I will undoubtedly date myself with this, but it is something that must be shared in memory of a compassionate man leaving a legacy for all.
A summer night in the early 1970's was filled with anticipation as an anxious relative dropped off two young teens at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA
"Ah...., as soon as this thing is over I'll be parked in front of the Greek to pick you up, come right out!"
My best friend and I sighed..."of course"....I remember mumbling, "Where would we go?" as my friend gave me a poke in my ribs.
We got out the car and headed for the entrance to our seats of the outdoor venue.
I believe that was my first time at The Greek Theatre affectionately known as simply "The Greek".
We were there to see The Jackson 5 who were one of hottest R&B/POP groups in the early 1970's. We had already seen countless Television shows on which they had been guests.
Here's the complete ensemble line up for that night.
Jackie Jackson - Vocals and Choreography
Tito Jackson - Guitar, Vocals, and Choreography
Jermaine Jackson - Guitar, Vocals, and Choreography
Marlon Jackson - Vocals and Choreography
Michael Jackson - Vocals and Choreography
Everyone was focused on Michael. A young, handsome, extraordinary performer who could deliver a song and his dance style was as no other of his generation in my opinion.
Now, James Brown did his thing and infused a pride in our hearts and community. He had remarkable and ingenious dance moves, socially conscious lyrics in his music as well as a blend, beat, rhythm, and groove unmatchable.
Jackie Wilson had caused girls to swoon a decade or two before with his voice, dance moves, and his complete persona according to an older cousin of mine.
Michael Jackson was in a unique guild.
On that night in 1971, he was enchanting and magnetic as he glided across the stage in rhythm movements that were flawless. His focused mannerisms and playful demeanor along with that perfect Afro hair-style was winning.
He delighted the audience with all the favorites - "I want you back", "The Love you save", " A-B-C", "I'll Be There", "Who's loving you", "Mama's Pearl" and others.
We clapped and danced in the parameter where we were seated, listening intently to each song, at times singing along with the wonderfully handsome and talented young men on stage.
This is a side note but I think we had Afros back then as well, with bell bottom polyester pants. This may stir up a few L.O.L's from the readers of this article.
One of my most vivid memories is that he was so young, vibrant and beneath the teeny-bopper screams and roars seemed a kindred soul to those who were pre-teen, teen and slightly beyond.
His bright eyes yearned for more than the applause of an audience. From a young age I believe Michael Jackson wanted the love, acceptance, confidence that people embraced him with as a human being and as a great artist. The latter would unfold over the following decades in an immense succession.
I would see Michael perform with his brothers perform once more before he went on to have a stunning solo career that was always intertwined with love, commitment, and giving to others in his community and well beyond.
He never presented a pretentious performance but was true to his innovative talent that continued to develop and give us wonderful music.
One of greatest treasures an artist can give to fans is his creativity and complete abandonment to his gift. Michael did this over and over again until the day of his death.
His dedication and empathy for others remains seared in my memory.
Michael Jackson will be missed by many generations of humanity that he touched in so many ways.
I would like to express my deepest condolences to his family and children.
Michael's amazing spirit will stay with us forever.