The build-up to the eventpromised to make it one of the biggest spectacles ever televised-but seeingMichael's brothers push his 24-karat gold casket down the aisle as achoir sang the gospel hymn "Soon and Very Soon" sent a message that thememorial would be treated as an intimate funeral even though there were some20,000 in attendance.
When Stevie Wonder sang "TheyWon't Go When I Go," he amended part of the lyric in Michael's honor. "Michael,they won't go where you've gone," Stevie sang.
Usher was one of the most visiblymoved performers as he delivered a chilling rendition of Michael's "Gone TooSoon." Usher frequently sang directly to Michael's mother, Katherine Jackson, and knelt before her when he finished.
One of the most surprisingly sinceretributes of the morning was John Mayer's acousticinterpretation of Michael's "Human Nature." Mayer offered minimalistic vocals,mainly offering the song as a touching instrumental.
The ceremony closed with two evenmore powerful gestures. Lionel Richie kicked off his and Michael's pleas for global peace, "We Are the World"and "Heal the World," joined by background singers and dancers from Michael'scomeback tour "This Is It" that was scheduled to begin next week. Michael's middlechild, daughter Paris, 11, accompanied her aunts and uncles on stage to conveyher love for her late father.
Motown founder Berry Gordy, The Reverend Al Sharpton, PastorLuscious Smith, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. children Martin Luther KingIII and Bernice King were among those who offered uplifting speeches about Michael'slegacy.
- Michael Jackson
- Stevie Wonder