Since the initial unveiling of Michael Jackson’s epic 50-date residency at The O2 Arena in London, ENG, speculation has swirled around the performer’s ability to successfully complete an engagement of that proportion. The event’s promoter AEG Live is now stepping forward to confirm that Jackson is fully prepared — and willing — to get the job done.
“Michael Jackson was thrilled at selling 50 shows,” said AEG Live president and CEO Randy Phillips in a statement. “The size and scale of this show would not be possible without an extended run, which Michael has been fully on board with from the very beginning. He has not agreed to a world tour at this point, however, he can at any time.”
Phillips’ statements followed a widely publicized report from UK-based tabloid The Sun, which contended that the pop singer was less than thrilled about his long-term ties to the London stage.
“I’m really angry with them booking me up to do 50 shows. I only wanted to do 10, and take the tour around the world to other cities, not 50 in one place,” the tabloid reportedly quoted Jackson. “I went to bed knowing I sold 10 dates and woke up to the news I was booked to do 50.”
In addition to questions about the King of Pop’s willingness to extend the This Is It concert series over 50 dates, published reports have also speculated on everything from his health and his preparedness leading up to the July kick-off, to the potential of lawsuits threatening the O2 Arena concerts.
Despite all the various reports being tossed around in the media, only one major delay has set back the production so far, and that’s the size of the production itself. Due to concerns that various technical aspects of the show would not be ready in time for the intended July 8 opener, AEG Live decided to delay the launch of Jackson’s residency by a week.
Four performances were postponed in total, with the July 8 performance’s tickets now being honored on July 13, and tickets for July 10, 12 and 14 now paired with corresponding performances in March 2010.
“We wanted to ensure that all of Michael’s fans attending the concerts get the same quality in staging and level of entertainment,” read a message to ticketholders, sent from AEG Live and the event’s primary ticket seller Ticketmaster UK.
At the time they sent out the message, both companies also offered various forms of help for ticketholders affected by the postponement, including hotel booking assistance for the new dates and ticket refunds for individuals now unable to attend.