Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour Outfits To Be Displayed At The Smithsonian’s New African American History Museum

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Even in an era where new pop music is as ubiquitous as coffee shops and music royalty like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Kanye West make headlines nearly every day, Michael Jackson still reigns king as the best-selling artist of all time.

According to the Recording Industry of America, last year Jackson’s Thriller was the first album to be certified platinum 30 times, and has sold 32 million copies to date. For comparison purposes, behind Thriller are the Eagles’ and Billy Joel’s greatest hits albums at 29 million and 23 million albums respectively.

In a gushing Rolling Stone review from 1983, Chris Connelly noted that Thriller’s producer, the acclaimed Quincy Jones, was “working with what might be pop music’s most spectacular instrument: Michael Jackson’s voice. Where lesser artists need a string section or a lusty blast from a synthesizer, Jackson need only sing to convey deep, heartfelt emotion.”

In 1988, following a show at Madison Square Garden, the New York Times asked, “Can anyone, then, dance like Michael Jackson? Only if you can rise up on your toes without toe shoes, stay there, and keep up what is basically a nonstop two-hour solo.”

But it wasn’t just the angelic voice and mind-boggling dance moves that solidified Jackson’s throne in pop royalty history, it was also his unapologetically fabulous style underscoring each toe stand, heel pivot and crotch grab.

In his autobiography Moonwalk, Jackson wrote, “my attitude is if fashion says it’s forbidden, I’m going to do it.” Now some of Jackson’s rebellious pieces—a black sequined silk jacket, an equally-sequined red, white and blue shirt, and his signature fedora—are part of the collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and will be on view in the museum’s inaugural exhibition “Musical Crossroads.” The show is chockablock with iconic treasures tracing musical traditions and genres from gospel to rock ‘n’ roll to hip-hop.

“I think of Michael Jackson as kind of a sophisticated yet glamorous and otherworldly persona when he put on these clothes,” says Dwandalyn Reece, a curator of music at the museum who organized the exhibition. “That’s the Michael Jackson of that period. Obviously he morphed into different images since the Thriller heyday. But his clothes were really about him projecting who he was and who he likes to see himself as.”

Jackson wore these sparkly costume pieces on stage in 1984 during the six-month Victory tour, a series of concerts he performed alongside his brothers. Though the tour, named after the Jacksons’ 1983 album, featured all six Jackson brothers, it was clear that the crowds were there for Michael— Thriller hit the top charts almost two years earlier.

Jackson’s domination of the music world at that time is evident in the media coverage from the era. In an end-of-year review of popular music in 1984, Robert Palmer, the late New York Times music critic wrote about the tour:

An exceptionally broad cross-section of pop music consumers—black families and their kids, white families and theirs, young professionals of all sorts—flocked to 1984’s longest-running pop roadshow, the Jacksons’ ”Victory” tour. After their last shows, which took place in Los Angeles December 7-9, the Jacksons announced total attendance figures of 2,331,500 and a gross of some $70 million. The real victor was Michael Jackson. He was the one the crowds came to see, and his lead vocals and lithe dancing dominated every show. The proof is in the albums sales figures; the public bought more than 2 million copies of the Jacksons’ ”Victory” album, but that was peanuts compared to the still-skyrocketing sales of Michael Jackson’s ”Thriller.”

His undeniable electric stage presence, which sent fans into screaming fits, was only amplified by his sharp and shining stage style. The sequined jacket is the design of Bill Whitten, the designer also responsible for Michael Jackson’s famous white glove. The two sparkly shirts and the fedora will be on display in the “Beyond Category” section of the exhibition, sharing the limelight with artifacts from Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Nina Simone and other groundbreaking artists.

Jackson was certainly beyond category. His exquisite voice, seamless dance moves, and eccentric fashion were unparalleled by other artists of the time and continue to influence artists today. At Super Bowl 50, today’s queen of pop Beyoncé recalled Michael Jackson’s image, sporting a military-style black and gold jacket similar to the one Jackson wore during his own Super Bowl performance in 1993.

Many other celebrities have stepped out in Jackson-inspired outfits, and Lady Gaga even purchased some of his most famous pieces at auction. And designers have looked to Jackson for style vision such as French brand Balmain did with its spring 2009 collection featuring what Vogue dubbed “Drummer-boy Michael Jackson jackets.”

“He’s not the only pioneer but he certainly paved the way for all the entrepreneurs and artists that we have today who are doing a variety of things not only in the studio but in the industry,” Reece says. “I think we have Michael to thank for a lot of that.”

Read more at Smithsonian Magazine.

 

Michael Jackson Memorabilia To Be Auctioned This Weekend

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Sometimes a hat is just a hat. Sometimes it is a black fedora worn by Michael Jackson at the dizzying height of his popularity. And it could very well fetch over $3,500 next weekend at John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury.

“He used this hat during the ‘Victory’ tour,” McInnis gallery director Dan Meader said. “It is a black wool fedora and it was made expressly for Michael Jackson.”

Worn by the King of Pop in 1984 and thrown into the audience where a fan’s uncle snagged it (and held onto it for 32 years), the hat is a custom-made 71/8-inch fedora by Maddest Hatter of Los Angeles and is accompanied by a signed letter describing how the uncle came into its possession after winning a radio contest.

“This is what he would use when he was on tour,” Meader said. “And we didn’t clean it or anything. You will find that there is a little bit of staining here and there.”

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The fedora will be among a number of Jackson-related memorabilia up for bid during a three-session Memorial Day weekend auction beginning Saturday. Also up for bid are a collection of five painted latex masks used in the production of the ground-breaking 1983 music video for “Thriller.”

“That was a huge thing and broke all of the records,” Meader said. “Everyone turned into zombies during one portion of that and we have five of the original masks for the different characters that were in the video. They are from the special effects department. They are deteriorating now, but they are there. With the names of the people in the cast and what they were for, the whole thing.”

One of the masks was worn by Jackson himself during his transformation into a werewolf. The collection will start bidding at $150 with the potential to surpass $500.

A simple pair of Jackson-related (non-sequined) white gloves used for a unique purpose could also go for up to $500 next weekend.

“He sent these out to invite people to the Thriller party at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Feb. 7, 1984,” Meader said.

The Jackson memorabilia and other unrelated items will be on display throughout the holiday weekend, which will kick off Saturday with a collection of vintage clocks, pocket watches and timepieces including French, English and American examples as well as a collection of model steam engines.

 

Read more here.

 

Sources: Portsmouth | All Things Michael

Kevin “Sipreano” Howes Recalls His First Time Seeing Michael Jackson On Stage

Sources: Straight | All Things Michael

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Canadian DJ, liner notes writer, curator, producer Kevin “Sipreano” Howes recalls going to his first concert ever as a kid and seeing the legendary Michael Jackson on stage.

As far as pop princes, kings, and or queens go, I don’t believe there’s ever been a bigger musical artist than Michael Jackson in the mid-1980s. MJ was truly a global superstar, bolstered by the power of music videos, Pepsi adverts, the moonwalk, and likely a multi-million dollar marketing campaign. November 16-18, 1984, saw Michael and his Jackson brothers perform a series of sold-out concerts at B.C. Place stadium. Unfortunately for me, the shows had sold-out weeks prior to the big event and my early indecision resulted in missing the boat. As the dates grew closer, I started to have pangs of regret and pleaded to my parents to get some scalper tickets. My mother Nicole, rest her soul, found a ticket tout in the weekend newspaper selling a pair of floor seats and off we went. Though I was only 10 at the time, I remember that the feeling inside the venue was truly electric, even more so than at a B.C. Lions football game, which I’d been to before. There was screaming fans, bright lights, explosions, and of course, the smooth R&B and funk-pop groove of the Jacksons’ backing band. Michael did a solo set of current hits from 1982’s Thriller and my young mind was blown. Since that fortunate night, I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, but it’s hard to forget the first. I’ll never forget my parents’ support of my interest in music, even when I was being a brat!

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Soul Man Alan Prater Remembers The Day He Was Hired For The Jacksons 1984 Victory Tour

Sources: Canada.com – By Richard Burnett | All Things Michael

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At the time, he was the trombonist for famed American R&B singer Millie Jackson (no relation to The Jacksons), whose promoter told Prater about The Jacksons auditioning horn sections.

“But my horn section (North Florida’s East Coast Horns) wasn’t famous like the Muscle Shoals Horns and all these guys,” Prater said in an interview this week. “The promoter got us an audition and we pretended to be the Memphis Horns!”

Days later Prater and his horn section flew to Los Angeles, where they were picked up at the airport by a driver holding up a sign that read “Memphis Horns.”

“That’s us!” Prater said. They soon found themselves in the Jackson home playing for family matriarch, Katherine Jackson.

“I didn’t tell the boys it was an audition, I originally told them it was a gig,” Prater said. “We all went into the kitchen and started playing for her. She called all of her sons and said, ‘They know all of your songs!’ We played for them, we danced, we were like the Jackson 5 with horns. And they fell in love with us. Later we told them we weren’t the Memphis Horns, and Michael told me, ‘I don’t care who you are, you’re the Jackson Horns now.’ ”

Michael Jackson later hired Prater to be in his solo touring band and, between tours, Prater spent time in Montreal visiting a friend. “I just fell in love with the city,” Prater said.

Prater was born into a family of gospel singers and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., where he learned to play trumpet and trombone before graduating from Florida A&M University in the late 1970s. Prater was a gifted musician, playing violin and drums before he became a one-man horn section. In 2008, his East Coast Horns was inducted into the North Florida Music Hall of Fame.

By the time Prater moved to Montreal for good in 1991, he’d spent the previous decade performing with a who’s who in R&B, including Cameo, Rick James and The O’Jays. He also toured across Canada (including headlining Montreal’s now-defunct R&B nightclub Checkers) with his former band Transit, whose members are now Al Green’s backup band. But Prater’s favourite performer remains Michael Jackson.

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Musical artist Alan Prater in his studio at his Montreal home Monday, February 9, 2015.When Jackson died in 2009, Prater was dumbfounded. “I tell you, Michael was one of the best and kindest human beings I ever met in my life. If you needed help, he was there for you, hands-on. It was a family thing. After each show, I’d sit in my hotel room and Michael would knock on the door every night and we’d talk. He was always curious about other people’s lives.”

In Montreal, Prater has been closely identified with two seminal local outfits, funk band The Aliens and his current R&B band JAMAD, which features renowned Montreal musicians Al Baculis (formerly of rock band Bootsauce) on bass, in-demand session drummer Max Sansalone, and Joel Campbell (Tina Turner’s piano player) on keys.

JAMAD packed Montreal’s Jello Bar and later Club Peopl for years during their weekly residencies there before headlining a big outdoor free show at the 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival.

“Residencies are important because people who love soul music seek them out. Touring musicians like Meshell Ndegeocello and Jeff Healey used to come by Jello just to see us play, and sometimes they’d join us onstage,” said Prater, whose band kick-starts its new residency at Rosalie’s bar on Feb. 26.

In fact, when funk legend Bootsy Collins headlined Metropolis at the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival, Prater was leaning against a bar enjoying a beer when Bootsy’s road manager approached him.

“Are you Alan Prater?” the road manager asked. “You’re a legend around here in Montreal. Would you like to introduce Mr. Collins to your people?”

So Prater introduced Bootsy and the band, and Collins later thanked Prater backstage.

But though Prater is a spokesperson for Montreal’s Black History Month this year (alongside singer-songwriter Valérie Daure), he doesn’t consider himself a role model, and downplays the accolades.

“You have to have a hustle mentality if you want to make it in the music business,” Prater said. “This was all I wanted to do. This was not a choice. I had a nine-to-five job once — I went on my break and never came back. Find something you love and do it. I found something that I love and that’s what I do.”

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JAMAD performs at Rosalie (1232 de la Montagne St.) every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. beginning on Feb. 26.  Admission: $10.

 

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Michael Jackson The King of Pop

Sources: The Examiner – By Vicki Davey | All Things Michael

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This article is to celebrate my four year anniversary as a writer for the Examiner.com. Because I started as an African American History writer, I believe this anniversary article should highlight one of the greatest people in African American history – my all-time favorite Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Why him? Well, because it has always felt like we grew up together. I watched him perform with his brothers– my eyes wide in awe as this little boy my own age was on the TV — dancing his little legs off to “ABC” and other songs he and his brothers made famous. Michael Jackson and his brothers became so famous that they were on the covers of magazines,had their own cartoon series, met with and performed for presidents and queens, and toured the world many times. Michael Jackson developed his own genre of dance to accompany his amazing music and had the whole world dancing with him. He was famous beyond imagination, and his fans waited hours just to get a glimpse of him as he appeared for his concerts around the world.

From the age of five, until he died in his early 50s, this icon of pop was beloved by his true followers. If you put yourself in Michael Jackson’s shoes, you might see the other side of the story of his famous life of glam and glitter. He was a little boy who could never simply go outside and play like the rest of us kids. Playing tag, hide & seek, or dodge ball in someone’s backyard, handball against a neighbor’s garage door, basketball in the driveway on the corner, or a friendly game of kick-ball in the neighborhood cul-de-sac – it was impossible for this young boy to enjoy any of the simple things most of us enjoyed in that era of history. The Jacksons’ father is known to have been very strict with the family, and it is said that they were always working either on dance routines, in music rehearsals, or traveling to their next gig. I’m sure they found moments of fun, but it has been reported that it was basically all work and no play for this family.

When he was a little older, this now very famous young man built his own fantasy land where he could play whenever he wanted to – and he called it Neverland Ranch. At his ranch, Michael Jackson had exotic pets and a fairy tale playground with amusement park rides that was probably the next best thing to Disneyland! He brought underprivileged children to his Ranch so they could enjoy the beauty, the exotic animals, and enjoy the rides and fun he had created. Of course other children wanted to come over and play — and when they did, the rumors began. People began accusing Michael Jackson of things I prayed he never did. Through reports from close friends like Brooke Shields, Michael Jackson was just a big innocent kid with a Peter Pan complex who wanted to live out his dream of being a “real boy” with friends. I believe those people who accused him of such atrocities were exploiting his kind nature and were opportunists who only saw dollar signs when they were welcomed into his fold. The media tried their best to blitz Michael Jackson, and he was merely a target for a media that has tainted or ruined numerous celebrity lives with their vicious gossip and nasty headlines. For me, I choose to remember that boy on the stage singing and dancing his heart out.

He was once quoted to say: “Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars? Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, “I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,” people would say, “Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.”

Michael Jackson was not only known for his music, having earned numerous awards that created music history, but Jackson was also known for his work as an actor and a published author of books. Michael Jackson has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts with organizations such as “Heal the World Foundation” which he founded in 1992, and for his efforts around the world with the HIV/AIDs virus.

I grew up dancing to Michael Jackson’s music, singing along with him in the car, using his music in my own fitness classes to inspire others to get up and exercise, and to lull me to sleep at night. I was fortunate to go with some friends to Dodger Stadium for the family’s Victory Tour back in 1984 (their last tour together), and was in my glory as I sat down front on the grass with my friends, Jan and Francisco. There were a lot of famous people there honoring the King of Pop and his brothers as they danced and sang the night away. The Jacksons were all good, but as always, Michael had something special that just made him stand out from all the rest. He was, after all, dubbed the King of Pop, and he certainly lived up to the name.

Michael Jackson was inspirational. He was a good son, brother, father, and friend; and he was taken from us much too soon. I remember thinking when I heard the announcement of his death on TV, that it had to be a hoax on Saturday Night Live, because surely he could not be taken from us so soon. But, as we all well know, it was sadly true. Rest In Peace, Michael Jackson, and thank you for the wonderful memories.

 

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Michael Jackson Owned Soccer Jerseys Up For Auction

Source: Nate D. Saunders | All Things Michael

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Two soccer jerseys owned by Michael Jackson, gifted to him by the New Westminster, British Columbia police department during a ceremony where he was appointed an honorary member of the police department.

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Jackson was in the area performing with his four brothers for their “Victory” tour, performing three concerts in November 1984. The tour was a financial success but sadly was the last tour the four brothers would ever take part in, as relations between Jackson and his brothers deteriorated by the end of the tour. The two jerseys remained in Jackson’s collection until they were auctioned off in October 2007 by Guernsey’s, along with other items from Jackson’s estate. First item is a long-sleeved royal blue Alpha brand soccer jersey, with a logo containing the shield of the New Westminster police department set within a white soccer ball with “New Westminster Police / Summer Soccer School”. Size medium. Second jersey is a light blue and white short-sleeved Umbro brand jersey with a smaller version of the New Westminster police department summer soccer league logo. Size small. Short-sleeved jersey has a slight stain to the Umbro logo on the upper right chest. Overall near fine.

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David Crumpler’s Review Of The Jacksons Victory Tour Show At The Gator Bowl – Final Part

Sources: Jacksonville.com | Edited By – All Things Michael

This is a review of the Jacksons’ Victory Tour show at the Gator Bowl that ran in the Times-Union.

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Michael Jackson live and in person. Is it possible for this performer to live up to the hype he’s been given in the past year?

The answer is a larger-than-life “Yes,” and the crowd at the Gator Bowl last night for the final of three Jacksons concerts was awed by every move he made.

No matter that Jackson has been the subject of newspaper, magazine and music trade-industry stories since we can remember, nor that his videos have dominated Music Television, nor that his songs dominate the airwaves. And let’s not even talk about his commercials and clothes.

The crowd greeted him as if he had just popped into its consciousness, and whether it was the old Jackson Five songs, such as “I Want You Back,” or the recent songs from his album “Thriller,” this 25-year-old performer could do no wrong.

It’s billed as the Jacksons’ Victory Tour, and the show featured brothers Jermaine, Marlon, Randy and Tito. Still, it was Michael’s night, and the show does very little to encourage interest in the new “Victory” album. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like without him, even though the others, especially Jermaine in his two solo numbers, showed they are exciting, capable performers.

The audience itself was electric with anticipation at the show’s opening. They seemed so worked up at the prospect of seeing Michael on stage that they didn’t appear to mind the stupid Kreeton scenario that opens the concert.

Other reviews have tried and failed to make much sense of this, and understandably so. I still don’t know what the opening is supposed to mean, or why it’s included.

These rock ‘n’ roll blobs, which are probably what Muppets would look like on the Day After, come prancing on stage, and this voice comes booming over the sound system telling us that whoever can pull a sword from a stone is the one who can conquer the Kreetons.

So a few people try, but it takes Randy Jackson before we find a victor. With every lighting trick and poof of smoke, the crowd obviously expected Michael to appear, but they had to wait until the Kreetons get zapped before he began his first number, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Michael’s domination of the concert showed why he’s the brother the crowd really came to see. He’s a performer with a real sense of showmanship. Though most every move and spin could be anticipated (unless you’ve never seen one of his music videos, nor the army of imitators), spectators seemed all the more thrilled that they were seeing all this in person.

As a performer, Michael certainly has to be one of the most dynamic in recent history. Even with slower songs, such as “She’s Out of My Life,” he gives the impression that his body can’t quite hold all the energy inside him. By the time he gets around to “Billie Jean” near the concert’s end, he seemingly has every adult, teenager and child in the palm of his hand.

The set, lighting and laser show are overwhelming, and some might say suffer from overproduction. It’s part Broadway, part science fiction and part Disney World, designed to dazzle. And it does — even in a structure as large as the Gator Bowl.

The large video screen atop the set allowed the audience to see the magic moves of Michael Jackson and his brothers close up — you could, at times, almost count the beads of sweat on foreheads — and the camera allowed for a few very intimate shots of the lean, boyish-girlish Michael that sent the crowd into hysterical approval.

Was it worth the $30 price of admission? All things are relative. Let’s leave it at that. The Jacksons worked hard for your money.

 

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Phil Kloer’s Review Of The Jacksons Victory Tour Show At The Gator Bowl – Part 3

Sources: Jacksonville.com | All Things Michael

This is the review of one of the Jacksons’ Victory Tour shows that ran in the Jacksonville Journal:

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You could call him the Prince of Prance.

You could call him the Earl of Twirl.

Or you could simple echo what Terbonda Coleman, 11, said last night, her face split with a smile: “I just feel like kissin’ him.”

By any description, he’s Michael Jackson, and he and his brother put on a little shindig last night in the Gator Bowl for a sellout crowd of 45,334 frenzied fans.

If any of the many skeptics who have been wondering over the last few weeks what all the fuss is about could have seen the show last night, they would have been enlightened.

They would have seen Michael and four of his brothers put on a show that was breathlessly exciting — choreographed with the precision of a Broadway musical, but with plenty of opportunities for Michael to bring the adoring audinece almost to tears with spontaneous spins and yelps of excitement.

Despite two solo numbers for brother Jermaine, and some slick moves from brothers Marlon, Tito and Randy, it was Michael’s show, as it has been throughout the tour. He strutted on “Billie Jean,” threatened to punch through the muggy night air on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and gave the ballad “She’s Out of My Life” his best ham-on-writhes performance.

On the Jacksons’ Victory Tour, everything is larger than life. The brothers don’t just make an entrance, they rise up from below the stage, then walk down some steps while sound effects create massive booms synchronized to each footfall.

They don’t just go in for the traditioanl concert trapping such as fake fog and colored lights. They incorporate an entire magic trick — Michael is levitated into the air by brother Randy, then disappears — and cap off each evening with fireworks. If none of that is big enough, there’s the video screen atop the stage that amplifies the visual presence the way the sound system amplifies the sound.

The importance of that screen was underscored last night when it did not appear until the second song and did not show the stage until the third. When the huge image of Michael’s face finally appeared atop the stage, the roar from the crowd was almost as great as when the Jacksons appeared in person at the beginning.

Sometimes the trimmings seem to get in the way of the music. The main problem — really, the only problem — with the show is that there is no coherence or unity to the non-musical gimmickry.

As it has in earlier shows, and as it will in the next 12 cities after Jacksonville, the show opened last night wih the appearance of the Kreetons, huge monsters that look like camels designed by the Muppets creators.

A narrator explained that whoever can pull a sword from a stone will be the one to conquer the Kreetons. Several people tried, then along came Randy (sorry, fans, it really was Randy, not Michael), who pulled out the sword and chased the Kreetons offstage.

That’s fine, if a bit hokey, except that we never heard about the Kreetons or the sword or the stone again. Instead, about an hour into the evening, the concert stops again so Michael could be attacked by some giant spiderlike mechanical thingies that descended from the scaffolding above the stage. One of them apparently killed Michael (it’s pretty hard to figure), and then Randy, wearing a large silver mask and a cape, levitated Michael and made him disappear.

Are the mechanical spiders cousins to the Kreetons? Is Randy playing the same character in both vignettes? Is all this being staged for any reason other than to give the musicians a little rest? There were no answers last night, nor have there been in previous shows.

Of course, when Michael immediately reappeared, any thirst for answers quickly vanished. There he was, atop the grand piano, while the pounding opening notes of “Beat It” echoed thorugh the Gator Bowl and the crowd went berserk. It was probably the most galvanizing moment of the concert.

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