Here's my semi-guilty secret: I am a Michael Jackson fan.
No, not the Michael Jackson of weirdness and beyond, but the Michael Jackson of the amazing talent and showmanship. This was an entertainer that originally dazzled my then-teenage-soul with his dancing, his energy anmd his music. I knew every word of every song on that Thriller album. I was a part of the screaming throng on the Bad Concert Tour. I discovered Motown because I wanted to see and hear what Michael did as a part of the Jackson 5. To this day, my toes tap and my knees bounce when one of those songs comes on the radio.
It was for this reason that I played hooky from my grown-up life last Thursday night. Along with one other MJ fan-friend, I found myself at the movies....at 8:00 on a Thursday night! (Moms are, right now, understanding the sheer act of congress it was to arrange that!) We sat in the theater like school girls, eating our popcorn and giggling about our 1980's dance moves and infatuation with all things-Michael. We were there to see Michael Jackson's This Is It, a compilation of rehearsal footage for the July 2009 London shows that were never to be.
For two hours, we were transported back to the Jackson glory days. Here was the amazing performer, not the mysterious outcast. Talent was on display, not questionable personal choices. The dancers, singers and instrumentalists working with Michael wondered, to the camera, over and over again about the enormity of his skill. They gushed about the treasure of his musical memory and his incredible stamina. (My friend and I commented, more than once, about the 50-year-old Michael obviously outlasting the back-up dancers that were at best, half his age.)
We left this movie with happy hearts. Not at the passing of such a superstar, but at the last footage of the performer. This was the way to remember him. Days before he died, he was hitting the high notes as well as ever. He was happy and laughing with his fellow performers. The live shows would have left the crowds speechless.
And, for the evening, the teenagers inside the moms came out. I've been dancing to my Thiller CD with the kids, all week!