Michael Iceberg

If that name rings a bell, you probably visited Disney in the ‘70’s or ‘80’s. If you’ve never heard of this guy, you haven’t lived. Michael Iceberg was my introduction to synthesizers, and he left a lasting impression on me.

Iceberg was a consummate showman. He and his iceberg machine would rise up from below the stage, spouting dry ice and colorful strobe lights. His performances were often accompanied by videos. He played multiple keyboards simultaneously, all while manipulating hundreds of knobs and less sophisticated items that he often scavenged from junk yards. You knew this to be true because his machine was surrounded by mirrors. He seemed superhuman to me when I was a child.

Michael Iceberg was the highlight of my many Disney visits. He symbolized possibility for me. He demonstrated that whatever you dreamed of could be made even more grand and magical, if you let your imagination run wild. He made me hopeful for the future.

Yes, synthesizers have become a lot more sophisticated than they were in the days of Michael Iceberg at Disney. Looking at his videos now, I do think that a modern performer could achieve the same results with a lot less effort and space. And a lot less talent. That person wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining, and he or she definitely wouldn’t be as memorable.

Thanks, Michael Iceberg, for being such a big part of my childhood that I still remember you, fondly, 45 years later.

iceberg

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