(Reuters) – I confess I’m moderately impressed that the original “King of Pop” still has what it takes to get fans less than half his age screaming and crying with just a few well-chosen words.
Fifty-year-old Michael Jackson was at London’s 20,000-seater O2 Arena on Thursday to announce his comeback, a series of 10 concerts starting on July 8 and possibly more if demand is there.
I, along with many other reporters crammed into a small “pen” to witness the event, was more than a little worried about whether Jackson still had what it takes, given that recent images of him have tended to portray a frail man shying away from public contact.
But there he was, looking more healthy than I remember for some time, speaking clearly, punching the air and flashing the “V”-for-victory sign. I know that is a far cry from a two-hour set of singing and dancing, but it is at least a start on the long comeback trail.
Up to two thousands fans had gathered and made themselves heard throughout his brief appearance. One I spoke to, Londoner Ruby Malik, is just 18, and for her Jackson is simply “the best”. “It’s worth every second and every minute I’m standing here,” she said. And the wait was not short. Reporters were told to show up at around 2 p.m. for a 4 p.m. appearance and he finally arrived on a makeshift stage at around 5.40.