Jackson ‘Energetic’

Michael Jackson looked in perfect health and gave an electrifying performance two days before his death during rehearsals for his planned comeback concerts, a photographer who took pictures of the rehearsals said Tuesday.

“Michael was back — that’s all I could say,” said Kevin Mazur, who was documenting the rehearsals for the tour book. “He was very upbeat, very happy, having a good time with the dancers. The performance was amazing.”

Jackson’s run of 50 shows was due to start at London’s O2 Arena in July.

“It was the same old Michael I had been photographing for 30 years and I was so excited for the O2 arena show,” the American photographer told The Associated Press by phone from Barcelona, Spain. “That day, after rehearsals, I was like I am bringing my kids to the O2 arena because they have got to see this.”

In May, Jackson’s representatives announced that he would postpone several of the shows, moving some of those scheduled in July to March 2010, fueling speculation that the King of Pop was suffering from health ailments.

But Mazur, who saw the star perform in Los Angeles on June 23, two days before his death, said Jackson looked in perfect health.

“From the way he was performing, to me he was 100 percent. He was the same Michael that I have photographed numerous times. I was happy for him. He was extremely happy,” said Mazur.

Once a staff photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine, Mazur co-founded a photographic press agency in 2001. He was in Barcelona to cover a U2 concert.

Mazur said he heard about Jackson’s death from Elton John, at his White Tie and Tiara annual charity ball that Mazur was photographing.

“I was telling Elton how great Michael was. I didn’t believe it at first,” he said.

At the rehearsal, Jackson didn’t do the moonwalk, however, which Mazur had been waiting for. “The first time I photographed him moonwalking was such an adrenaline rush,” he said.

“The only way I can explain that adrenaline rush is when Michael hit the stage at rehearsal, because he was so on and so back. I couldn’t wait for my children and the fans to see Michael Jackson at the O2 arena.”