Over Easter weekend I watched the video of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Tour filmed in Bucuresti in late fall of 1992.
I was a young business woman, preparing to emigrate to America and not buying tickets to the Michael Jackson concert was not an option. My salary from engineering at the time was $70 per month…one ticket for the concert was 50. I bought one ticket for myself and one for my cousin to accompany me. Never thought twice, never looked back.
While my husband was grappling with demands of a new international student in America, I was finishing some things up in Romania, among which were selling some of our possessions, liquidating the inventory of my small business company and acquiring a new wardrobe for myself, more in line with the American fashion trends. For the first time in my life, I bought a pair of American blue jeans, a pair of designer sneakers and paired them with a wool sweater, thinking that I would look pretty American.
The days leading up to the concert, there were advertisements on TV building up the momentum. I watched them more faithfully than the scheduled programs, I read every newspaper I could put my hands on, following closely even the died of the King of Pop. I still remember that one day he asked for an organic free range chicken to be sacrificed for his soup.
The TV showed him meeting with the Romaninan president…I was living and breathing everything Michael…when I was not making mental notes like: ’got to get a driver’s license…everybody in America needs to have one’ One day, while doing the tours of the business clients I still had to visit with, I stopped to eat something in a small baker shop…I was not half done when some children of the street surrounded my table and one of them spit in my salad.
I calmly handed it to him …looked at them all and thought for a second about buying all the bread on the shelf to give it to them… but… I felt I would be embarrassed by the other clients of the bakery and left…. I put my fur coat up for sale on consignment, placed an ad for selling the car…got a new haircut and color……. Met my cousin, and tickets in hand we both headed by metro to the national stadium of Bucharest. It was not too warm, not too cold…
We arrived early enough to not battle too much the crowds…we spent the time doing the ‘wave’ and making fun of those in the ‘official stands’-the politicians, nouveau riche, etc. We had good enough seats, the stage was in front of us…at the opposing end of the stadium. We had assigned seats. There were two gigantic screens placed at each side of the stage and one somewhere in the middle of the stadium almost in front of us. Our seats were high enough that we could peruse everything.
The bloody anticommunist revolution of 1989 had placed Romania on the front page of the West newspapers and the atmosphere was still showing. We were young people on that stadium, full of hopes, full of aspirations, but most of all, absolutely proud to be in Bucuresti for the venue of choice for filming the tour. We all knew and spoke about it. A young Romanian/German promoter, Michael Cretu had spoken about it on TV. We felt as revolutionary as we had been three years before… Romania now had a brand new constitution, a number of new laws, a new president elect, former university professor, we all felt proud of our new business card…
The revolutionaries were still unhappy on TV, we did not know who had been the terrorists who killed our youth, still no revelations have been made today, yet, there were some very promising things in Romania’s future and now, the King has chosen us to be his audience and ‘extras’, to bring “Dangerous” to VH1 or MTV. We were not too confused, hyper, amazingly enthusiastic with contagious smiles and hopeful eyes everywhere you looked then, or now, as I can nostalgically watch it on the video.
The build up created by the ads on TV, the heated or not so much discussions in the stands during the wait, they all took a toll on me.., for an entire show, I remember only preying that it would last at least a bit longer-from the beginning to the end- I was pinching myself and wished for it to last longer…Michael’s videos never disappointed, but the Bucuresti concert was an amazing and absolute high from the beginning till the end-Just On Music and Show. Magic moments, from the stupor accompanying Michael’s being propelled on stage, to floating coffin during the performance of ‘Thriller”, to every entrance and exit of the dancers, the accompanying soloists not to mention Michael’s, continuous amazing WOW. I was not the only one.
I can read the lips of some of the groupies in front of the scene, asking Michael: ‘Nu pleca!’ (Don’t leave); ‘Vai de mine!’ (Golly little me); ‘We love you’-from first to last moment, totally amazed, the audience prayed on some subliminal level that the show would not end. From the perfection of a slanting of almost 30 degrees on stage of the entire dancing troop, to Michael metamorphosizing into a black panther right in front of us, total awesomeness, but this was not it. It was MICHAEL.
The wonderful human being who spoke to us about “change the world, make it a better place/For you and for me and the entire human race”…It was MICHAEL-the owner of Neverland and founder of ‘I have a wish’. It was MICHAEL-The one who encouraged us to change starting with the ‘man in the mirror’. The venue of Bucuresti in 1992 was absolutely the PERFECT one. I remember on the way home, I felt depression settling in…gone was this wonderful experience, now behind me!
I walked home, like everybody else, several train stations, not even speaking too many words with my cousin. Just absolute desolation now, like a mourning for the experience that had passed. The ads on TV will not count the hours to the concert anymore…. From about there/ four songs before the end, the desperation and tears can be seen already on the face of the audiences.
The youth are crying not knowing yet the Michael who would be called a pedophile in the coming years, not knowing how short a time till the final good bye in June of 2009. They are desperately trying to hold on to THEIR Michael. The precocious child performer, jovial and complete artist that he was, the wonderful human being that we came to know…IN BUCHAREST