Michael loved hearing from the audience, gauging what worked, what didn’t, what they wanted more of. It wasn’t uncommon for Michael to do a stadium show for a crowd of 120,000, sometimes 180,000 people, absorb their energy, and let it fuel him for days on end. The problem was he couldn’t turn it off. When we weren’t doing back-to-back shows, I’d sometimes go one or two days without seeing Michael, and he’d confess, “Bush, I haven’t gone to sleep yet.”
Michael was a machine, and machine break down, even though we took precautions to keep him healthy. For example, air travel was always a risk because there was a chance we could get sick: He picked up the idea to cover his mouth with a mask from the people in Asia, where it is commonly used as a germ guard. Then Michael thought, Why would I wear just a plain one? Michael Jackson didn’t just wear a surgical mask; he had to transform it into a fashion accessory. We bought a surgical mask and cut the pattern from it to make Michael’s silk masks in black and solid jewel tones. After a while I think Michael felt safe behind the mask, so its function evolved to become more of a protective shield.
- Michael Bush