I know the world (and the Interwebs) exploded on Thursday when Michael Jackson died -- I heard the news from the lady who was selling us tickets to Ka at the MGM Grand -- she asked if we'd heard and we were absolutely shocked. I'm well aware that the man was loopy, especially the last decade or so, but there's no denying he was monstrously talented and it was hard not to enjoy his music and watch when he danced. When he performed he commanded a stage and it was impossible to not be mesmerized by him. It's no wonder his fans are still so very much in love with him, how they support him, and how much they're in mourning.
There were a number of newscasts that made comparisons to Elvis, and I had made the same observation myself almost immediately, largely because of the somewhat shady doctors and overabundance of perfectly legal prescription drugs bringing on cardiac arrest in someone who probably didn't need said drugs in the first place and would have been fine without so many yes-men agreeing to every spoiled, hypochondriac thought said subject had, either Elvis or Jacko. I loved Elvis with all my heart and always stood up for him when he was made fun of, ridiculed, or dismissed because of the way he'd lived to excess and basically killed himself (frankly, after reading a "conspiracy theory" book stating all the "proof" that Elvis had faked his own death, I came to the conclusion from these "clues" that Elvis had in fact committed suicide). So I understand Jacko's fans, even if I don't share their particular passion.
What Jacko was to me was one of the voices of my generation. His albums were the soundtrack of my college years, with Thriller coming out right as I made the move from high school to college. I watched him go through it all, every bit of weirdness, bizarre behavior, freaky ideas; it's been a part and parcel of life since I graduated high school. I remember watching the Jackson 5 cartoon when I was little; Jackson was only six years older than me.
I felt sad when I heard the news, and I watched a lot of CNN in the aftermath; but I'm not hit as hard as I was when Elvis died, or when Johnny Cash passed -- I think I feel mostly sad for the loss of a man who wasted so much. All the people who knew him spoke so highly of him -- not the hangers-on, not the yes-men, but his real friends and family. I was always somewhat skeptical of his "illnesses" and "hereditary disease" (largely because none of his big brothers seem to be having any problems), and I can't help but think he brought a lot of it on himself, but I am sorry he's gone.
As for the other two who passed while I was basically out of touch... Ed McMahon was an old man who lived a good long life and was loved by many people. His dead was sad, but not a shock (after all, Johnny left us some while ago). And Farrah? She's not in pain any more -- the one I feel sorry for is Ryan O'Neal, who never got to marry her; on Monday I actually saw part of an interview with Barbara Walters, where he said they'd be married as soon as she was well enough to say "I Do."
Other Vegas stuff: The Lion King on stage is MAGNIFICENT. Of course, I get teary every time I hear "Circle of Life" anyway -- but the singing, the acting, the puppetry, all amazing. I didn't care for the song they wrote for the hyenas, but the song written for Nala's solo was amazing (hell, the girl who played her was amazing; what a voice! She was mesmerizing whenever she was on stage).
Ka is a WOW of a Circe show -- "O" was the most beautiful, still, I think, but Ka is a majestic spectacle. I did a lot of gasping and "wow!"-ing.
But all in all, it's good to be home.