I saw Michael Jackson in concert. Incredible.
It was the mid-90s, you still had to line-up to
buy concert tickets on the day they went on sale.
That seems weird enough now – right?
I woke up at 5am and got in the queue – it was already
way down the street. When the first person got their
tickets – the booth opening at 9am – they drove off
cranking Billie Jean in their car stereo, window down.
About 300 people cheered. A little concert preview.
Many months later I got from Wellington to Hawke’s Bay
and then on from there with a mate. We bonded big time
on that trip. So much so I even agreed to spend a night
in Hamilton – something I probably won’t do again.
Big weekend, when we finally made it – surprise visit
to my brother, slept on his floor. Gave him my spare
to the gig. We saw Lana Coc-Kroft lining up just like
the regular humans. We were careful not to stare.
Michael did a Jackson 5 medley. Michael did a moonwalk.
Michael played the hits. All of them. And a tank drove out
on stage. And a child handed a soldier a flower. And he put
his gun down. It was silly and dramatic and amazing – we’d
never seen anything on that scale. It was incredible.
We probably drank wine there – and after. And talked about it
for days – the concert that is, not the wine. We drove back,
hungover, and with all sorts of memories. And the music
from our childhood clinging tight within our mind. Moonwalking
around our brain.
It wasn’t so long after that the rumours really started to circle.
They’d circled before – been paid off and cancelled. But then
they came back. And he was cancelled. At least for a bit.
Returned a few years later with his worst album – and couldn’t buy
positive press. Dangled his own kid, did far worse to others – allegedly.
Died under a cloud. And books and documentaries continue to
arrive with the real story. Allegedly.
I saw a great concert. By one of the world’s most important
And he’s guilty of something – if not everything. And I can still
enjoy my memories of the concert – and that doesn’t make me
any sort of apologist, nor a bad person. But I’d still be alive if
I hadn’t seen that show. And I’d still think the same of Michael
Jackson now – which isn’t much but doesn’t mean I didn’t care
deeply at one point in my life.
The trauma runs deep – for so many. And that guy moonwalked
out of here under a cloud, a doctor administering too much of a good
thing long after Michael did far too many bad things.
But man – what a gig. Weird to say it? So be it.