A Michael Jackson tribute featuring family members and an all-star cast could take place in the future, according to Randy Phillips, president and CEO of AEG Live, the promoter behind the late performer’s comeback concerts in London.
In an exclusive interview with England’s Sky News, Phillips said, “At some point the world needs to see this production…and if we could do it, it would be done as a tribute, with the family, with the brothers performing, and the sisters…but also the stars who love Michael and have been influenced by him.”
He continued that AEG Live still has the intellectual property for the show’s content, as well as sets, costumes and video footage from the production and its rehearsals. “It would have been, which is the tragedy here, one of the most amazing arenas shows ever,” Phillips said. “At some point, we’d like the world to see that, and we’re discussing it with the family, and obviously, the sooner the better.”
Phillips said he invested a lot of himself in making this comeback happen with Jackson, who was completely dedicated to his concerts. “He was so happy and so amazing the final week,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who was at the hospital when Jackson died, said he was in shock after hearing about his death, since he had been with him the night before at rehearsals. He remembered, “As we were all leaving the Staples Center after rehearsals on June 24 at 12:30 a.m., he gave me a hug and whispered into my ear, ‘Now I know I can do this.’ He was that engaged.”
He also dispelled reports that Jackson was too frail to perform, noting that the performer was training with Lou Ferrigno, who portrayed the Incredible Hulk on television. “We may at some point release some footage of him in rehearsal that would totally refute [claims of his frailty],” Phillips said.
Phillips said that they did not want to hire Jackson’s doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist, but Jackson insisted. “We as producers of the show did not want to hire a doctor in America…when we were playing London,” he said. “[London has] some of the greatest doctors in the world… Michael insisted on hiring Dr. Murray because he…was his personal physician.”
He also said that he tried to persuade Jackson to allow AEG Live to hire an English doctor, but Jackson told him, “You don’t understand. My body is the machine that fuels this business, and I need personal care, and I want a doctor 24/7 like President Obama would have, and this is my doctor.”
Phillips said he wanted to “stay out of the media circus and the frenzy” around Jackson’s death but felt compelled to grant the interview because of all the misinformation circulating around the performer’s recent death and final days.
In the days since Jackson’s death on June 25, AEG Live has been busy preparing and launching a massive refund program for the approximately 750,000 tickets sold to Jackson’s 50-concert “This Is It” series, scheduled to begin July 13 at the O2 Arena.
Last Updated on July 2, 2009 by By Jane Cohen & Bob Grossweiner