern for our planet. I have no doubt that the concerts he was rehearsing for would have been some of the best that the world had ever seen. It’s a shame that this is the closest we will ever get to seeing the final product, but also a blessing that his death has exposed so many more people to his message.

I had been expecting to have a strong emotional response to the film, but found myself only tearing up a few times – once when Michael referenced his brothers and parents, and again when he sang a few lines of “Speechless.” MJ was thin, but amazingly energetic and his voice was flawless. It was much easier to be enthralled than emotional.

As the film ended and we made our way toward the exit, people once again started coming up and asking me for photos. I met one very nice lady who insisted her kids stand beside me for a picture. She adjusted my hair, stood beside me for a snapshot, and then gave me a hug as other fans gathered around with cell phones and cameras pointed in our direction. She began talking about what a wonderful person Michael was and her eyes welled up with tears. As she walked away, I heard her daughter ask, “Mom, are you sure that’s not Michael Jackson?”

After posing outside the building with a few more beaming MJ fans, my partner insisted that I go to the car. I was getting quite a head rush from my five minutes of fame and also felt inspired that so many people in my area are fans of Michael Jackson.

There is an instant kinship among Michael’s fans. We understand what it means to love someone that the world considered to be outside the concept of normal. We know what it’s like to be ridiculed for having that appreciation, and to constantly have to defend someone whom most of us never even had the privilege of meeting in person. As crazy as it might have seemed to some, I felt honored that these people allowed me to be their substitute for the evening; a way in which they could continue to physically cling to the thing they miss the most.

Michael Jackson’s final concert rehearsal photos

Two days before he died, Michael did a run through of several songs that he would be performing on the 50-date London tour that was to begin the following month. Here are a few photos from that night.

I find it a little disturbing that Michael named the tour “This Is It!” and also described the concerts as a “final curtain call” during an earlier press conference.

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Michael Jackson announces London concerts

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Why does anything to do with this man make me act and feel like a giddy teenage girl?

Michael Jackson has announced a set of shows at London’s O2 Arena in July, calling the mini-tour “This Is It!” Apparently this will be the last time the King of Pop performs in London, although we’ve heard these retirement announcements from other artists before only to see them return to the stage months later.

When I heard the rumors about this announcement several days ago, I refused to get excited, telling myself that he’s too old and too controversial to draw in the crowds that he once did. I also think this is a terrible time economically-speaking to launch a comeback. But, alas, as the story took the top spot on CNN’s website and I watched Jackson take the podium, my heart began to flutter and my brain began to fantasize about making a trip to the UK. Too bad I hate flying so much.

I’ve seen my idol once during the eighteen years that I’ve been a fan, which was at one of the 2001 concerts in New York that celebrated his career. Michael performed with a reunited “Jacksons” and also alone. I am beyond thankful for that opportunity, but part of me would love to see Michael shine one last time.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his influence on the world of music, dance, and entertainment.