chapter  8
10 Pages

This Is It

In a London press conference in March 2009, before screaming fans and the world’s media, Michael Jackson bullishly announced his comeback: a run of ten shows over eight months, starting July, to be held in the capital’s 23,000-capacity O2 Arena. After showing up almost an hour late to what was a brief and seemingly drugged-up performance, Jackson declared: ‘This is it, the final curtain call.’ When tickets were released, sales went through the ceiling for This Is It, reportedly selling at their peak at a rate of 16,000 per second. Jackson had not toured since the HIStory World Tour in 1996-97 and had not performed live on stage properly for a decade. On seeing the potential for resale and profit, even non-fans scrambled for tickets. Apparently in light of such demand, over night the ten dates became 50, the first leg of a world tour and a three-year binding contract for Jackson with AEG Live, the concert’s promoters. But amid the show’s final rehearsals in Los Angeles on 25 June, just two weeks before his opening night, Jackson suffered cardiac arrest at his home: the result of an accidental overdose of the powerful hospital anaesthetic Propofol, along with a number of other sedatives. Despite paramedics’ attempts at revival, Jackson’s death was confirmed shortly after arrival at the UCLA Medical Centre.