So there you have it. Either you could say I was deceived by a huge marketing exercise (probably). Or that I’ve managed to get a piece of pop history (possibly). Either way, I’ve snapped up a load of tickets to see Michael Jackson at the O2 this September, in what is billed to be his final set of concerts ever. That is, until he announces more dates in other countries and plays the same trick all over again.
I’ve already been criticised by a couple of naysayers at buying a set of tickets to see an aged pop star with a distinctly bizarre past, at around 80 quid a pop. It’s a dilemma faced by anyone who’s thought of buying tickets who doesn’t belong to Jackson’s ridiculously faithful core fan base. Lurking in the back of our minds is the thought that essentially, we’re paying a lot of money to see a man who’s last brief live appearance was pitiful, and who appears more frail by the day. It’s a testament perhaps to the legacy of performance that he’s left behind him that he can sell out 50 dates at a 20,000 seat stadium in a matter of days. Despite all the accusations levelled against him, the tabloid tales of bizarre rituals and oxygen chambers, Jackson still commands the sort of loyal fan base that many big-stage artists dream of.
When people say he’s overrated, I simply cannot comprehend what they mean. Yes, it seems he is almost universally loved. But why? Because he’s made what is arguably the best album of all time in Thriller. He has an incredible dance style, meaning that moves like the Moonwalk have etched themselves into popular culture, a public consciousness if you will. Finally, I feel he’s the essence of a true performer. It’s not everyone who leaves their gigs by strapping themselves into a rocket and blasting off on a jet pack. I don’t want to sit here and analyse Jackson’s personality, because to do so would detract from the point I’m trying to make. He is (and there’s no other way of putting it) fucked up, but isn’t the fact that he’s had a storm of controversies marr his private life for years on end, and yet still remain popular a testament to his staying power as a legend of popular music.
So, if you’ve got a ticket to see Wacko Jacko, lucky lucky you. It’s almost irrelevant if he turns out to be awful. How many other people of my generation can turn around and say they’ve seen him in concert? Not many, I’d wager. That alone is worth the ticket price, and until you can dance like him, shut up and stop criticising.
Jackson: Post rhinoplasty, pre “vitiligo”