Every Michael Jackson fan is very familiar with MJ’s Dangerous Tour concert Live in Bucharest from 1992. The concert is the only Michael Jackson concert officially released on DVD and officially released to broadcast in full worldwide (excluding the History Tour in Korea)
Michael Jackson performed his Dangerous Tour concert in Romania’s capital Bucharest on the 1st October 1992 at the Bucharest National Stadium. The concert was sold out to a crowd of 70,000. The tickets were subsidised to an extent where Michael made no profit literally giving them away to the impoverished nation and he particularly picked this concert to highlight the plight of the Romanian people around the world. This was also achieved by various visits to orphanages around the country. Michael was always generous and always visited the children quietly with gifts but a particular spotlight was placed on the suffering of the people for this show with Michael’s Heal the Word charity being the main focus of the show.
One of my good friends was a security guard for Michael at this concert and he would always tell me that the security, who should be watching the crowd were busy watching the amazing show instead! We’ll be taking a look at this concert with a little review with a focus on some fun aspects of the show and broadcasts.
This Michael Jackson concert was chosen to be broadcast around the world with various edits. It was FIRST broadcast live on BBC Radio – this is the audio version of the actual show. Most subsequent versions have been edited and changed. The concert was also broadcast after the Oprah Winfrey interview on the BBC in November 1992 and a few weeks later on HBO in the United States. The same HBO version was broadcast on German television (including Sat One). Italy’s Rai Uno also, broadcast the BBC version of the show with an in studio commentator. The show was also rebroadcast on the BBC the next week with a edited highlights version with shorted versions of Jam and Thriller and completely cutting out many songs.
The original Bucharest broadcast edit
It’s my understanding that the ORIGINAL BBC version was edited by the Top Of The Pops editor (possibly from an official Michael Jackson feed). Without doubt, this is the worst edit of a show known to man and a disgrace to the profession! 🙂 It COMPLETELY misses most of the action on stage, sometimes filming an empty stage or scaffolding instead of the action. For example, Michaels explosive entrance, being thrust from the stage is completely missed while the director focuses one small pyrotechnic. The Thriller dancers entrance is totally missed while the ending of the song, the main illusion is totally missed. Smooth Criminal and Michael world famous lean illusion is totally filmed from the wrong angle so you don’t see the illusion! The Michael Jackson Moonwalk in Billie Jean is totally missed while the camera is focusing on his feet and then head (you can hear Michael’s direction on how to film his moonwalk on the Oprah Winfrey … he is totally clear – from the side!
Apparently Michael Jackson has a cold during this concert but this is not clear. Let’s take a look at some fun aspects of the concert! Before we do, with regard to the music – musically the show is perfect, no mistakes at all, not a chord and not a note. Even the backing vocal tracks are perfectly editing and mixed (nice fade in’s on Smooth Criminal and Heal the World especially, giving a true “Live” sensation).
This is a great performance and you can hear the progression of this song during the tour. The one thing which stands out musically is the elongated chords on Jennifer Battens guitar. They almost replace the (later) added Keyboards. In addition the electric bass in almost non existent in comparison the say the last concerts of the tour where the bass is the foundation of the song. Dance wise he was on form and he particularly had a lot of speed in his side moonwalks, which is very clear in this song.
Wanna Be Startiing Somethin
This song is always one of Michael most energetic live performances and he didn’t let us down on this show. If you notice the key of this song in this concert is lower than the original album version of the song BUT also lower than the opening night concert the Dangerous Tour in Munich. He obviously found it difficult to hit the notes on that opening night and it was sorted for this concert. David Williams really shined during this song and Michael was happy. You can see him throwing away his arm bandage, after it looks like the amazing Michael Bush forgot to collect it, along with his Jacket and Belt after “Jam”.
A very breathy performance and it’s interesting to note the different edits of the song. The vocal entry of Michael and the ending of the song is sometimes broadcast and sometimes not on various versions, with the fade out of the microphone coming sooner and later on some version.
Was a different version, choreography wise from the previous Bad Tour. Taco (the dancer with the dynamite, just before the lean) absolutely killed it with an amazing array of dance moves with his short solo – you can hear Michael planning this on the interlude on the Dangerous Tour Rehearsals at Neverland 91. Have a listen to the beginning of this song with the entry of the lead vocal track. The techinicians slowly raised the volume and this really give the feeling of Michael sing live – very well done. As stated previously, the BBC edit totally missed the famous Lean but this was resolved with the HBO edit with a view from the side … a very good edit indeed!
I just can’t stop loving you and She’s out of my life you will hear the crowd go wild from Michael as he touches his backing singer Siedah Garraat (writer of Man in the Mirror) on the leg. Also You will see various versions of this song in the same edits. Have a look at Michael’s hair in the HBO version, one minute the hair is up in a pony tail, the next it is down. They decided to switch the girl to a more “excited” one for their broadcast instead of the original Michael Jackson fan plucked from the crowd. You can also see that the fan has dropped liquid over herself in her excitement. After the Jackson 5 medley you see Michael come out for the second half of I’ll be There in a Black shiny Jacket – this Jacket was quickly taken from his costume designers back! Have a look at Michael Bush (white beard and hair) through the concert and you can see him wear it. When Michael runs off stage you can see him signalling that he wants a jacket (it is Romania in October – it’s going be FREEZING – which you can see with his breath throughout the concert. When Michael arrives for the second half of the song you can see him smiling and joking with Greg Phillinganes when he get’s back into the spirit of the song.
It’s fun to see Michael laughing to himself at the beginning of this song and the pitch black Bucharest night really emphasizes the song and the set and lighting. Again the editing of the BBC is a complete let down but this is resolved by the time HBO take the helm with additions of explosion sound affects etc. They also edited very wisely with regards to the “double” dancers for this song. If you look, he dances way to over the top and it’s very obvious that this is not Michael Jackson – BBC focus very closely on this dancer and miss the illusion. HBO on the other hand do wide shots for the dancer getting the skeletons and whole stage and zoom in for the illusion – very wisely and well done indeed in comparison the the BBC version.
Billie Jean, in the original concert for the first line you see Michael grab his microphone and the stand sweeps back towards his face, which he quickly avoids and continues (after missing the first word). This is removed for the HBO version with the scene placed with the same part, without the mistake, from the Munich concert opening night. Same with the Moonwalk edits – the HBO version resolved the mistakes from the BBC version with shorter shots but more in context and actually showing the performance.
Full Michael Jackson Bucharest 1992 concert track list:
“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”
“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”
“She’s Out of My Life”
“I Want You Back/The Love You Save”
“I’ll Be There”
“Workin’ Day and Night”
“Will You Be There”
“Black or White”
“Heal the World”
“Man in the Mirror”
One of the highlights of this concert has to be Man in the Mirror. Take a look at this on closely and you’ll see some interesting things. Michael starts the song whist the stage is in motion and resetting after Heal the world and you can have a look at the way the staging mechanism changed during Man in the mirror during the Dangerous Tour Rehearsals (you can find that on youtube). The HBO version has shots from Munich as well as Bucharest. You can see, for example that during Michael’s long spin (taken from Michael’s opening night in Munich) the backing singers clothes change from Blue to Orange and back mid spin! You can also see a version, from the original concert where Michael climbs out onto the scaffolding and Michael Bush goes out to get him, you can see that the sound is taken from a different show if you look closely. The perfect ending to a show and into Heal the world instrumental. In the original show it went back into Carmina Burana, a more exciting ending, after the rocket man, and into the fireworks, if you ask me.
Michael Jackson’s Bucharest concert in Romania was amazing and songs like Working Day and Night and Beat it were on another level. The edited version was later released on DVD selling millions of copies, it was also released on with Michael Jackson’s Ultimate collection. You can find the various versions on youtube if you look and you can see all of the subtle differences – some very rare indeed … a great concert!
By Anthony King (c)
I think that Michael Jackson’s dancing in this concert was one of his best shows ever.