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Photos of the Michael Jackson’s biggest and most iconic world tour “Bad” back in 1987-1988

Ian Smith

Bad was the first ever solo concert tour by Michael Jackson, launched in support of his seventh studio album Bad (1987). Sponsored by Pepsi and spanning 16 months, the tour included 123 concerts to 4.4 million fans across 15 countries making it the second highest grossing tour of 1988. When the tour concluded it grossed a total of $125 million, adding two new entries in the Guinness World Records for the largest grossing tour in history and the tour with the largest attended audience. In April 1989, the tour was nominated for “Tour of the Year 1988” at the inaugural International Rock Awards.

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (4)

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (6)

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (7)

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (8)

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (9)

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (11)

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (12)

On June 29, 1987, Jackson’s manager Frank DiLeo announced the singer’s plan to embark on his first solo world concert tour.The tour began in Japan, marking Jackson’s first performances in the country since 1973 as part of The Jackson 5. The first nine scheduled concerts that began on September 12 sold out within hours, and five more were added due to high demand. Over 600 journalists, cameramen and fans waited for Jackson’s arrival to the country at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. His pet chimpanzee Bubbles, who took a separate flight, was greeted by more than 300 people.A chartered jumbo jet was used to carry 22 truckloads of equipment, along with Jackson’s entourage of 132 for the tour.The stage set used 700 lights, 100 speakers, 40 lasers, three mirrors and two 24-by-18 foot screens. Performers wore 70 costumes, four of which were attached with fiber optic lights.

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (13)

While in Tokyo, Australian pop music critic Ian “Molly” Meldrum conducted an exclusive interview Jackson and DiLeo that was featured on 60 Minutes in the United States.On September 18, Jackson was handed the Key to the City by Yasushi Oshima, the mayor o fOsaka. He was accompanied by Bubbles, who was the first animal allowed inside the city’s town hall. Jackson dedicated his Japanese concerts to Yoshiaki Hagiwara, a five-year-old boy who was kidnapped and murdered, and gave £12,000 to the parents of Hagiwara.Attendance figures for the first 14 dates in Japan totalled a record-breaking 450,000. Crowds of 200,000 were what past performers could manage to draw for a single tour.Nippon Television was a co-sponsor with Pepsi for the Japanese dates.

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (14)

Jackson performed five concerts in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in Australia in November. While off stage, he spent time visiting sick children at their homes in the Sydney suburbs.

Michael Jackson - BAD WORLD TOUR, 1987-1988 (15)

Rehearsals for the tour’s 1988 leg took place at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, Florida from January 22 to February 18, 1988. Vincent Paterson, who had worked with Jackson on several videos, was brought in to choreograph and co-direct the tour with Michael. On the last day of preparation, Jackson allowed 420 school pupils to watch him rehearse after the children made him a rap music video in his honour.The first performances were to begin in Atlanta, Georgia, yet Pepsi officials objected as the city was home to rival drinks company Coca-Cola.For both Atlanta shows, Jackson gave 100 tickets to the Children’s Wish Foundation for terminally ill children.The first of three concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City in March served as a benefit to raise $500,000 to the United Negro College Fund. Jackson presented a check of $600,000 to the fund. On March 2, 1988, Jackson performed at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards, receiving an enormous standing ovation after performing “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror”. Jackson’s album, Bad was also nominated for Album of the Year at the ceremony.

Jackson began his European tour in Rome at the Flaminio Stadium on May 23, 1988. Police and security guards rescued hundreds of fans from being crushed in the crowd of 30,000.Police reported 130 women fainted at the concert in Vienna on June 2. On June 17, Jackson travelled to the town of Vevey to meet Oona O’Neill, the widow of comic actor Charlie Chaplin. “I have fulfilled my biggest childhood dream”, said Jackson after the visit. The most successful of the European dates were those in London atWembley Stadium. Ticket demand for the five July dates exceeded 1.5 million, enough to fill the 72,000 capacity venue 20 times.Jackson performed seven sold out shows, beating the previous record held by Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Genesis. More shows could have been added, but the venue had reached its quota for live performances.The third concert on July 16 was attended by Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles. On September 8, Jackson was entered into the Guinness World Records, the first of three times from the tour alone. The Wembley shows were attended by a record 504,000 people. Management also presented him with a special award. On July 30, NBC aired Michael Jackson Around the World, a 90-minute special documenting the singer on tour. On August 29, after a birthday performance in Leeds, Jackson donated $130,000 to Give For Life. The final European show was held in Liverpool on September 11, staged at Aintree Racecourse. 1,550 fans were reported injured among the crowd of 125,000.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News