Words by Don McVie

In 1984, I worked on the amazing Jacksons’ Victory Tour. Michael and his brothers mesmerized 2 million fans in stadiums all across North America with the likes of “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,” and “I’ll Be There.” It was a breathtaking spectacle that boasted “a million watts of light and sound”—and virtually every show was staged in an NFL-style facility that had no provision for the kind of electrical demands Michael and company wanted or needed for this “Thriller.”

Their solution? Portable power.

For the Jacksons, “portable” entailed trucking around two jet engines each in a custom 50-foot trailer to run the generators supplying the juice needed for the live show. There were huge fuel tanks, full-time electricians on hand and the decibel level in the backstage was ear-splitting. Meanwhile, upfront, it was the best of Michael and his moonwalk.

Every show, we anxiously awaited the comparative calm of a large fireworks display signalling the end of the show and mercy from those relentless power plants. That was the price we paid for the privilege of delivering Michael’s magic!

Today we enjoy kinder, gentler and substantially more accessible portable power options. Generators can be quiet, highly efficient, easy to start, and can run all evening on a small tank of gas or other fuels such as diesel or propane. Designed to be safe for use even with sensitive consumer electronics and available to fit even the minimal demands of camping or keeping the Wi-Fi and cooler operational, portable units can also be potent enough to keep a store operational or to run a construction site when the need arises.

Having a generator ready to go next time the lights go out will make you look and feel like a hero. It’s easy to do. Visit a reputable dealer and ask for some guidance. And tell them “Billie Jean” sent you!