Jacksons v AEG Timeline Top Stories

AEG boss talks tribute concert

By | Published on Wednesday 1 July 2009

Back to the business side of all this, and the boss of AEG Live, the promoters of the planned Jacko comeback at London’s O2, has been talking to Sky News about the singer’s health during preparations for the big fifty night residency, and about rumours he is now planning some sort of Jackson tribute show that may also take place at the Dome.

Responding to suggestions that Jackson was clearly ill before his death, Randy Phillips told Sky: “We have, and we may at some point release, some footage of him in rehearsal that would totally refute that”, while adding that just last week, as rehearsals for the O2 shows reached their climax, that Jackson had told him “Now I know I can do this”.

On the possibility of transforming the O2 show into a tribute concert, Phillips continued: “We have the intellectual property content, we have the sets, we have the costumes. It would have been – which is a tragedy – one of the most amazing arena shows ever. At some point the world needs to see this production, and I imagine if we could do it, it would be done as a tribute, with the family – with the brothers performing and some of the sisters – but also the stars who loved Michael and were influenced by him”. Revealing he was already discussing the tribute idea with the Jackson clan, he said when asked about the time scales of such a venture, “obviously, the sooner the better”.

Such a venture may have legal problems, of course. As previously reported a US promoter was already suing Jackson and AEG, claiming he had a commitment that Michael would make his comeback as part of a Jacksons reunion show he was staging in 2010. The lawsuit claimed that Michael’s deal with AEG breached that contract, and that AEG knew of the existing contract before making the deal. That same contract would presumably make it hard for the rest of the Jacksons to sign up to an earlier family-wide tribute show.

Among the artists linked to a possible Jackson tribute show are Stevie Wonder, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. Though the latter, at least, has expressed some reservations about involvement in such a venture. He told the Evening Standard: “[Michael’s death] is extremely tragic – there really was only one king. It’s an honour to be considered for a tribute to the greatest of all time but also there is a level of just me as a fan that would feel very cautious about doing something like that. Like anyone else in the world I’m his biggest fan. I just feel like if there would be any pretension, it would not be good. That’s my worry. It would have to be done properly”.