Footage of Michael Jackson’s last stage performance just two days before his death shows the star perform perfect routines with an army of backup dancers.
Taking to the stage at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, Michael Jackson was on fire.
The ‘Man In The Mirror’ star was rehearsing for his upcoming 50-concert London residency ‘This Is It’, his huge ‘comeback’ extravaganza due to start in just 20 days time at the O2 arena.
But Michael Jackson, 50, wouldn’t live to see the UK event take place. Just two days later on June 25, 2009 the star was found dead in his Holmby Hills, Los Angeles home.
Performing ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ from the singer’s 1995 HIStory album, Michael took to the stage with eight backup dancers for an energetic and note perfect rendition of the emotional song.
The star was at his best, showing off his signature powerful dance moves, the huge range of his voice and dominating the stage in the way only the King of Pop could.
The footage, however, comes to a heartbreaking end. When the 1:53 minute rehearsal finishes, the star closes his eyes, turns his face upwards and gently smiles as the lights fade to black around him – bringing a highly emotional finale to the last known footage of the star.
Dorian Holley, the vocal director for Jackson’s upcoming tour, gave an insight into the star’s movements on the last days before his death, saying Michael had marvelled at the incredible sets that had been erected for the upcoming tour.
“He was just glowing, and you could see it, that he was finally seeing it all come together,” Dorian told Time Magazine just three days after the shocking news of the star’s death.
“Up until [the day before his death], it had always been [just a concept], but that last day you could see it in him, that he was seeing the show finally come together for the first time. It was a big moment.”
Dorian, who had worked with Michael Jackson for decades, was still amazed by his vocal and physical prowess.
“He’d take the stage with this group of dancers, all in their 20s, but you couldn’t take your eyes off him … Many of his songs have six or seven parts, and he would often come over if we were missing an important note in our mix, and he would sing through all the parts rapid-fire to show us what he wanted.
“We would just sit there with our jaws open — it was awesome,” Dorian recalled.
“He could still do everything … The only difference now was that he would sometimes talk about how it made him sore.
“This time around, we had the technology to isolate just his microphone and listen to his singing separate from everything else. I had no idea what a genius he was.
“The way he’s able to use his voice as a percussion instrument, lyricist, jazz singer all at the same time. I’m sure as people mine his works in years to come, they’re going to discover how much is there,” he said.
Dorian, who had been working with Michael Jackson since 1987, said there was something different about him while rehearsing in the days leading up to his death, that the star was somehow more complemplative.
“It almost sounds crazy to say that the show wasn’t about him, but … he’d put it in perspective all the time, saying, ‘This is what we’re here for, to spread a message of love and taking care of the planet, that we want people to understand it’s very, very dear and not to take it for granted’.”
Dorian Holley remembers the King of Pop had been ‘preparing to take the world back’ and during the singer’s final night – just hours before his death – he finally knew he was ready.
“You would think that, on the one hand, the world has kind of beaten him up, and you could forgive him for having some trepidation and fear. But he didn’t have any of that,” recalls the vocal director.
“Words fail to describe what people would have seen with the tour.
“He was ready to show the world, and I so wish there could have been just one concert so the world would have seen.”