Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Adieu 2009 : Reminiscing the roller-coaster ride of the past year - Last Part

Michael Joseph Jackson.

If you can look past all the bizarre news in the media that had surrounded him the last several years of his life and concentrate just on his music alone, you would see him for the genius that he is. And speaking of the media...just take into account another favourite artist of mine..John Mayer..who so accurately wrote in one his songs “When you trust your television, what you get is what you got, cos when they own the information, they can bend it all they want”. That's telling it like it is.

When you have someone as famous as MJ, you can bet there were people..human parasites to be precise..around him who were more than ready to do anything (literally) to feed off of his popularity, wealth and fame. All they wanted was a piece of sell and make a profit for themselves. No one ever truly knew MJ, the man – what he was truly like inside in his soul. Except maybe his creator.

Needless to say when we heard the news of his death, it was no less than devastating. How could someone, whose videos and songs are etched in our minds for eternity, who’s older than us yes, but younger than our parents, be suddenly gone? We had been contemplating doing a tribute to MJ since the end of 2008, but we never would have wished for such an occurrence, wherein his popularity would suddenly skyrocket just because of his sudden and mysterious death. Suddenly the whole music industry (both here and abroad) was in fervour, and everybody it seemed was doing some sort of tribute or the other to MJ. But we refused to budge when we got the expected calls from different event organizers. We had dreamed of this tribute for so long and we had had such big plans for it. No way were we going to compromise on those visions. We had wanted it to be a proper tribute – with not just MJ’s music but his great showmanship as well, with all the dances and theatrics. And so we waited. We waited till we were ready to put forth such a show.

On October 16, 2009, exactly three months and three weeks after his death, after countless meetings to address all the logistics issues, and all the band practices and dance practices, we staged a show at Le Saigon. Throughout the past months I’d painstakingly picked up the dance moves to “Thriller” and together with like-minded MJ dance enthusiasts, Tasaffy, Rahib, Nasr, Aashna and Sanam, we met 3-4 times a week to master the famous moves. It was SO darn HARD!!! And then one day Buno, a great musician and a great chum, came over to watch practice one day and pointed out that each new ‘step’ of the whole dance sequence started with the bass line! And presto! It ALL became SO easy!!! People, you should ALWAYS pay attention to the bass of every song out there. They carry immense power...I kid you not!

On the day of the show everyone was super tensed, especially yours truly, and misunderstandings and tempers flared...naturally. But thankfully there were more diplomatic people around to soothe and calm everyone’s nerves, so sticky situations got nicely unstuck. Hehe. And the best part – we managed to pick up the moves to “Beat It” as well that very morning. Yes...we were lucky to have such amazing dancers =)

On the music front we had tons of talented peeps as well. A few years ago we’d discovered a voice that truly befitted MJ’s countertenor...Leo. Saif had met Leo at work and had known then and there that he’d be the right choice in singing some of MJ’s earlier compositions (think songs from “Off the Wall”). We also had Jawad (’71) sing one of MJ’s most rocking songs ever, “Give in to Me”. We had the talented Nadeer Ahmed (of Maqsood O Dhaka and Stone Free fame) accompanying us on percussion. And then we had Fahim (SHOCK, Crystal Planet) on his super sexy white guitar, playing Eddie Van Helen’s solo in “Beat It” with more passion than the original artist himself.

Thus armed with all the right ammunition we staged one of the most fun shows ever! Against an amazing backdrop poster designed by Rahul, we belted out one hit song after the other and knew we were getting things right when the whole floor sang along with us. The level of excitement and high-adrenaline factor skyrocketed at the very end of the show...when all the dancers, in their Zombie costumes and make-up, courtesy of the ah-may-zing Sharmin aka Shundori aka Kani, came out and we all started doing the “Thriller” dance.

It was a night beyond all nights. Of all the shows we had done during last year, this was THE show that we know we’d remember till the day we die.

Only someone who loved MJ’s legacy of music as much as we do will understand what I’m trying to say. When we were ALL singing “Heal The World”, I could see each and every face of the audience standing in the front row and there was no denying the happiness everyone was feeling because of HIS tunes, HIS lyrics, HIS music.

And so I’ll just leave you with this thought...that this is what all of us should remember about this man. That his music...made us happy.

Clockwise from center: Event poster designed by Rahul; Me; Jasper in his white "Smooth Criminal" suit;, Fahim with his sexy guitar, smile & legs; the familiar sequined white glove; Sharmin readying Aashna and the rest of the dance troupe; Jasper moonwalking while the crowd cheers on; Leo on the mike; Emran on keys; Saif with his prized Fender; the Dance troupe striking a pose!

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