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This is it for Michael Jackson

By Steve Pries
On November 9, 2009

On June 25, 2009 the internet almost crashed. Not just one website, the entire internet. The drug-related death of Michael Jackson wasn't just devastating to the music industry, but to the entire world. Sure people will choose to remember the controversies that encompassed Michael's career, like the "adventures" at Neverland Ranch, the ghoulish complexion, the decision to hang his baby over a balcony, and the fact that at any given moment, the object on his face that resembled a nose could fall off. "This Is It," a documentary showing the rehearsals for his sold-out 50 concert performance in London, dissolved those memories and reminded us that Michael was something entirely of his own, the "King of Pop."

At the time of filming, Michael was a 50-year-old man who could not have weighed more than 90 pounds. "This is it," Jackson told his fans in London as he announced his farewell tour, "This is the final curtain call." From the information that surfaced after his death, my expectations were not very high for this film. I was wrong.

This documentary was nothing as I envisioned it would be. Jackson wasn't the sick and drug-dependant man the media depicted him as, he was a man whose love for his music and his fans prevented him from showing any signs of aging.

From the beginning, Michael proved that he has no bones in his body as he displayed his supernatural dancing ability. At age 50, he could still get from point A to point B without his feet leaving the floor. He was surrounded by dancers half his age and yet, the fluidity of his moves and the ease in which he danced still made him the best out there. Director Kenny Ortega, Michael, and the staff, had designed a stage that was other-worldly. From 3-D scenes, fireworks, fire, and the ever changing stage set-up, "This Is It," would have made the concert and unforgettable experience.

While the documentary shows the "hits" that Michael would have performed, his voice was the only aspect of the performance that needed assistance. Michael's voice sounded the same as it always has, but needed four backup singers and did have pre-recorded songs played for a few others. This was not disappointing in the least as he clearly wanted this show to be perfect for the fans. This allowed the audience to take away a new perspective of the actual Michael. He was not just another arrogant pop-star. He was humble, patient, demanding, and a perfectionist. He cared about everyone involved with the rehearsals including: the band, backup dancers, technicians, director, and choreographers. He wanted this to be a once in a lifetime experience.

Going to see this movie was a sample of how going to the concert would have felt. In the sold-out theater, people of all ages acted as the concert audience as they clapped after every song, screamed at Michael's gravity defying dance moves, laughed at every crotch grab, sang along to "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" among others, and cried uncontrollably at the conclusion. I'm not kidding, people were really crying. As people consoled each other, it became evident that Michael Jackson's profound impact on the world hasn't diminished since his death.

The "King of Pop" is now dead. The show he rehearsed so hard for never took place. Besides the creepy stories, "This Is It" is the last chance people have to see the true Michael. The two-week showing will come and go, but Michael's music will live forever.

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