Thriller Pop King Michael Jackson Tribute

08/07/2009

Fortunately back in January this year we at Pukka PR were invited by Adrian Grant Executive Director of ‘Thriller Live' to see the show which turned out to be excellent and the best musical I'd seen for years. The experience was so exciting and entertaining the next best thing to seeing the real McCoy, Michael Jackson or the Jackson Five perform on stage.

London was gripped with Michael Jackson fever as he was expected to arrive here to perform in a mammoth line-up of 50 concerts but sadly that was not his destiny.

Never did I or anyone else imagine that months later after having seen ‘Thriller Live' we would witness the shocking news of Michael Jackson's sudden passing which caused millions of his fans across the globe to grieve sharing their thoughts and feelings in public with 24-hour media coverage.  Watching newsflashes from L.A and London, many newsreaders made comparisons to the times when Elvis Presley and Princess Diana passed away, again with much media speculation concerning the circumstances of their death and having also gone well before their time.  A very poignant moment in music history, the loss of a legend, genius and icon - these were the words and phrases being frequently used to describe the boy from Indiana who worked seriously hard and sacrificed his childhood to fulfill his dreams of becoming a first class entertainer.  I hope he's not the last of his kind but few will be able to match his music artistry, superb performances, level of fame, success and popularity as artistes of this calibre are a real rarity.

Like millions of others I grew up dancing to MJ's music, he'll remain my favourite male music icon and so far he's the only solo artiste whose thrilling music videos or recorded concerts I can watch repeatedly without tiring and will never forget the time I saw him perform live at Wembley Stadium during his Dangerous Tour.  He was like a magician on the dance floor, each and every hit of his was unique and watching him perform is so elevating.  Even before he passed away I enjoyed listening to his old albums Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.  Michael Jackson's passion and energy was electrifying and he lived up to his superstar status.

After years of negative press, Michael Jackson was finally laid to rest all too soon in showbiz town L.A, we expected to see MJ moonwalking for many more years to come even if supported by a walking stick!  The King of Pop was celebrated and honoured by a tribute ceremony he rightly deserved held at The Staples Centre with an opportunity for the public to attend by winning tickets via Internet ballot which was not restricted to people only in U.S but fans all over were also invited to apply.

Over a billion people internationally tuned in to watch the live broadcast of the historic event at Staples Centre.  A Gospel choir opened the tribute ceremony with an uplifting song ''we're going to see the King'' and Michael's brothers Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, Jackie and Randy were the first to appear accompanying Michael Jackson's gold plated casket on to the platform in front of the stage. Each brother wore a white shiny glove in memory of Michael's trademark.
Mariah Carey first artiste to perform was overcome with emotion and struggled to sing duet 'I'll Be There' with Trey Lorenz.  Michael's friend Mowtown legend Stevie Wonder expressed "this is a moment I wished I didn't live to see" who soulfully sang 'Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer.'  RnB singer Usher was the bravest to step down and touch MJ's casket whilst singing 'Gone Too Soon' and couldn't help breaking down.

Many high profile celebs spoke glowingly of Michael Jackson. Queen Latifah recited a meaningful poem written by Poet Maya Angelou.  LA Lakers Basketball player Magic Johnson recalled an amusing story of the time he met Jackson and they ate KFC chicken in a bucket together.  Founder of Mowtown Barry Gordi remembered the fist time he met MJ as a 10 year old boy and was overwhelmed by Jackson's maturity and exceptional talent, Gordi honoured him as ''the greatest entertainer that ever lived.'' Actress Brooke Shields tearfully spoke in a heartfelt manner fondly describing Michael as ''pure, honest, non-jaded and a lover of life.'' Civil Rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton spoke like a true preacher and didn't hold back in making strong statements to the masses watching.  Jermaine Jackson lovingly sang 'Smile' and the 12 year old Welsh boy Shaheen Jafargholi who recently shot to fame in Britain's Got Talent programme singing 'Who's Loving You' belted out his rendition of the same song as good as Michael Jackson's version sung as a child.  Shaheen's confidence was admirable and he gave one of the strongest performances of the night.  Other guest speakers and artistes included Smokey Robinson, Martin Luther King III & Dr Bernice King, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Entertainment Producer Michael Ortega, Jenifer Hudson and John Mayer played a guitar instrumental version of 'Human Nature'.

All the guest artistes and Jackson's family gathered on stage to sing ‘Heal The World' which was followed by family members speaking on stage.  His brother Marlon asked Michael to give their twin brother Brandon a hug and said "maybe now Michael they will leave you alone."  Lastly Michael's daughter Paris took the microphone and whilst being consoled by her uncles and aunts she said ''ever since I was born daddy has been the best father I could imagine, I just want to say I love him so much." This was the first time any of Michael's children had spoken publically.

This televised tribute event was very different and unique seeing the star Michael Jackson's casket present at the tribute show but I'm glad the Jackson family allowed this to happen for the world to share and watch it live as it was a moving tribute and shall always be vividly remembered.

Farewell Michael Jackson, love him always.

By Gina Chrysanthou © 

Below: Photos of Michael Jackson Tribute Ceremony at The Staples Centre Los Angeles, 7 July 2009

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Also below: Michael Jackson Memorial created by fans outside Thriller Live show at Lyric Theatre Shaftsbury Avenue London.  Photos by Gina Chrysanthou

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