I have to say I was not happy about still being in Qatar this past Friday night, but since the fights back to DC was overbooked (was trying get home to see a sick family member) I opted to hang out with some friends. They suggested the Qube, which I had never been to before. I figured why not mix it up and try something beyond the W.
It must be stated that I am generally not a fan of nightclubs, having spent the better part of my teens and early twenties hitting pagodes, boites, raves and assorted beach dance parties on four continents—as a bartender, promoter and patron. So maybe I was a bit jaded to start. When we walked in and paid (this is not something I am used to doing) I visibly recoiled at the sounds coming from the stage. It was an all girl Philippina cover band. They preformed renditions of the MJ classics interspersed with such karaoke staples as the BeeGee and KC and Sunshine Band. I was having flashbacks to bartending on Bourbon Street and the house bands.
When their set was mercifully, over the DJ took up right were they left off, with mixes that resembled pressing shuffle on Billboard Magazine Greatest Pop Hits playlist. After what could only have been 20 minutes but seemed like 3 hours the main attraction took the stage. It was a regional MJ impersonator. The face may have been all-wrong but the clothes and choreographed moves were not Bad (bad get it).
He lip-synced and danced with his backup troop to the delight of a crowd. From the top deck the crowd appeared to be a sea of phones and digital cameras. Now I was luckily enough to have seen him live twice when he was still Off the Wall. The Victory and Bad Tours were really big events in my childhood, so an impersonator was not going to send me reaching for the digital camera.
Until I thought about it—here I was half a world away from the States watching an impersonator of the greatest pop star in history and people we still going crazy.
I left DC the day after he died and remember being out on U-street with his music playing from bars, lounges and passing cars for hours but for some reason I was still only associating that type of MJ love with home. Of course I remember the fainting fans from his sold out 80’s world tours but I also remember watching the pedophilia trial in Maputo as well as the baby and the balcony incident in Salvador that brought a general bashing from the world press.
It really was nice to see that people here still remember him as the King of Pop and not just the tabloid fodder he became later in life.