The 12 Most Iconic Michael Jackson Live Stage Performances

The 12 Most Iconic Michael Jackson Live Stage Performances
© Steve R. Nickerson/Detroit Free Press/TNS/Sipa USA

Michael Jackson had never hesitated to pull off a stunt that would shock the people. And that habit evolved over time, from music videos to live performances. In this article, we’ll look back to a handful of most Iconic live stage performances of MJ. They’re so much to talk about for such topics, but we have kept it nice and short for you.

12. They Don’t Care About – Munich (1997)

As a part of the HIStory tour, Michael Jackson came to Munich in 1997. Dressed as an army General, he marched on the stage with his dance crew. As if he had taken over the territory and performed the ceremonial parade. The feeling of being present in that magical moment was inexplicably beautiful as some viewers expressed. The anti-establishment essence of “They Don’t Care About Us” synced with that environment very well.

11. Dangerous – Munich (1999)

Michael’s 1999 Munich concert is incredible for many reasons. The song “Dangerous” was performed after a medley. That technique, those moves, and geese, the stage- that’s awesome. The choreography was exquisitely unique and fresh. No wonder Mr. Jackson was a perfectionist. Unfortunately, after that performance, an accident occurred on the stage which caused Michael a minor injury.

10. Smooth Criminal – Munich (1997)

The HIStory World Tour of 1997 is famous for many reasons. As a part of that tour, Munich experienced the best ever performance of “Smooth Criminal”. He crushed it on the stage, with every bit of the choreography and music played perfectly. The perfectionist he was, reflects all around his works. Here the silhouette on the curtain with different sizes of shadow, you have to give MJ the credit for his keen eye to details. That whole performance was huge all together, but it particularly stood out.

9. Earth Song – Munich (1997)

Every tour was different and every performance HIStory tour of 1997 in Munich followed the same motto. There was MJ on the stage, his angelic voice asked “what about sunrise?”. The “Earth Song” performance of that night reclaimed his kingdom.

8. Man In The Mirror – Bucharest (1992)

The 1992 Dangerous tour of MJ in Bucharest, Romania is still vivid in the memories of many MJ fans. A stadium packed with the audience, watching such a grand music concert for the first time in their lives, such a beautiful moment. Michael performed his song “Man in The Mirror”, the whole stadium sang in the chorus. The gentle and calm MJ appeared hazy smoked stage as if it were a dream-come-true for many people.

7. Another Part of Me – Wembley Stadium (1988)

As a live spectator of the 1988 Wembley live performance of Michael Jackson, John Peel wrote “he took control with a performance of matchless virtuosity”. He certainly was accurate about MJ’s charm and style. The King of Pop knew how to take control over the stage and audience. He performed the song “Another Part of Me”, and the whole stadium suddenly came to life as if his voice brought the blessings of energy.

6. Jam – Bucharest (1992)

In an article covering MJ’s Dangerous tour in Bucharest, Variety reported, “A Michael Jackson concert has about as much spontaneity as a space shuttle launch”. I couldn’t agree more. The King Of Pop jumped out of nowhere and stood still on the stage for around 100 seconds and the audience went crazy. Then he took off his sunglasses and yes, the wait ended. “Jam”, his then released song was being performed throughout the stage as if MJ didn’t want to leave a single inch unhampered. MJ’s dangerous tours have many records, but that night of 1992 in Bucharest is the most cherished memory of many Michael Jackson fans. 

5. 30th Grammy Award Ceremony (1988)

It was an evening of 2nd March 1988 in Radio City Music Hall, New York City. Michael Jackson was given 10 minutes to perform in the 30th Grammy Awards ceremony. The rest is written in golden letters. That night Michael’s performance was undoubtedly the most magnificent thing those people ever experienced. In the beginning, The silhouette of MJ first appeared through the curtains and the audience cheered for the first time and they never stopped. He performed “The Way You Make Me Feel”, starting with his iconic style, he soon caught up with that impeccable rhythm. The next song was “Man in The Mirror” with a choir team at the back. And believe me, when I say this: it was the most soulful live performance ever. The show was during Michael’s Bad tour, later it became the highest-grossing album tour.

4. Billie Jean – Madison Square Garden (2001)

To celebrate MJ’s 30th anniversary, the Madison Square Garden was roaring; thousands of his fans including celebrities attended the show. The performance of Billie Jean rocked the stage and it went on to be Michael’s last epic performance. He never performed moonwalk again. His extremely flexible and rhythmic dance pattern created a storm which lasted till the show ended.

3. MTV Music Awards (1995)

The 1995 MTV Video Music Award Show was something different than the previous years. With Michael Jackson’s new album HIStory: Past, Present, and Future: Book I released, the show was an attempt to rekindle the old nostalgias. Accompanied with the Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, MJ performed four of his evergreen songs “Beat It,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Black or White” and “Smooth Criminal”. The 15-minute show was an-all square hit and later that night Michael bagged two awards as well.

2. Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983)

The Silver Jubilee show of Motown records is mostly remembered for one reason: moonwalking and a new Michael Jackson. After the performance of The Jackson 5 crew, who were gathered after a long time, MJ took to the stage on his own. The contagious beat of “Billie Jean” touched the ear and so started the mesmerizing moves of a sequined shirt. Michael leap synced through the whole song but the more important thing was the dancing. In 1983, Michael Jackson first performed the so-called backslide, which was later known as the moonwalk. Many MJ fans would argue that performance changed his life and made him The King of Pop. Full Story.

1. Super Bowl XXVII Halftime Show (1993)

The kids of the ’80s had the chance of experiencing the 1993 Superbowl halftime, and that’s something you only get to see once. His magical performance led the NFL to gain a massive viewer base from that game and forever thereafter. MJ’s Heal The World Foundation was specially promoted through this performance. There are some wonderful facts about that show as the whole stage was apparently constructed in under 6 minutes and it was surrounded by approx thousands of kids. More Read.