Kansas City, Mo. — So this is Michael Jackson: the Pied Piper of pop music singing cross country , the modern-day Peter Pan who at 25 touches base with the outside world by waving a white glove and saying - in a smiling, child's voice - ''I love you all!''
His fans - who range in age from 8 months to 80 years - have purchased more than 35 million copies of his album ''Thriller,'' the all-time best seller - though he signs no autographs and grants no interviews.
But he sings. And in Kansas City, three capacity audiences paid $30 per ticket to hear him do so as he opened a four-month nationwide ''Victory'' tour with his brothers. Tonight, the show opens its next stand - Dallas - where it stays through Sunday.
To his adoring following, Michael is most ''awesome.'' To his detractors, he is the incomplete entertainer, whose $30 price is too high and whose concert is too short. But his followers are reveling over a ''Victory'' concert that offers 17 selections and 100 minutes of music and dance.
This long-awaited ''final tour'' - Michael says it's his last personal appearance on the road with his brothers - began here with a three-night stand (all sellouts). Each night there were 45,000 screaming and dancing, but notably well-behaved, fans at Arrowhead Stadium, a football arena converted into an outdoor concert hall. The security force of more than 300 reported no serious incidents.
But this touring show is more than entertainment. To engineers it is a fantastic creation of high-tech sound, lights, and electronic magic. It involved the designing and construction of a giant double-duty stage - one for outdoors, and a smaller version, designed by Jackson, for indoors.
To the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), this tour is an act of goodwill: Jackson agreed to give the NAACP the right to conduct voter registration campaigns throughout the ''Victory'' tour. He also promised donations to three unannounced charities.
And for his fans, Jackson has seen to it that future ticket buyers will no longer need to put up $120 to get tickets for the tour. Single, non-mail order tickets (at $30 apiece) can be obtained beginning with the New York stop.
As for the show, what an evening of utter excitement it is. The Jackson brothers emerge on stage to ''Kreeton,'' a bombastic space-age overture supplemented by fireworks, laser beams, and eerie creatures. Suddenly a white knight appears - Randy Jackson to his squealing fans - with magic sword, Excalibur, in hand to end the nuclear age pyrotechnics. Then the moment arrives. From the depths of the big stage emerge the Jacksons, dancing and singing ''We wanna be startin' somethin'.''
The big show is on.
Michael takes center stage, wearing his trademark rhinestone bangled white jacket with the white glove on his right hand, plus big striped black and white slacks. He waves to his admirers as they scream, tosses his white glove offstage , and with his brothers takes off his dark glasses.
Dancing feet prance. Fans join them in perpetual motion, rarely taking their seats.
After a few songs, Germaine - who has fashioned a career of his own as a solo artist - croons ''Do You Like Me?'' He is joined by Michael in a duet, ''Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin','' to the joyous heartbeat of the crowd.
Michael takes a break at this point in the show. The brothers return to their Motown Records heyday with a medley, ''I Want You Back,'' ''Stop the Love You Save,'' and ''I'll Be There.'' A ''space war'' halts the show musically. It's a high-tech attack - a flight through space, tentacles from the outer world, grabbing the brothers. There's a chase in space, creepy sounds, fire, and destruction. A final booming explosion jolts the crowd. Then quiet.
Michael comes through the floor followed by his brothers, all clad in space outfits. They are safe.
The reward? ''Beat It!'' Fans join Michael in song. Then comes ''Billy Jean, '' then ''Shake Your Body.''
And the show is over.
The debut is history, but discussion persists.
What kind of person is Michael Jackson? In public with the media, he appears to be somewhat hesitant, willing to speak only briefly and always concluding with, ''I love you all!''
He said so when at the NAACP conference where the voter registration plan was announced.
''Everything has worked well in Kansas City,'' says Joseph Madison of Detroit , who heads this NAACP project. ''We have teams in place to register the people who don't vote - youth. And many are Jackson family fans.''
In fact, audiences at the concerts tend to be family affairs. Most are parents, grannies, and children. The crowds in Kansas City were predominantly white, but that was due to the random selection of ticket buyers, says promoter Charles (Chuck) Sullivan.
After Dallas, the tour goes on to Jacksonville, Fla., July 21-23; New York City, the first stop for non-mail order tickets, Aug. 2-5; Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 10, 11; Indianapolis, Aug. 17, 18; Detroit, Aug. 25, 26; Los Angeles, Sept. 2-4, 7-9, 11, and 12; Buffalo, Sept. 28, 29; Philadelphia, Oct. 5, 6; Pittsburgh , Oct. 13, 14; Cleveland, Oct. 19, 20, and Anaheim, Calif., Nov. 7, 8.