This Is It Concerts
This Is It was a set of 50 concerts to be held at The O2 Arena in London. They were supposed to begin in July 2009 and continue all the way to to March 2010. Originally only 10 concerts were announced, but since tickets sold out in less than an hour and the public demanded more, another 40 concerts were added making a total of 50 concerts.
Michael Jackson announced the concerts at a press conference in The O2 Arena and said that This Is It was going to be his final series of concerts. The shows were going to be Michael’s biggest series of concerts since the History World Tour in 1997, and were going to be one of the year's most important musical events.
Unfortunately tragedy struck right before the concerts started. Michael suffered a cardiac arrest and died due to an overdose of propofol and benzodiazepine drugs, less than three weeks before the first concert kicked off.
Michael Jackson memorial service
A public memorial service for Michael Jackson was held on July 7, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Shannon joined Oscar and Grammy winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson while she performed her cover one of Jackson’s hits from the 1990s, “Will You Be There.”
During the service he also performed alongside Jackson family members and artists such as Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Usher and lead by Judith Hill to a medley of We Are The World & Heal The World.
This was the final performance of the memorial, which Jackson had been slated to perform during the This Is It concerts.
The service was broadcast live around the world, from the U.S. to Slovakia to parts of Asia. Public screenings were held in 37 cinemas across the U.S
According to some news sources the event exceeded 2.5 billion viewers, which would make it the most watched live television broadcast in history worldwide.
How It Began
What was the first Dance move attempted by Mr. Holtzapffel ….
He attempted the Moonwalk but that was even before he learned how to walk.
Watching Michael Jackson on MTV with his parents Shannon was inspired by The King, copying his moves and wishing one day he could be beside him. A dream that would soon come true for the young 25 year old Holtzapffel.
He was hand-picked from more than 5,000 applicants by the man ‘Michael Jackson’ to be one of 11 principal dancers for Jackson's comeback tour This is it.
He turned down a gig on Britney Spears's Circus tour because it conflicted with Michael’s concerts. "It was my goal and life dream to dance with Michael" says Holtzapffel.
Later he was featured in This Is It movie, the highest grossing concert movie and documentary in the history of cinema.
Shannon was also part of the worldwide marketing campaign for the music video game Michael Jackson: The Experience.
This Is It Movie
Michael Jackson's This Is It was directed by the reputable Kenny Ortega in 2009. It documents most of Michael’s rehearsals and preparations before the concerts started. It shows Michael as he directed the team and rehearsed the numbers. It also showed some behind the scenes footage of dancers auditioning and the costumes. The footage was never intended for release but after the tragic death of Michael they decided to make a movie out of it. The footage was filmed at the Staples Center and The Forum in California.
Songs performed in the movie
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
"The Drill" - A military dance sequence.
"They Don't Care About Us"
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
"I Want You Back"
"The Love You Save"
"I'll Be There"
"Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)"
"I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
"Thriller" - Featured a new 3D video.
"Black or White"
"Earth Song" - Featured a new 3D video.
"Man in the Mirror"
"This Is It" - Audio played during the end credits.
"Heal the World" - Remix with live instrumentation played during the end credits.
The encounter was a dream come true for the Brisbane dancer and choreographer, "It was my goal and life dream to dance with Michael" "I was literally on the next flight" he says.
Within 2 days of finding out about the Audition online Shannon left Australia to follow his destiny and lifelong dream.
"The first day, I rocked up early to see the first few guys in the queue were some of the best. They'd danced with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. That's when it hit me - it was really happening" he said.
While the three day audition was intense, "It was good pressure" he said, "I felt alive. Performing in front of Michael was an achievement in itself, whether or not I got the job"
Despite the tough schedule, Holtzapffel got to know another side to the ringmaster: "Just got hugged by the one and only," he tweeted on May 6. Jackson, he says, "was the most beautiful, caring, loving person. He cared so much about the world and the planet. He spoke about the subject all the time"
Jackson's dancers launched into rehearsals eight hours a day, six days a week. "At first Michael wanted us to learn the steps on our own" says Holtzapffel, who relaxes by playing tennis or doing yoga. "It was amazing how we'd learn something and the next day, notes would come back with his changes. I mean, we were getting notes from Michael! He was very involved. He was the creator, the conductor"
Holtzapffel was rehearsing "Dirty Diana" when Ortega told them of Jackson's death. "We broke down" he recalls. "We were a mess. The tech guys that work with us were burly men who'd done rock-and-roll tours for years, but to see them break ... it was a state of disbelief"
Jackson's main passion, says Holtzapffel, was his children, Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II, 8. "People would be surprised to know what an amazing father he was," he says. "He spoke about them all the time and they would come to visit. I was doing a segment with Michael, and Kenny [Ortega, the director] came up and said, 'Your kids are hungry, can I give them a turkey sandwich?' and Michael giggled away, saying, 'They're always hungry! They're always eating! "
Shannon along with the entire Dance crew for 'This Is It' attended the red carpet event for the Premier of the movie.
He was in disbelief about performing with Michael. Shannon watched the movie for the first time along with Jackson's family at the Oct. 26 LA premiere.
"It's like, is that really me up there with him?" says the dancer, "It's a great celebration of him. And it's a real representation. It's so raw"
"I feel reborn and refreshed , Michael gave me the opportunity to achieve my dream, but also to do so much more. What that will be, I don't know. That's my destiny"
The Final Goodbye
Shannon Later attended a beautiful and peaceful private funeral with the Jackson family where he helped with the Services.
The private ceremony was held at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California. Michael Jackson was laid to rest inside the Great Mausoleum.
Following the service, Jackson’s brothers carried the casket into the Great Mausoleum, where he was finally laid to rest.
Thank you to Lifestyle Australia, MTV & Wikipedia for all the info.