miercuri, iulie 01, 2009

Asa vreau eu sa mi-l amintesc pe Michael

Photos: Getty Images, Kevin Mazur

Astea sunt poze de la ultima repetitie a lui Michael, la Staples Centre in Los Angeles, miercuri seara. Miercuri inainte de joi, cand l-a inconjurat pasarea aia alba, cu aripile mari, din Will you be there, si l-a dus sus, sa ne priveasca de deasupra si sa vada pentru cata lume a contat. Si cata lume si l-a apropiat si l-a iubit.

Iar eu asa vrea sa mi-l amintesc pe Michael: zambind, razand, dansand, la ultima lui repetitie, inaintea turneului de la Londra, in care avea sa rupa - a cata oara? - gura targului. Caci da, se spune ca pregatise un spectacol fabulos. Si cred ca asa urma sa-mi fie si-mi pare rau si ca n-a apucat sa-si ia la revedere asa cum merita. Si ca n-a apucat sa le arate celor trei copii - care nu l-au vazut niciodata intr-un spectacol - cum e el pe scena. Cum electrizeaza si cum devine parte din viata tuturor.

Eu asa vreau sa mi-l amintesc pe Michael: dansand, repetand, glumind. Increzator c-o sa iasa totul impecabil, bucuros ca se intoarce pe scena, sincer, de-a dreptul sincer in credinta lui ca va fi bine primit si ca fanii lui - milioanele lui de fani - vor veni sa-l vada. Eu n-aveam bilet la concertele londoneze, desi mi-ar fi placut sa am. Am aflat in primavara ca va reveni, ca turneul asta va fi cantecul lui de lebeda si aproape ca-mi pare rau ca n-am dat din coate pentru un bilet. Si-mi pare sincer rau si c-am uitat ca am fost fan Michael atata vreme. Ca Michael Jackson a fost cu-adevarat o parte insemnata din viata mea, de prin 1994 pana incoace, spre 2000. Ca aveam postere si caietele cu poze si articole, ca invatasem pe deasupra toate melodiile, ca le-ascultam in disperare, ca am plans si-am urlat la concertul din 1996, unul dintre cele mai faine momente din toata viata asta a mea. De ce am uitat toate astea? De ce mi-am dat voie sa uit? Atatea amintiri inchise asa, ca-ntr-o cutie, fara sa ma cotrobai prin ea din cand in cand? Asta e un regret cu care nu ma impac. Nu-mi place gandul ca toate amintirile astea, multe si frumoase, au iesit la suprafata intr-un asemenea moment. Ciudat si trist. Nu trebuia sa las s-adoarma sentimentul ala fain de-a fi fan Michael.

Dar eu asa vreau sa mi-l amintesc pe Michael: cantand, cu fata vesela si calda, la ultima lui repetitie. Si-mi vine si mie greu sa cred ca un om atat de bucuros pe scena a putut sa se prabuseasca o zi mai tarziu. Si nu, nu vreau sa mai stiu nimic. Nici de Demerol, nici de Diprivan, nici de intepaturile din jurul inimii prin care s-a incercat resuscitarea, nici de doctorul lui care a asteptat nu stiu cate zeci de minute ca sa sune la 911, nici de cei doi saci de medicamente descoperiti in casa, nici de retete false, nici de testament, nici de taica-su, nici de viata lui chinuita din ultimii ani, nici de cancerul de piele pe care-l depasise, pe care il tratase. Nu vreau sa stiu nimic, desi le stiu pe toate. Si n-am putut sa adorm acum vreo doua seri de mila, de tristete, de mila si tristete. As fi vrut sa moara de batranete. Chiar daca asta n-ar mai fi insemnat un boom de vanzari, un boom de amintiri (si-ale mele printre ele), un boom de oameni care-asculta astazi Michael pe toate drumurile. As fi vrut sa moara de batranete. Sa n-aiba nevoie de sedative ca s-adoarma. Sa fie linistit si impacat si frumos, ca toate cantecele lui. Asta as fi vrut.

Si pentru ca asta-i imposibil, vreau sa mi-l amintesc pe Michael asa cum arata el in ultimele lui poze, de la repetitia din Staples Center. Si ca imaginea asta sa prinda contur o sa ma folosesc de amintirile celor care l-au vazut, vesel si increzator, miercuri seara, la repetitii, inainte de joi.

Dorian Holley, directorul vocal in cadrul turneului care nu mai are loc, si-l aminteste pe Michael "stralucind", intr-un articol din Time.

Michael Jackson spent the last night of his life doing what he had always done: performing. The singer was in rehearsals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, running through a full slate of songs from his upcoming 50-concert London event flanked by friends and colleagues.

He marveled at the major set pieces that had finally been installed in the rehearsal space. "He was just glowing, and you could see it, that he was finally seeing it all come together," says Dorian Holley, the vocal director for Jackson's upcoming tour. "Up until Wednesday, it had always been [just a concept], but that last day you could see it in him, that he was seeing the show finally come together for the first time. It was a big moment."

The pop icon had seemed different during these rehearsals — not ailing by any means, but perhaps more contemplative — says Holley, who has coached Jackson on solo tours since 1987. In preparing for previous tours, Holley said auditions for backup singers and other performing roles would usually be held via videotape, and it wouldn't be all that uncommon for the two to speak directly only two or three times over the span of a year.

But for "This Is It," the London concerts scheduled to begin in July, Jackson was much more present and available, attending auditions and eagerly talking with everyone in the crew about the larger mission behind the tour.

"It almost sounds crazy to say that the show wasn't about him, but ... he'd put it in perspective all the time, saying, 'This is what we're here for, to spread a message of love and taking care of the planet, that we want people to understand it's very, very dear and not to take it for granted,'" Holley tells TIME.

Nu puteai sa-ti ochii de la el, mai spune Dorian Holley.

Until the last hour of rehearsals, Jackson maintained a ferocious, perfectionist pace, says Holley, who, after decades working with the singer, says he was still astonished by his vocal and physical prowess.

Some in the public questioned whether Jackson, at 50, would still be able to command a stage, and recent reports published Sunday in Britain's
Daily Mail said that Jackson had been too feeble to dance, sing or, at times, even speak in the weeks leading up to his death.

But, Holley — despite his own early concerns about a lack of rehearsal time leading up to the first London shows in July — says the star's presence and energy during his final week was unequivocal. "He'd take the stage with this group of dancers, all in their 20s, but you couldn't take your eyes off him ... Many of his songs have six or seven parts, and he would often come over if we were missing an important note in our mix, and he would sing through all the parts rapid-fire to show us what he wanted. We would just sit there with our jaws open — it was awesome," Holley says. "He could still do everything ... The only difference now was that he would sometimes talk about how it made him sore."

"This time around, we had the technology to isolate just his microphone and listen to his singing separate from everything else. I had no idea what a genius he was. The way he's able to use his voice as a percussion instrument, lyricist, jazz singer all at the same time. I'm sure as people mine his works in years to come, they're going to discover how much is there," he says.

Michael se pregatea sa cucereasca lumea. S-o ia inapoi. Ca fusese a lui. Cuvintele nu pot descrie ce ar fi vazut oamenii in concertele acestui turneu... Imi doresc - zice Holley - sa fi fost macar un concert in care oamenii sa vada ce li se pregatise...

Jackson had been preparing to take the world back, Holley says, and during the singer's final night, he finally knew he was ready. "You would think that, on the one hand, the world has kind of beaten him up, and you could forgive him for having some trepidation and fear. But he didn't have any of that," says Holley. "Words fail to describe what people would have seen with the tour. I couldn't even imagine until last week when it became physically apparent [on the set]. He was ready to show the world, and I so wish there could have been just one concert so the world would have seen."

Articolul integral din Time e AICI.

Daily Mirror, pe de alta parte, il citeaza pe pe fotograful Ken Mazur, prieten vechi cu Michael, caruia acesta i-ar fi spus in timpul repetitiilor: "Aici imi e locul. De ce am lipsit atat de mult?"

Articolul asta si pozele insotitoare ale lui Mazur ma ajuta sa mi-l amintesc asa cum vreau pe Michael: vesel si frumos, pregatindu-si turneul. Cititi fragmentele alese de mine (sau pe tot, AICI). O sa uitati de Demerol si Diprivan, de toata nebunia acestor zile.

Michael Jackson whooped with joy as he rehearsed on stage for his comeback tour.

Thrusting his arm in the air after one of his trademark twirls, he cried: "I feel so alive - can you feel it?" The superstar, who died of a heart attack just hours later, told photographer pal Kevin Mazur: "This is where I belong. Why oh why have I left it so long?"

But just last week Jacko was back – and the King of Pop seemed to love every minute as he twisted and gyrated to the pulsating beat.
Pointing to the lighting gantries high above the stage at LA’s Staple Center he grinned broadly as he triumphantly declared: “This is where I belong.”

And he was still buzzing as he took a break from rehearsals and chatted to his old pal, photographer Kevin Mazur, 48 – who unwittingly captured some of the tragic singer’s final moments. Kevin, a friend for 20 years, says Jackson, 50, was elated as he prepared for his spectacular This Is It tour.

He says the singer bounded on stage in a dark grey suit and headpiece, shouting: “Come on – let’s make this happen!” He then performed one of his familiar spins, before proclaiming: “This is where I belong.” Turning to his friend, he beamed: “Can you feel it Kevin? Why oh why have I left it so long?”

After a stunning rendition of Smooth Criminal in which he danced in front of an illuminated 50ft montage, Jacko admitted: “I am so excited. We need a bit more work on a few more songs but we’re so nearly there. This is what it’s all about. Me being on stage.”

The pumped up star added: “The only thing missing is my fans, my people, my family – and they will come. I know they will. I am so happy with how things are going. Can you feel it! Can you feel it!”

Kevin watched spellbound as Jacko performed his entire set for an hour and a half until nearly midnight. He sang 12 songs, stopping only briefly to wipe his brow with a white towel strategically placed at the side of the stage.

At one point, Jacko blew a kiss into the auditorium, announcing: “This is me. The true me. I feel so alive. I feel as though I want to perform forever.” Kevin said: “He was like an expectant father pacing up and down the stage. He was just so focused. Between songs, he burst into laughter and joked around with his dancers and the director. I have never seen him so happy.

“But there was a cool professionalism about him. He was there to do a job and boy, did he do it well. It was incredible.” Kevin said highlights of the frenetic set included a Jackson Five medley, Black or White and Thriller.

Once he was finished, Jacko calmly went back over the list – and started re-doing the songs he felt needed improving. Kevin said: “Michael and Kenny Ortega (director) were talking about Smooth Criminal and Michael loved all the smoke affects that accompanied the song.

“It was really eye-opening to say the least. They were even talking about using a cherry picker to pick up an audience member from the crowd. It was something really special.” But Kevin says he could tell Jacko took the most pleasure from singing 1984 hit Thriller again after all these years.

Striding on in a haze of smoke, the star calmly snapped his fingers and launched into the song as if he’d just recorded it yesterday. “It was incredible,” says Kevin. “You could tell Michael was so excited. They had loads of puppeteers which were going to be suspended into the crowd and both Michael and Kenny went along the line of them afterwards, picking out their favourites.

“You could see in Michael’s face how much that particular song excited him. It was a joy to behold. The only thing I didn’t see during the rehearsals were two aerial lifts into the crowd that Michael was planning to do. It was really sensational stuff.” Kevin first photographed Michael in 1984 on the singer’s Victory Tour of North America.

He has since worked on the Bad and Dangerous tours and was looking forward to the 50 This Is It shows at London’s O2.

Kevin says he was totally devastated by Jacko’s death – especially since he had seemed so upbeat and full of life just hours earlier. He said: “When he hit that stage everyone was just mesmerised. He had this incredible energy. He was happy, laughing and having fun with the dancers. He looked like the same old Michael to me – the one I’ve known through the years and grown to love.”

Kevin says he refuses to believe claims that Jacko was in a fragile mental state or befuddled by prescription drugs.

He said: “He was totally there – 100 per cent there in fact. You would never suspect this would have ever happened – especially after his performance on stage.

“It’s just so hard to comprehend. I was at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara ball when I found out – and I had to leave to compose myself. Earlier I had been telling Elton all about photographing Michael and he was fascinated and asking all about him.

“But then this rumour about his death – or what I prayed was only a rumour – started going all around the party.

“It literally took the wind out of me. I had to speak to his people to try and make sure it was real – and tragically, it was. Elton was so upset. We all were.”

Kevin says the overriding feeling from the rehearsals was Michael’s sense of duty to his fans. He said: “He was such a perfectionist. He had that spark about him – that desire to create something special and give people the very best he could.

Asa vreau eu sa mi-l amintesc pe Michael: vesel, energic, increzator, jucaus, frumos, linistit, entuziast si entuziasmat, incantat de perspectiva revenirii pe scena. Pentru el, pentru fanii lui, pentru copiii lui. Pentru toti cei care, la un moment dat, i-au fredonat melodiile.

Rest in peace, Michael. Eu asa imi voi aminti de tine.

Michael Jackson ~ Speechless

4 comentarii:

Dan Gheorghe spunea...

un mare artist. asa ar trebui sa-si aduca aminte lumea de Michael Jackson. un mare compozitor. si un om de spectacol. pacat ca s-a dus atat de tanar!

Aky spunea...

A cata oara, viata este ceea ce alegem sa fie, nu ceea ce "este". Un om chinuit, de el insusi si de altii, singur, bolnav, un ciudat in descompunere, discutabil in stilul sau de viata, nelinistit si neimpacat - sau un om care a adus ani de bucurie si a inseninat milioane de chipuri, care a daruit lucruri infinit superioare conditiei sale umane, linistit si impacat in cantecele sale, cum spune Flo. A vedea lumea realist nu e egal cu a ii vedea doar partile slab-umane, limitate, nevalorice. Pe unii ii doare pana la sinucidere moartea lui MJ, pe altii pana la pix. Pentru cei putin mai lucizi, ramane poate intrebarea - cata lumina/bucurie/alinare a lasat in lume un om, si cata am reusit "eu" sa las pana in clipa asta? Nu exista om complet stralucitor pe lumea asta, depinde de fiecare ce extrage din omuul pe care il vede. Slabiciunile, limitele (reale, indiscutabil) sau energia, acel-ceva-de-dincolo-de-el? Prima varianta ne face sa ne simtim mai bine in pielea noastra de efemeride imperfecte. A doua.. e o sansa.

Nu sunt fan Michael, nu aprob fanatismele de orice fel. Dar nu pot sa nu ma gandesc - what the beep do we know? Cata incredere legumizanta acordam imaginilor prezentate de presa despre un om, probe futile si parelnice intr-un proces in care il judecam pe Omul "public" (de parca e un drept al nostru) si declamam atotstiutor "eh, ala... da-l incolo."

Nu stiu daca lumea a fost a lui MJ, sau a oricarui altuia, draga Flo. Stii vorba, "by giving, you receive", thus you have. Iar oamenii care daruiesc si trezesc bucurie, sunt cu adevarat bogati. Omul (destul de chinuit) MJ doar asta bogatia asta a luat-o cu el. Si poate nu e deloc putin.

Si apoi, nu exista intamplari, Flo. "This is it", o jumatate de viata, momentul maximei fericiri (cand te ridici dintr-o lunga cadere) si simultan momentul finalului. Putea fi altfel? Desigur, putea fi mai bine. Dar putea fi si mai rau - fair play-ul asta trebuie sa-l avem fata de Dumnezeu. "This is it", poate adevarata energie pozitiva a acestui om, iesita la suprafata dupa multa vreme. De ce asa si nu altfel, altcandva? E intrebarea care insoteste fiecare moarte. Poate plecarea lui acum, asa, e spre binele lui, al celor care raman cu lucruri bune de la el, si cu o lectie de viata poate, "asa da, asa nu".

Frumos scris, Flo.

shmeny spunea...

pe mine nu m-a socat vestea mortii lui. parca il astepta de dintotdeauna, dupa ce-l transformase, an de an intr-un cadavru viu. m-am bucurat intr-un fel ca il lasase pana la 50 de ani, dupa ce alti oameni faini din showbiz s-au dus pe la 27-28. sau chiar mai devreme. marti seara insa mi s-a facut mila. asa cum ti se face de un vecin care a murit, un vecin bun, care iti era simpatic. de-abia marti am plans.

luiza spunea...

fata mea este foarte incantata sa vada ca esti fana mj.ea este inebunita dupa el.....tota ziua mj mj mj......ea a fost f fericita cand a a vazut ca iti plc shi mj shi plush.....cred ca o sa iti citeasca zilnic blogul:d