Did you know that Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd have a connection? Not only do they have a connection, but “Earth Song” has the spirit of Pink Floyd running through it from the original album version, all the way to the live staged version. We’ll take a look at that in a bit closer detail but first let’s have a closer look at Pink Floyd’s staging creator who is now working on the Michael Jackson’s Immortal world tour.
Michael Jackson now has Pink Floyd’s Staging creator
Mark Fisher was the set designer of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” as well as (my favourite) “P.U.L.S.E”. The staging was iconic and he carried the same theme through all of his Pink Floyd concerts. As we discussed in yesterdays “Immortal world tour” article, he went on to work with every major artist in the world … except one: Michael Jackson!
I always thought to myself “wouldn’t it be great if Mark Fisher did the staging to Michael’s show”. Finally, Mark Fisher is doing the staging to a Michael Jackson show, it’s just such a pity that Michael is not here to see it. (By the way, Mark also did Janet Jackson’s staging)
I am guessing that Michael purposefully chose to have a very classic looking stage. If you look at Michael’s staging over the tour you will notice that it is always very conservative and very TRADITIONAL. That means a rectangular stage – lights around the side and at the back, an open band behind him, you can see the technicians behind and at the side as well as the security. It was always a very Brectian epic theatre style production, as in you see everything that happens with no attempt to hide the show mechanisms and production behind nonsense.
The crowd were at a Michael Jackson show to see Michael Jackson and you didn’t need a million dancers and a crazy stage … you just needed a stage. You can see how Michael was inspired by James Brown in situations like this, If you want an insight into this you can watch Michael discuss the staging during “Man in the mirror” during the Dangerous Tour rehearsals. He politely reprimands the crew for a raising stage platform for a pointless “Tilt” and he constantly though the years talked about the “Billie Jean” dance having to have to be danced “down here” and not “up there” at the top of a platform.
In that sense … it makes sense that Mark Fisher joins the team now. His staging IS the show. With Pink Floyd or U2 this makes sense, but with Michael Jackson HE is the show, the staging was always irrelevant.
Pink Floyd inspiring Michael Jackson’s History Tour
Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” has a massive Pink Floyd connection and tomorrow we are going to look at the original album version but today I want to point out the most obvious Pink Floyd influence on the King of Pop’s show, namely “Black or White” during the History Tour!
Take a look at this performance of “Black or White” from the “History Tour” in Munich in 1997 (watch the whole thing but with a focus on 4.35:
Pink Floyd and the Wall
Michael Jackson build up the wall to bring it down with a massive display of pyrotechnics and explosions … where did he get this idea? Well… Pink Floyd the same thing (but on a much bigger scale in 1979!)
To see it, go to 7.10 on this video from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters performing in Berlin:
With respect to Michael’s performance THAT is the way you bring down a wall on the stage! The same guy that designed that is now the set designers of “The Michael Jackson Immortal Tour” so you can see that he doesn’t mess around! It would have been great for them to do it when Michael was still with us.
You can see his staging projects in his own gallery here
There are many many more Pink Floyd influences in Michael Jackson’s shows and especially the song “Earth Song”. I had a good talk about it with one of Pink Floyd and I will tell you about our conversation in our next “Michael Jackson and the Pink Floyd connection” and what he said about Michael!
By Anthony King (c)
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