July 7th, 2009
01:46 PM ET

A concert-like memorial

There is nothing more appropriate than to say goodbye to Michael Jackson than singing - and lots of it. This memorial for the King of Pop is like a concert. The Andrae Crouch Choir sounded like angels. There are screens everywhere for those with nose-bleed seats to watch the singing, and those fans are just thankful for getting in the Staples Center. Mariah Carey just finished belting her heart out.

Look for the memorial tribute album soon.

Still up next: Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Lionel Richie, Usher and Stevie Wonder.

July 7th, 2009
01:40 PM ET

Does not get more down-to-earth than KFC

Former NBA star Magic Johnson recalls how at a meeting for the music video "Remember the Time," the NBA star went for the grilled chicken, but Michael Jackson kept it real with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The crowd roared with laughter.

Who knew this side of Jackson? Well, his fans did.

As speakers and performers recount stories and lessons learned from Jackson at his memorial, iReporters are remembering when they met Jackson. And all of them commented on how human and down-to-earth he was.

iReporter Tabitha Messick

iReporter Tabitha Messick said the news about Jackson's death brought back a cherished memory of Jackson dining at the same restaurant as her in an Orlando, Florida Benihana in 2003.

The owners closed the restaurant to additional customers and allowed patrons to take pictures, at right, and talk with Michael for more than two hours.

"Michael was so gracious and generous," Messick remembers.

iReporter Randy Goldfarb recalls her "unbelievable and surreal" moment with Jackson, who made a surprise afternoon appointment with Goldfarb's dentist office in 2004 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Goldfarb and the rest of the staff thought it was joke, but then Michael appeared around noon with one bodyguard.

"He was the nicest guy you could imagine. He introduced himself as if he was an ordinary guy that I had never heard of," Goldfarb said.

Michael was "soft spoken, gentle, and kind. He signed autographs, took pictures with us, and even sang."

Do you have any Michael Jackson meetings to share? Post them below:

– Writer/Producer Intern Breeana Hare

July 7th, 2009
10:58 AM ET

Memorable event before memorial

Shelley Brookshire and Dee Taylor

For Shelley Brookshire and her daughter, Dee Taylor, the last 48 hours have been memorable. They left their home in Long Beach, Calif., at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday – their golden wristbands secure on their hands.

Taylor recalled the precise time she’d learned she’d won the Michael Jackson tickets in the lottery – 10:05 a.m. Sunday.

And by 6:30 Tuesday morning, they were outside the Staples Center, on Pico Street, awaiting the start of the memorial service.

– Associate Producer Jacque Wilson

 

July 7th, 2009
10:02 AM ET

Most loyal global fans go the distance for Jackson

From Switzerland to Malaysia, fans make a pilgrimage to California to honor their music idol. We've heard how Michael Jackson touched the lives of millions of Americans, but what about international fans who have traveled thousands of miles to pay their respects?

July 7th, 2009
09:47 AM ET

Generosity of a stranger

Michelle Mann and Basra Arte

Michelle Mann and Basra Arte, both 18, flew in from Vancouver, Canada, to honor Michael Jackson, their pop icon. They were outside the Staples Center this morning, brimming with excitement ­ and celebrating the generosity of a complete stranger.

"It's overwhelming," Mann said. "We can't believe that we're here."

The two had appeared on Canadian television and said they planned to fly to Los Angeles for the memorial service - even though they had no tickets. Six hours before their flight, 15-year-old Karlo Karanan, who'd seen them on TV, tracked them down and gave them his.

"I'm looking forward to being in the presence of other fans," Arte said. "The energy is going to be amazing."

– Lisa Respers France, CNN.com Writer

July 7th, 2009
09:29 AM ET

Jackson's neighborhood in mourning

In Holmby Hills - an affluent neighborhood situated between Beverly Hills and Bel Air, California - residents and tourists remember the King of Pop. Here is where Michael Jackson lived until his death.

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