17 APRIL 2009

Michael Jackson is "going to dance his ass off" promised the promoter behind the singer's comeback and farewell tour in London's 02 arena. Intensive rehearsals have begun in a Los Angeles aircraft hanger for the concerts, which will apparently feature a menagerie of elephants, monkeys and parrots at the king of pop's request.

In the spectacular – his first time on stage since the 2006 World Music Awards when he sang just two lines of We Are The World – the Thriller star also plans to hover above the audience, Peter Pan-like, during one number.

Factor in a duet with his 12-year-old son Prince and the unveiling of a new dance move to rival the moonwalk, and the 50-date run is being hyped as the show of the century.

Whether the reclusive star has the stamina for that number of concerts after his protracted stint out of the limelight is a source of concern for some of his circle, though.

"Michael wants to put up a hell of a big show, but we are all holding our breath," one friend recently confided in an interview with the Daily Mail. "He is going all out, and when you do that it comes with risks. Everyone is concerned about the number of dates."

On the other hand the 50-year-old legend has been given a boost by the cancellation of an auction of memorabilia from his Neverland estate. He reportedly told his sister Janet a weight had been lifted off his mind by the news.

Photo: Getty Images
Despite concerns over his stamina, the reclusive artist, pictured on stage in 2006, has been involved in intensive preparations for the upcoming tour which kicks off in London on July 8
Photo: Getty Images
The cancellation of a sale of memorabilia from his Neverland estate has apparently enabled him to renew his focus on the gruelling 50-date run. Items such as the gates to his ranch, which were being displayed in LA this week, will now be returned to him
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