On this day – 31st January 1993
Michael performs a medley of ‘Jam’, ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Black Or White’ and ‘Heal The World’ at the Super Bowl Halftime Show in the Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California before an audience of 100,000 in the stadium and 133 million on TV.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and the Dallas Cowboys faced the Buffalo Bills for Super Bowl XXVII, but more important was halftime. The press had been barred from rehearsals, so no preview of the spectacular was included in any of the pre-game coverage. The 12-ton stage was assembled in under four minutes.
When the time finally came, a giant video screen counted down the last ten seconds and it was announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, Radio City Music Hall Productions and the National Football League are proud to preset an unprecedented Super Bowl spectacular starring Michael Jackson.”
Crowds of people gathered around the stage now set up on the middle of the field at the Rose Bowl. A giant video screen in the corner shows Michael dancing. There’s an explosion and smoke rises from the top of the screen as Michael appears, dancing now on top of the screen. Just a few seconds later the video screen at the opposite side of the field shows Michael again. Again he appears on top of the screen. Following this, fireworks go off at center stage and Michael jumps from beneath the stage and stands motionless amid the fireworks, smoke, and cheers from the 100,000 fans packed into the stadium. Dressed in black with gold bands across his chest, his right arm in a brace, and wearing sunglasses, he stands virtually motionless for over one minute before turning his head and slowly removing the glasses. More fireworks go off and dancers join Michael on stage for a very short version of ‘Jam’.
He removes his jacket, having a white shirt and t-shirt on underneath. He reaches down for a black fedora that has been sitting on the edge of the stage, places it on his head and begins ‘Billie Jean’.
During the crowd’s wild response to ‘Billie Jean’, Michael reaches behind his head and undoes his ponytail, letting his hair down for ‘Black or White’. Smoke and wind machines add great effects to the performance. More fireworks are set off at the song’s conclusion.
While it is announced that, “Ladies and gentlemen, the children of Los Angeles have created their own personal drawings as a gift to the children of the world,” Michael puts his hair back into a ponytail and is handed a long black wand. As he points the wand at the crowd, all the people in the stadium, section by section, hold up cards which together with the cards of the rest of the people seated in that same section make up a youngster’s drawing of a child. Then Michael addresses the crowd:
“Today we stand together all around the world joined in a common purpose, to remake the planet into a planet of joy and understanding and goodness. No one should have to suffer, especially the children. This time we must succeed. This is for the children of the world.”
Thousands of young people lined the stage as Michael sang ‘Heal the World’ and a huge inflatable globe rose from the center of the stage.
More fireworks ended the truly spectacular, and certainly unforgettable, halftime extravaganza.
NBC recognized that Michael was pivotal in making the game the biggest TV attraction in Super Bowl history. Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports President, said of Michael’s performance, “He was better than our wildest dreams… He’s an enormous name with crossover appeal from kids to grandparents, an enormous curiosity even for those for whom he is not star.”
Following the show, ‘Dangerous’ rises to number 26 in the Pop albums chart.
Watch Michael at the Super Bowl Halftime Show here:
The Visual Documentary
This article is taken from The Visual Documentary Facebook page, which publishes facts from one of the most comprehensive books on the King of Pop and the only book to be authorised by Michael himself.
It's written by the founder of MJWN and friend of Michael's, Adrian Grant and we thank him for helping us remember the special moments in Michael's life. We encourage everyone to follow The Visual Documentary on Facebook.