Quantcast
"Sick children. That's what this evening is all about. I saw kids in the last stages of starvation, and it was something you didn't want to see."
——corpulent Oscar-winner Marlon Brando
KING OF POP FETED BY
CAST OF THOUSANDS
What Says "MJ Rules" More Than Brando on a Couch Talking About Sick Children?
Although it was billed as the first Michael Jackson concert since 1989, Jacko’s Friday night (9/7) performance at Madison Square Garden in New York was only partly live performance by the man who calls himself the King of Pop.

Chock full of more celebrities than Heidi Fleiss’ black book, the three-hour-plus show—the second date of which is tonight in New York—was mostly a celebration of the Jackson, the artist, a chance for stars from music, the stage and film to give shoutouts to the Gloved One.

Perhaps the evening was best summed up by Rodney Jerkins, who produced much of Jackson's upcoming album, Invincible. "Michael doesn't do nothing small," Jerkins said.

In fact, when it came to Jackson performing, he only busted out one new track—"You Rock My World"—leaving his greatest hits up to interpretation by the 700 artists invited onstage.

While Usher, Maya and Whitney Houston performed "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’" onstage, Jackson sat like royalty in his seat, next to silver screen legend Elizabeth Taylor and equally famous and important former child star Macaulay Culkin.

But it wasn’t all music.

During the long breaks between numbers, video montages reminded fans once again of the sales records Jackson shattered in the 1980s with his 1982 album Thriller. Movie personalities Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Tucker and Taylor came on stage to read tributes from the teleprompter. In the words of the New York Times, there were enough statistics, celebrity testimonials and adulatory narration for a dozen infomercials.

On the bizarre side, corpulent Oscar-winner Marlon Brando was schlepped out onto the stage on a sofa, where he rambled on about child abuse, starvation and disease—before slaughtering a cow and murmuring "the horror…the horror."

"Sick children. That's what this evening is all about," Brando said at one point. "I saw kids in the last stages of starvation, and it was something you didn't want to see."

So circuitous was his speech that many in the audience began to get restless and to boo. Brando’s announcement that Jackson was donating money to build a children's hospital in Florida got the crowd back on his side.

Tiny country star Billy Gilman got to test his pipes on Jackson’s old chestnut "Ben." Monica, Deborah Cox, Al Jarreau and Jill Scott had thankless roles in a medley from The Wiz, Jackson’s only movie role.

Liza Minnelli sang Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" backed by a gospel choir, segueing curiously into her mother’s signature song "Over The Rainbow."

Marc Anthony performed "She's Out of My Life." Destiny's Child donned fedora hats and white gloves for "Bootylicious."

Other stars who had their spotlights dimmed out of reverence to the Gloved One included Ray Charles, jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, James Ingram, Gloria Estefan, Rah Digga, Shaggy, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick and Yoko Ono.

Finally, Jackson himself took the stage, joining his brothers—the first time since the group’s 1984 Victory tour—to play such hits as "I’ll Be There." Returning a favor Jacko paid them during MTV’s Video Music Awards, NSYNC joined Jackson and his brothers for "Dancing Machine."

Then it was Jackson’s time to go solo, perform "Billy Jean," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Beat It" and "Black and White." Britney Spears joined Jackson onstage for "The Way You Make Me Feel," and earned the following comment from the Times: "[Spears strutted] across the stage with all the torrid allure of a windup toy while Mr. Jackson tagged along behind her."

Just after midnight the concert ended with Jackson surrounded by a plethora of stars singing "We Are the World."

Jackson’s new album, Invincible, is set to drop on Oct. 30, with the edited down version of this two-night fete to air on CBS sometime in October before that.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE CAKE AND
THE CANDLES
Marketshare machers. (10/26a)
KDOTTED LINE
A pending deal fro Kendrick. (10/26a)
YTD MARKETSHARE: AND THE WINNER IS...
It's a lock. (10/26a)
CHART STORY: TAY
MAKES IT EIGHT
Adding to her chart 'lore. (10/23a)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Vote. Do it now. (10/26a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)