Now This Log

Monday, 10 September 2001 : "Michael, Michael, Michael"

I confess to some curiosity about the comeback attempt of Michael Jackson. How does somebody who's been out of the public eye for so long (and in it in an unwelcome way) attempt to get back into the business of selling millions upon millions of records? How would you, if you were him?

This review of his anniversary/comeback concert is detailed and evocative; I salute the poor guy who had to sit through the whole thing to write it. As is often the case, a harsh review is more fun to read than a positive review...
  • Let There Be Michael by David Segal [Washington Post]
    ...the evening felt more like a meandering dress rehearsal than a finished product, more like a rough draft than an extravaganza that could justify the $2,500 fetched for top tickets. There are consumer hot lines for lesser fleecings.

    ...the Jacksons didn't take the stage until 10:45, more than three hours after the scheduled start of the show...

    Jackson's strategy for the night was fittingly strange. ... he surrounded himself with as many famous people as possible, as if to say, "If I'm so bad, how come these people love me?" ... A saner man would have low-balled expectations, kept ticket prices low and ditched the innocence-by-association concept altogether. For one thing, that might have assured a sellout -- there turned out to be plenty of unfilled seats and a bustling buyer's market outside the venue.

    ...much of the night felt more targeted to a television audience than the in-house crowd, perhaps because it was filmed for a CBS special to be broadcast in November. That might explain all the downtime, though how anyone could charge a few grand for a seat and then pepper a show with TV timeouts is beyond imagination.

    There was a superb 90-minute concert buried somewhere in this heap, under all the aggrandizing testimonials and semi-pointless musical excursions. If Jackson really wants to reconnect with fans, he ought to stick with what won them over in the first place: his singing and spectacularly fleet dancing.

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Steve Bogart

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