26 years ago on this date, Michael Jackson performed for the first time in Poland in Warsaw in Bemowo on September 20th, 1996, for more than 100 000 people!
Part of the ‘HiStory Tour’, this visit looked like a presidential visit. Indeed, apart from the concert, Michael Jackson was welcomed as an official
From the moment he stepped off his private Boeing 707 at Okęcie International Airport on September 18, 1996, he was greeted by dozens and dozens of children dressed in traditional Polish clothing and flowers given to him. At the airport and throughout his visit, his fans were there, and many times he went to see them and share some words, signing autographs, joking with them, kissing them…
Staying at the Marriott Hotel presidential suite, he was greeted with the same hospitality and attention he received at the airport. The entire 40th floor had been booked, 67 rooms, and a wooden floor laid in one of the rooms to allow him to train.
A few minutes later, he went to a toy and record store, protected by numerous police officers. On videos that can be found here and there on the Internet, we see Michael Jackson put CD’s, books in a basket. According to the Gazeta Wyborcza, among the albums chosen were his own, the Jacksons, James Brown’s music, and Jazz. He even allowed himself to take a look at the ‘Disco-Polo’ section.
Before meeting President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and his wife Jolanta, Michael Jackson asked to visit the Old Town, causing a delay at the Presidential Palace (MJ’s privilege). He also met the mayor of the city and visited with Jolanta, the wife of the President of the Republic, an orphanage located at No. 4 Rakowiecka Street in the north of Mokotów. The same children were invited to participate in the song ‘Heal The World’ and to sing the chorus.
On September 20, 1996, on the old Bemowo airport runway, over 100,000 people attended the historic and exceptional Michael Jackson concert. A mathematical anecdote, 100,000 tickets were sold to attend the concert, but the police found that over 120,000 people attended the event (one of the two concerts with the largest audience of all 82 concerts on the tour along with Prague).
Because the concert area was so large, it was not possible for the police to monitor every crossing point leading to the concert. So many people took advantage of the loopholes to attend the event.
He left Warsaw the next day and came back a year later in a private way, including the creation of an amusement park that unfortunately was never built.
Until 2019, the Bemowo Amphitheater was named Michael Jackson, following the death of the King of Pop. In August 2009, the Amphitheater was named Michael Jackson as a reference of the district where Michael Jackson performed for the first and last time in Poland at the Bemowo’s Airport on September 20th, 1996 for 120 000 people.
Header photo: Michael Jackson live “Dangerous Tour” in Monza (Italy) 06/07/1992 – Daniele Dalledonne (Wikimedia)