AEG Live Wants Jackson's Family to Perform in a Tribute Concert

AEG Live wants Jacksons to sing in a UK concert honoring Michael Jackson.

July 14, 2009, 11:26 AM

July 14, 2009— -- LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - The company behind Michael Jackson's planned comeback in London that was to have kicked off on Monday said he wanted to stage a one-off tribute concert in the city featuring members of the late pop star's family.

AEG Live signed up the star for 50 concerts at London's O2 Arena starting on July 13, but the 50-year-old singer died in Los Angeles less than three weeks before his eagerly anticipated return to the stage.

More than 750,000 people snapped up tickets to the "This Is It" shows, and they have been given the choice of a full refund or keeping their tickets as a momento.

AEG Live chief executive Randy Phillips said on Tuesday he was hopeful of holding the tribute gig in London on Aug. 29, which would have been Jackson's 51st birthday, although time was running out.

"We have to make some hard decisions this week, otherwise it will be too late to even contemplate doing anything on the 29th," Phillips told BBC Radio 6 Music.

"The number one item I'm discussing is presenting This Is It the production, hopefully with the Jacksons and may be Janet, and other artists," Phillips added. "What we're thinking about is one massive tribute that's broadcast around the globe. We've opted to go to broadcast television, either cable/satellite, or traditional broadcast."

He conceded that most of the 27 Jackson dates booked in 2009 at the O2 Arena would probably go unfilled. The remaining 23 dates were scheduled for early 2010.

"It's going to be hard, unless we do something with the Michael tribute, to fill those dates in now, if not impossible."

On Monday, Jackson's father Joe said the "King of Pop" was not ready to perform 50 shows in London, and that he had been worried about the impact the gigs would have on his son's health.

In a statement, Phillips said Jackson's adviser at the time told AEG Live that the singer would perform 50 concerts. Jackson was rehearsing for This Is It in Los Angeles the day before he died of cardiac arrest.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)