Luxe Life Blog
Photo Gallery: Michael Jackson rehearsed for show shortly before his death
Just two days before Michael Jackson’s shocking and tragic death, the King of Pop was onstage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles rehearsing for the This Is It show. Michael invited longtime celebrity photographer and friend Kevin Mazur, founder of WireImage, to take the first -- and unknowingly -- last photos of him singing and dancing for the 50-concert run set to open in London on July 13.
Kevin, who photographs all the awards shows and TV spectaculars broadcast from Las Vegas, commented: “I am devastated by the sudden loss of the King of Pop, who I have photographed numerous times since the Victory Tour in the ’80s. When he hit the stage at rehearsal, I was thrilled that the magical Michael Jackson was back! I felt the same adrenaline rush as when I photographed him the first time moonwalking. I was so looking forward to shooting the O2 Arena performances with the amazing production that Kenny Ortega and AEG put together with Michael for his fans.”
These photos were taken last Tuesday, just 36 hours before Michael collapsed and suffered cardiac arrest. They show a happy, confident and enthusiastic star in his return to the stage, albeit looking the thinnest I've ever seen him. The photos were officially released this afternoon as a media handout by AEG, who was producing Michael’s show at its 02 Arena in London. The giant sets and stages erected for the rehearsals in Staples were due to be packed up and flown to England this week, and Michael would have arrived in London this weekend.
AEG at 9 p.m. today will announce refund information for people who purchased tickets. We’ll have those details tomorrow, along with a hoped-for story now being developed about how plans are picking up speed for portions of the This Is It show to be repackaged as a tribute concert to Michael, complete with the magic effects of floating light balls and burning beds, plus the dancers, cast and circus artists who were due to fly to London. About $30 million had been invested through last week in the staging of what was to be the most spectacular pop music show ever presented.
Insiders are telling me that if the tribute is staged in London, it also will be presented here in Las Vegas later as part of the three-year world tour that was contemplated in the original contracts with Michael.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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