Michael's death was the shock heard around the world. He was the biggest entertainer in the world, on par with Elvis.
I saw him live a bunch of times over the years with the Jackson 5, then on his own. They were the best shows I've seen in my life by anyone. Electrifying from downbeat one. He's grimacing, you can feel the pain, he's singing "She's outta my life," he's crying, you have the drama, you have the theater performance, and this incredible passion that shines through him with this unbelievable singing ability, and unbelievable dancing ability. All that singing and dancing, he was doing it for real. And all these people, all these pop stars today, they're not really singing onstage and they're kind of prancing around — there were no Pro Tools then, there were no singers prancing around with wireless mics, not singing. They're faking it, he was real. That's why it's a shock heard around the world: this is the real deal. This is no fake. We will never see anything like this again in our lifetime. The best performer in the world is Michael Jackson.
I met him backstage at a show, in my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was on tour with the Jacksons, and he was unbelievable. I was in awe, because I knew I'd met one of the greatest of our lifetime. He was really cool. Kinda shy, he said, "Oh, hey, ya know, I'm glad you liked the show."
Every artist I've ever worked with has been somehow been touched and inspired by Michael Jackson. You can't be a performer today, or any day, that sets foot onstage and didn't watch some of those performances, some of those videos, some of that magnetism, some of that whatever about him, and put that into your own show. If they're saying they aren't, then they're lying.