Almost everybody thinks the same thing when they hear his name—Michael Jackson.
Images of an emotionally and physically scarred ghoul come to mind, a shadow of his former superstar self.
That is why it came as such a shock when I saw “This Is It,” the archive footage of the rehearsals for Michael’s final concert event, edited into a posthumous feature film.
Michael Jackson was on FIRE, and not in the Pepsi sense.
His dancing was energetic, his singing was perfectly on pitch, and he looked, if one could see past the wreckage of his facial structure, to be the same old Michael who changed pop music forever.
The visual aspects of the extravaganza were months in the making. A small army of dancers, musicians, set technicians and computer graphic artists were planning something truly special. The stage itself was extremely complicated, a constantly morphing, dynamic tribute to the star power Michael commanded.
When watching the movie, I was constantly shocked by what I can only describe as a sense of voyeurism. This wasn’t a press conference, or interview, but a glimpse into the working habits of the mythical creature everyone knew about but few people really knew.
Shot on several small handheld cameras, and edited together with skill, this is as close as we can get to seeing the final act in a long, strange odyssey.
Michael was directing every aspect of the show, down to minute details. His command of the stage was unquestioned, and he was really planning for this to be the final spectacle from the man who re-invented the word itself.
Sadly, I feel that I gained a special insight into the events surrounding Michael’s death. It’s no wonder he collapsed, seeing how hard he was pushing himself. But I also felt that if Michael had one final wish, it would only been to perform the show- to prove again that he was the baddest man in music.