On MJ’s 55th birthday, FTW remembers his greatest show.
By CHRIS CHASE – August 29, 2013 at 5:06pm EDT
0:03 — James Earl Jones does the introduction and says the words “Radio City Music Hall” and “unprecedented Super Bowl spectacular.” If the next Super Bowl halftime show is just JEJ saying “unprecedented Super Bowl spectacular” on repeat for eight minutes, it’d be better than every other show this century.
0:26 — That’s what was considered a Jumbotron in 1993. That wouldn’t fit on the back of a seat at Jerry World.
1:09 — After some fake-outs with faux MJs popping up on top of those “Jumbotrons,” the real MJ makes his entrance.
No Super Bowl arrival has ever been better, and I’m including both Devin Hester’s touchdown kickoff return that opened Super Bowl XLI and that Ali Landry Dorito’s commercial.
1:19 — Jackson is still standing there.
1:29 — Nope, hasn’t moved yet, but at least he’s been joined by a real-life version of that chick from Heavy Metal.
1:42 — Jackson still hasn’t budged and NBC accidentally cuts to a still of Buffalo’s defense preparing to blitz Troy Aikman. If not for Don Beebe’s heroics on Leon Lett late in the game, this would have stood as Buffalo’s greatest Super Bowl XXVII highlight.
1:54 — Jackson, wearing Muammar Gaddafi’s jacket, is. still. standing. there. At this point, viewers at home are starting to wonder if this is all some sort of ruse, and whether this is a wax MJ standing in for the real MJ who created this diversion so he could steal all the gold from the Federal Reserve, just like in Die Hard With a Vengeance, which wouldn’t come out for two years, but still.
2:01 — Nothing yet and the crowd is loving it. L-O-V-I-N-G-I-T. That’s how you know MJ was the true King of Pop. If Beyonce had tried to pull this nonsense in February, she would have been run out of New Orleans so fast her publicist wouldn’t have had time to send scolding emails to everyone who chased her. I mean, look at this kid. He’s happier to see MJ doing a Madame Tussaud’s than he would have been in seeing anyone else do anything, including James Earl Jones saying “unprecedented Super Bowl spectacular.”
2:22 — At last, movement!
Finally, the show can begin.
2:23 — Correction: He merely turned the other way to grill that side of the stadium. The secret service doesn’t scan crowds as closely as MJ did.
2:54 — The performance begins, a full 1 minute and 45 seconds after Jackson hit the stage. That’s big timing it, y’all. Michael Jackson stood on the biggest stage in the world and didn’t move for more than 90 seconds. Then he sort of ruins the moment by opening with “Jam,” which is sort of like if U2 opened with “Discotheque.” On the bright side, we get to see Jackson doing this dance move with men wearing police uniforms.
3:30 — “Jam” is thankfully short-lived and we get to the good stuff, “Billie Jean.”
4:32 – Only one minute of “Billie Jean” is slightly disappointing, but Michael has songs offDangerous to promote, so you can’t hold it against him.
4:34 –– Jackson begins playing his biggest hit off his latest album, ”Black or White.”
4:34.01 — At every Super Bowl viewing party in America, everyone is making the exact same joke.
4:39 — Over a 20-second stretch, there’s no cut, just a single wide shot of Jackson singing and dancing. In 2013, that 20-second-stretch would have featured 14 jump cuts, five close-ups, a number of early warning signs of an oncoming seizure and one unfortunate shot of Bruce Springsteen’s crotch.
5:50 – Let’s stop and appreciate the majestical flapping of Jackson’s unbuttoned white shirt. It probably took a team of engineers and fashion designers years to create a fabric that would float so triumphantly while standing over a pressure-release steam valve.
As Jackson appears to get lost in a haze of white smoke, a number of heads in the Dallas Cowboys locker room nod in agreement.
7:23 — MJ was nothing if not subtle.
7:48 — Traces of Jackson’s late-life look are starting to become more pronounced now that his sunglasses are off. But don’t worry, football fans in Los Angeles would been used to such facial fright, as Al Davis had yet to move the Raiders back to Oakland.
8:04 — James Earl Jones announced Michael Jackson has a gift for the children of the world.
8:05 — For the next minute, fans in the stands hold up signs to make a group collage of the pictures of children of various races. It’s a lovely statement that, unfortunately, would never happen today, as that’s a minute that could be used to push more important agendas, like domain name registries and Tatum Channing films.
9:03 — MJ starts speaking about children and it’s presumably the first time his microphone has been live the entire night. His voice is oddly deep, like he’s been hanging out with James Earl Jones too much.
9:33 — After a two-minute buildup, Jackson begins “singing” ”Heal the World” and dedicates it to the “children of the world.”
9:59 — If Twitter existed in 1993, the whole Internet might have crashed.
11:46 — In the night’s big special effect, an inflatable globe rises from the stages. Did someone sketch that map freehand in the car ride over to the Rose Bowl? Cuba is bigger than Texas. The Great Lakes are just one big ol’ lake. Hawaii looks like some sort of infection. I won’t even talk about the atrocities done to Canada.
12:48 — The show ends and will stand for all time as the greatest in Super Bowl history. It also closes the chapter on one part of Michael Jackson’s life. This would be his last performance before his world would start to come crashing down after the first allegations of sexual abuse went public. In a way, Super Bowl XXVII was Michael Jackson’s final reign as the King of Pop.