Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hafiz AF7 - Masih Jelas V2

Monday, November 02, 2009

about This Is IT

A dear friend of mine wrote this on face book and i thought i want to share it with you all here.

What a concert it would have been.

At the age of 50, the man could still move and groove, and the man could still sing. Boo to all the naysayers and the scathing critics. He could shimmy up a storm and heat up the stage leaving the dancers, more than half his age, agog. And this was only during rehearsal.

When he announced in April his comeback swansong 50 concerts in London, I checked out the online sales site, entertaining the idea of flying to London to catch this. But the amount of 300 sterling pounds was beyond my reach, as it didn’t even include the airfare. Even my friend, Stephen, a star who lives in London, said it was too expensive for him. Ah well, I’ll wait for the DVD of the concert, I placated myself. But even that was not to be.

Not long after reeling from the shock of his death, I jumped on the internet again on the day the tickets for “This Is It” went on sale and grabbed the maximum number of tickets allowed. Never mind who they were for, I knew these tickets would be hot. The skeptics laughed at my excitement. Like I cared. And the documentary didn’t disappoint.

The concert film, a collection of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage, captured his professionalism, his attention to detail, his patience, his love for his art, the performer extraordinaire he is, and why he is the King of Pop. He knew every beat, swoosh, bang and padumph of every inch and corner of his songs, evident while he was rehearsing with the musical director, telling him to play it “exactly how I wrote them”. Never the diva, he would explain ever so softly how he wanted it played, interspersing, his scats and beat boxing with imagery such as “let it simmer”, “let it brew”, “let it bask in the moonlight” in reference to a pause in the music, to the cadence of a note. When something didn’t go as they had planned, or if he wanted it changed back to the way it was, there were no tantrums or screaming, ubiquitous with lesser talents, he’d simply say, “that’s why we have rehearsals”. “Love” was a word peppered frequently whenever mistakes occurred or when he sensed tension. Of course he knew he was being filmed, but this was hours and hours of footage. How much of a fa├žade can one have.

It’s not often that the star of the show would thank his crew and support team, let alone even acknowledge them. Michael Jackson thanked them effusively and sincerely, in a circle, with all involved linking hands. Corny to some, but for stage performers, this moment is vital just before an opening. And it was evident that all involved, had great respect for his talent and his meticulousness.

The film showed how the stage was not just for him. During the rehearsal of Dirty Diana, he egged guitarist Orianthi, to play her highest note and to hold it saying, “This is your moment to shine.” There were many moments when his dancers and backup singers would have shone and he made those moments for them like the Jerome Robbins-like silhouette of dancers against the city skyline for “The Way You Make Me Feel”, the film noir “Smooth Criminal” or when his dancers were “toasted” onto stage. His Chaplinesque “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” portrayed his more poignant yet playful side. As they jammed it into a blues dialogue, he directed his backup singer, Judith Hill, in her every move, letting her take the stage. Very few performers would be as magnanimous. What followed rapturous applause for the duet was the only time he got into a mood, and even then barely, as he told off his musicians for letting him “really sing” as he was supposed to preserve his voice. It must have been difficult for the musicians to let the moment slide and not jam along with his improvisation. During rehearsals, stars often simply go through the motions, a dance move would be shown through a hand gesture, steps would be tried out by a walk or a small jog across the stage, saving the actual move for the real show. Michael performed every rehearsal. So, watching this rehearsal footage was close to watching a show. A spin was not just a hand twirl, he did the 360 again and again.

Like the eponymous, best-selling ever Thriller which set a new standard in music videos, this concert would have set a new benchmark for theatrical shows, one which would have been impossible to match, given the power of his hits. This would certainly have been It.

More than 20 years ago, I learnt to moonwalk, body pop, slide, spin, do isolations with the shoulders, the head, the chest, jerked the robot, thrust my pelvis with conviction and punctuate the beat by grabbing parts of my anatomy, by watching and imitating Michael Jackson. We learnt every move in Thriller, snapped our fingers and swung our hip to the side in Beat It and shoved our arm out while yelling at full throttle in front of every air vent. No car park was ever the same again after Bad. I don’t know about my fellow dancers, but my knees have given way, my muscles no longer flex and stretch as they used to, my feet can’t do the inward-outward moves quickly enough to create the illusion of floating on a cloud, but Michael still could…even at 50.

MJ always wanted to be a legend. He couldn't have planned it better. He was still physically fit, at least fitter than any 50, no, 40-year-old I know. His death was certainly untimely. It wasn’t fair. But perhaps it’s better that he left when he did. When he still could.

-Norenshah Sahari

Thanks Noren for sharing your thoughts with us. view the original post here

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