What was the CONFIRMED final set list for This Is It?

KingofPop125

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Please give me reliable resources that prove that the set list you answer with was gonna be in This Is It, whether it be trustworthy article or interviews from the people who worked on This Is It. The songs were planned to be in and/or rehearsed for This Is It:

  • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
  • Jam
  • They Don’t Care About Us
  • Human Nature
  • Stranger in Moscow
  • Smooth Criminal
  • The Way You Make Me Feel
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Jackson 5 Medley: I Want You Back / The Love You Save / I’ll Be There
  • Off the Wall Medley: Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough / Rock with You
  • I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
  • Dangerous
  • Dirty Diana
  • Beat It
  • Thriller
  • Black or White
  • Earth Song
  • Heal the World
  • Billie Jean
  • Will You Be There
  • Man in the Mirror
  • Bad (rumored)
So what was the CONFIRMED final set list? And was Bad CONFIRMED to have been in This Is It, as a full on song number?
 

Albion

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This was the final known running order.

Startin’ Something
Don’t stop ‘til you get enough
Rock with you
Drill
Don’t care about us
Human nature
Stranger in Moscow
Smooth criminal
The way you make me feel
I just can’t stop loving you
Dangerous
Dirty Diana
Beat it
Thriller
Earth song
We are the world Heal the world
Black or white
Billie Jean
Man in the mirror
But that is not to say it’s what it would have been on opening night as it changed multiple times. Also this does not have the Jackson 5 medley that I am certain would have been included for the show.

this was from an episode of the MJ Cast podcast. I will find the episode and let you know it.
 
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madmijack

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Where "Stranger In Moscow" comes from? Who confirmed it was suppose to be in? I mean not just band rehearsals of various MJ songs but MJ's performance, rehearsals, vocals, costume?
 

Galactus123

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Where "Stranger In Moscow" comes from? Who confirmed it was suppose to be in? I mean not just band rehearsals of various MJ songs but MJ's performance, rehearsals, vocals, costume?
The fact that the drummer Jonathan Moffett uploaded rehearsal audio(without vocals) of it on Youtube pretty much confirms it.
 

Albion

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The last confirmed set list can be heard on episode 52 of the MJCast podcast interview with Michael Prince. It starts at 2 hr 6 mins.
 
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dethorro

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Very underwhelming setlist. Just another greatest hits lip synch celebration.
What did you expect from his first concert in over 12 years? Him performing Speed Demon and Who Is It live whilst sitting in a chair? Do you think any artist would perform deep cuts at such an important comeback show?

With regards to the lip-synching: he actually expressed that he wanted to sing live more for This Is It. And whilst we can’t know for sure if he really meant it or not and if he was actually going to do it, it’s important to point out that he at least thought about it.
 

filmandmusic

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@dethorro
I don’t know how to post quotes so I will answer like this.
That is exactly what I expect from a comeback show yes. Focus on the music. If he was vocally up to point then it would have made waves, the critics would have eaten it up. Rave reviews and a renewed interest. When it comes to live shows Michael was one of the least imaginative artists of all time Imo.
I can perfectly imagine what the concert reviews would have looked like if he hadn’t passed away. The words washed up, same old routines, weak voice ( if not lip synched) would have tarnished his legacy immensely.

Do something different, reinvent yourself, get back at those critics that massacred your latest albums in their reviews, show them what you can do as an artist on stage. Use what made you great, namely his voice. If he wants to dance fine, dancing is Michael but do different routines. I once heard the story that he didn’t want to perform “speed demon” because he didn’t have a dance routine for it. This blows my mind, just go out and perform the damn song! It is your song, your music, it don’t need to be flashy. Less is more.

Believe it or not but the cancelling of the this is it concerts were a bullet dodged. We all know he would have lip synched, his MSG performances 8 years earlier were weak. He was 50 years old in 2009, time to move on and do something different.

PS the amount of dates were gruesome, there is no way that he would have performed it at an adequate level for 50 dates, impossible… I don’t believe for one second his head was fully in favour of this project.
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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I would have loved Mike to perform both Human Nature and Stranger In Moscow, I love both and I could choose between them if he rotated between them
 

analogue

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With regards to the lip-synching: he actually expressed that he wanted to sing live more for This Is It. And whilst we can’t know for sure if he really meant it or not and if he was actually going to do it, it’s important to point out that he at least thought about it.
My guess is that This Is It would have been similar to the Dangerous Tour when it came to live vocals.
PS the amount of dates were gruesome, there is no way that he would have performed it at an adequate level for 50 dates, impossible…
He wasn't doing 50 dates in a row. There was about a 2-3 day break in between each date and then about a 2-3 month break before starting up the 2nd half of the ''tour''

And what Michael would have gone through for This Is It it would have been heaven compared to this previous tours. For This Is It he didn't have to worry about adapting to different time zones and jet lag. He was performing in one location. Not touring the world
 
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SeriousEffect.

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@dethorro
I don’t know how to post quotes so I will answer like this.
That is exactly what I expect from a comeback show yes. Focus on the music. If he was vocally up to point then it would have made waves, the critics would have eaten it up. Rave reviews and a renewed interest. When it comes to live shows Michael was one of the least imaginative artists of all time Imo.
I can perfectly imagine what the concert reviews would have looked like if he hadn’t passed away. The words washed up, same old routines, weak voice ( if not lip synched) would have tarnished his legacy immensely.

Do something different, reinvent yourself, get back at those critics that massacred your latest albums in their reviews, show them what you can do as an artist on stage. Use what made you great, namely his voice. If he wants to dance fine, dancing is Michael but do different routines. I once heard the story that he didn’t want to perform “speed demon” because he didn’t have a dance routine for it. This blows my mind, just go out and perform the damn song! It is your song, your music, it don’t need to be flashy. Less is more.

Believe it or not but the cancelling of the this is it concerts were a bullet dodged. We all know he would have lip synched, his MSG performances 8 years earlier were weak. He was 50 years old in 2009, time to move on and do something different.

PS the amount of dates were gruesome, there is no way that he would have performed it at an adequate level for 50 dates, impossible… I don’t believe for one second his head was fully in favour of this project.

Gotta disagree with you here, MJ was likely very well aware of his weaknesses which is why he wasn't going to make his voice or his energy dancing the focal point of the This Is It shows.

With being able to stay in 1 venue, MJ was going to take advantage of the Vegas like spectacle and make his shows an experience you walked away from saying "damn, that Michael Jackson put on a show like I never saw before".

People weren't going to be comparing MJ to himself from the 80s, 90s, or 2000s they were simply going to be amazed by the show they got.
 

filmandmusic

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@analogue good points especially about the jetlags etc but still, I’m not a singer, are 2 to 3 days enough to recover? Provided he wanted to sing live.

@SeriousEffect.
Maybe he was aware maybe he wasn’t, in the end he died so it already took a huge toll on him and the shows had ‘t even started yet. I think he was pressurized too much. It started with 10 shows but then the dollars streamed in and it became 50. The shows were done for the money not for the artistry.

@dethorro
You say it was a comeback, implying it has to be a celebration of past successes with great bombast and spectacle. This could be true for many many artists but I am fairly certain that is not what Michael needed.
We are talking about Michael Jackson, the biggest artist of all time, anything he would have done would have generated so much attention. A small venue with a setlist of only James Brown songs ( just saying something) would have made an equal impact.

Either way these are the points I wanted to make regarding this subject, obviously you all may think differently about it in the end it doesn’t matter.
 

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This Is It setlist was very disappointing. While I understand that Michael had to perform his greatest hits on his comeback tour, he surely could have performed songs that he had never done live before. Songs such as PYT, Who Is It, Liberian Girl etc. Also he could have done a couple of songs from Invincible such as You Rock My World and Unbreakable.
 

filmandmusic

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@Nite Line
Exactly. He had so many hits to choose from but he picked the usual suspects. I highly doubt there was a clause in that contract that said he had to perform wanna be starting something. Billie jean and thriller yes I believe those are signature tracks that sell tickets but not songs like WBSS.
He could have easily opted for a versatile setlist, ending each show with 5 or 6 big hits and fill in the rest with new first time performances, new tracks or hell even covers of his heroes Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder etc. Literally endless possibilities…
 

Dunk96

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I swear I read from someone who worked on TII that he was planning to do You Rock My World in place of TWYMMF on certain nights of the show,just like how Stranger In Moscow was supposed to be performed in place of Human Nature on certain nights. Then of course the alleged rumor of him performing Best Of Joy during the final shows and Bad as well. So many things and what if's of this show. Still bittersweet to discuss honestly.
 

dam2040

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I still wish every day circumstances were different and Michael could give the world the show he was preparing. It would've forever been the benchmark yet again.
 

analogue

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It's sad how later in his career Off The Wall songs started being performed as medley or not performed at all. I'd rather Don't Stop Til You Get Enough and/or Rock With You performed in full than to have them be put together as part of a medley.
 

Nite Line

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It's sad how later in his career Off The Wall songs started being performed as medley or not performed at all. I'd rather Don't Stop Til You Get Enough and/or Rock With You performed in full than to have them be put together as part of a medley.
Well he was still performing Working Day & Night and She's Out Of My Life at the Dangerous Tour and he also rehearsed Rock With You. What is more surprising to be that Michael completely abandoned Don't Stop Till You Get Enough after the Triumph Tour. On his solo tours, he only performed it on the History tour as a part of the medley. You would think that DSTYGE, which was one of his biggest songs and the song that paved the way for his success as a solo artist, he would have performed it far more regularly.
 

filmandmusic

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“Working day and night“ is probably his most performed song that was never released as a single. Followed by “dangerous” and I can’t think of any other song that he performed on tour that wasn’t a single at one point. There are others if you go back to jackson(s)5 concerts though like “ things I do for you”.

working day and night was by far the best at the triumph tour when it wasn’t yet ridiculously stop/start extended.
 

Stefano MJS

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Where "Stranger In Moscow" comes from? Who confirmed it was suppose to be in? I mean not just band rehearsals of various MJ songs but MJ's performance, rehearsals, vocals, costume?
I can confirm you that they rehearsed that several times, especially the band with the back vocalist, pretty cool anyway, MJ confirmed rehearsals from that song it's from June 4th, also i never understood why they changed to play Light Transformers before IJCSLY (way cutted in the movie)
 

mj_frenzy

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Do something different, reinvent yourself, get back at those critics that massacred your latest albums in their reviews, show them what you can do as an artist on stage. Use what made you great, namely his voice. If he wants to dance fine, dancing is Michael but do different routines. I once heard the story that he didn’t want to perform “speed demon” because he didn’t have a dance routine for it. This blows my mind, just go out and perform the damn song! It is your song, your music, it don’t need to be flashy. Less is more.
Michael Jackson appeared to be reluctant to do something different and to reinvent himself (for the 'This Is It' shows) for fear of letting his fans down.

Remember for example what he stated during the TV Guide Interview in 1999 (that the audience wants a certain thing from him, like expecting from him to perform 'Billie Jean' in the exact same way each time).

Also, the 'This Is It' shows would have had less live singing compared to the Dangerous Tour.

Michael Jackson in 2009 had a lung condition (widespread respiratory Bronchiolitis).

A very common symptom of Bronchiolitis is having difficulty in breathing, which would have meant less live singing from him during those shows.

There were also reports at that time that AEG Live prepared that set list (comprised of his greatest hits) and they forced him to agree with it.
 

Hess

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Michael Jackson appeared to be reluctant to do something different and to reinvent himself (for the 'This Is It' shows) for fear of letting his fans down.

Remember for example what he stated during the TV Guide Interview in 1999 (that the audience wants a certain thing from him, like expecting from him to perform 'Billie Jean' in the exact same way each time).

Also, the 'This Is It' shows would have had less live singing compared to the Dangerous Tour.

Michael Jackson in 2009 had a lung condition (widespread respiratory Bronchiolitis).

A very common symptom of Bronchiolitis is having difficulty in breathing, which would have meant less live singing from him during those shows.

There were also reports at that time that AEG Live prepared that set list (comprised of his greatest hits) and they forced him to agree with it.

No one really knows how much live singing there would be. And it could change for concert to concert I think... So that's just speculation.

I doubt very much AEG Live was able to force MJ with anything. I think it's fair to say that these songs are the ones MJ himself would choose.

He had not been on tour for 12 years - not performed a real full-setlist concert for 12 years... only MJ & friends and 30th anniversary.

So it's not surprising to me that MJ wanted to play it safe and choose the fan favorites and the safe choices. Maybe he would have changed things up a bit for the 2nd half of the tour and performed other/new songs. Unfortunately we will never know...
 

filmandmusic

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@Hess
Michael played it save in touring since the Victory tour 1984 which was basically the Triumph tour of 1981 with about 4 song changes. Then the entire first leg of the bad tour was almost an exact copy again of the previous tours bar the inclusion of IJCSLY and Bad. He finally made changes during the bad tour second leg and he kept that same formula right till his farewell This is it concerts.

But yeah we will never know if he was going to change up the setlist or if he was going to sing live more but judged from the past it is not unlikely he wouldn't have changed a thing. I swear if he was going to introduce "the old songs the old fashioned way" for the exact same medley he was performing since at least 1978 just one more time I would have gotten a seizure :p
 
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