A video of Michael Jackson rehearsing for his London This Is It! concerts at Los Angeles' Staples Center on June 23rd, just two days before the singer's death, has been released to CNN. The footage shows Jackson and his backup dancers performing choreography to HIStory single "They Don't Care About Us." The video comes just days after AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips refuted claims that Jackson was frail and listless during his last rehearsals at the Staples Center. AEG Live, the company staging the 50 This Is It! concerts at London's O2 Arena, provided CNN with the video.
"We have, and we may at some point release, some footage of him in rehearsal that would totally refute that," Phillips said of claims Jackson was weak. The video seems to prove Phillips' point, as Jackson dances fluidly and in pace with his backups. It's unclear if Jackson was singing live. The video, as well as the photographs from the June 23rd rehearsal, provides fans with a preview of what the planned This Is It! spectacle.
As Rock Daily reported yesterday, Phillips was hopefully that fans would see the This Is It! concert in some capacity eventually, either as a tribute concert or the rumored DVD of the rehearsals. "The world needs to see this production, and it's done, we have it in a vaultâ€¦ it would have been one of the most amazing arena shows ever," Phillips said.
Also today, Us Weekly reports that Jackson's London gigs were going to include a duet with eldest son Prince Michael. "He wanted his kids to see him perform at least once to get the vibe of the Michael Jackson mania," Jackson's publicist Stuart Backerman reveals. And while fans knew Jackson had one album in the works (he was collaborating with Akon and Will.i.am, among others), Billboard reports Michael actually had two records on the horizon — the pop LP and a classical, instrumental record.
• O2 Promoters Say Footage Shows Strong Jackson, "Amazing" Show
• Michael Jackson's "This Is It!" Show May Become All-Star Tribute
• Michael Jackson Photos From "This Is It!" Rehearsals Emerge