You mean the This Is It tour?
I didn’t. This sounds slightly macabre, but I never expected that the tour would actually happen, and was obviously proven right. I didn’t think he would be killed (this is an important distinction that many miss - Michael didn’t just die, he was killed) but I fully, fully expected the tour to be postponed (which it was, once, before his death) and I figured that if the shows did happen, I’d easily pick up some resale ones, or grab some from a friend. I knew that would be possible, because I picked up tickets twice when Prince did 21 Nights at the O2 (I bought tickets for 4 shows, and then ended seeing 6, as I had friends who couldn’t make two of the dates and sold me their tickets at face value). Given that there were 50 dates booked, this would have certainly happened. Plus, for at least some of the weeks, I was going to be out on tour with my own band - in fact I was playing a headline show in downtown Toronto on the day he passed. So I thought I’d wait it out and see.
You have to understand - after Michael’s trial, he was in a bad state mentally. There were endless broken promises, shows that got cancelled, he hadn’t toured in over a decade, and everyone who actually followed his career on a day-to-day level knew that nothing was guaranteed with him at this point, ever.
Michael in 2009 was very much not the same Michael that I grew up adoring. It’s heartbreaking what happened to him, he was systematically broken down by a racist music business and vicious tabloid media. He didn’t deserve any of it.
See, I’m one of the lucky ones. I saw him in 1997 on the HIStory Tour at Wembley. An opportunity most people in my general age bracket didn’t get. And so I have the advantage of real memories of him in the 90’s to remember him by, and that’s how I remember him.
I don’t think he wanted to do This Is It, he certainly wasn’t in the right state to do it, and he was essentially forced to do it by the music industry and by his poor financial state at that time. In fact, he actually never agreed to do 50 shows, that’s one of things that came out in the wrongful death trial against the promoters. It also came out how badly they treated him to force him to do it. I also remember that some of this sentiment was known at the time, and there was reticence in the hardcore fanbase about supporting the tour. Hardcore fans knew that something wasn’t right about the whole thing - especially after his announcement at the O2, when he showed up hours late and looked positively skeletal.
I can’t even watch the This Is It movie any more. It’s very cleverly edited to disguise how unwell he really was - in fact, he didn’t even make it through ONE complete rehearsal at a time.