Well, that was that then. That being the doco/footage/film of Michael Jackson’s ‘This is it!’ concert rehearsal. A touching assembly of his final rehearsal performances, unembellished by the voiceover or sentiment you would expect (aside from a subtle title at the start and again at the end).
According to thisisnotit.com, Sony and AEG are guilty of trying to hide how frail and fragile Michael actually was. If this is true, they’ve done a bloody good job!
Think of him what you like, Jackson was undeniably a musical genius and a dance legend. And watching him ‘block’ through the rehearsals, he’s still got it. Or he had it. Until he died, that is. He still hits all the right notes, and has all the moves. His dance troupe are in awe of him, as are his fresh (and more seasoned) backup musicians. Even the concert director defers constantly to him.
That said, you can’t help but think sometimes, that he looks a little like a ‘past-it’ Dad who is trying to be cool to impress his kids’ friends, but ends up embarrassing them instead. Some of his dance moves are questionable to say the least, and got more than a few titters and giggles from our audience. Seeing MJ lying on his back, wiggling his legs in the air like an upside down turtle is an image that will stick with me longer than I’d like!
This was set to be a spectacular concert. This film is ‘for the fans’, it claims at the start. And only a fan could love it. But any fan of music could admire the determination, passion and precision that he brought to the performance. His attention to detail is almost obsessive, and often confusing. He knows his music instinctively and intimately.
Yet he struggles to explain simple things to the director. At one stage his earpiece is bugging him and although he carries on with the rehearsal, afterwards he complains that it’s ‘like a fist is punching his ear’. He can’t say whether it’s too loud, has too much bass, or too much noise – it’s just like a ‘fist in his ear’. It’s this strange childlike persona that fascinated the world, and possibly contributed to his fall from grace (I’m so not getting into that discussion). Let it be said, he was a strange genius. And I’ll leave it at that.
Except for one thing: there were hints throughout the doco that the ‘This is it!’ moniker did not refer to his ‘final concerts’ as many thought, but instead to an environmental theme. In the few moments during the doco where he says more than a few words, it’s either about music or climate change. It’s no secret that MJ liked flowery subjects – Heal the World, Earth Song, Man in the Mirror, We are the world, etc. And when he speaks about his love for people and the planet, he is at his most passionate.
At the end of the rehearsal, and at the end of the day, he asks people to love each other and make the world a better place. A nice sentiment… if only his fans weren’t too busy squabbling about who’s to blame for his death and took it on board.