Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | 7:30 a.m.*Check out this story with accompanying photos at VegasDeLuxe.com.*
King of Pop Michael Jackson was due to open his run of 50 This Is It shows last night in London, but that worldwide dream of loyal fans ended sadly, tragically and dramatically. However, the day afterward, AEG Live has now confirmed what I exclusively reported shortly after Michael’s death.
AEG Live’s head honcho Randy Phillips says the concert promoter is in the early stages of planning a concert based on This Is It, which had completed final L.A. rehearsals and was being prepared for the move to the British capital.
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Here’s what Billboard reported about AEG Live yesterday: “We’re just starting to get into that now, to figure out how to unveil all the stuff we have to the world. I think at some point, we’ll show Michael’s last masterpiece, This Is It, to the world. This Is It is one of the most amazing arena shows ever, and it well might become its own tribute concert, as AEG Live owns all the property relating to the shows. The production, staging and all that are in warehouses under lock and key. And the dancers and everyone else want to do the show for the world one time, so we kind of have them on hold, but we don’t have anything confirmed yet.”
Randy also has confirmed another VDLX story that the last three days of rehearsals before Michael’s death were professionally filmed and recorded and will be released by AEG in the future. Michael himself filmed many of the early rehearsals for a behind-the-scenes “making-of” documentary for TV.
My sources, who have proven right on the money every step of the way with this incredible story, say those images and sounds of Michael would be an integral part of the tribute show as if he was still alive and starring in it. Apparently, AEG has considered staging it Aug. 29 to mark Michael’s birthday on that day. Coincidentally, that’s my birthday, too, and Michael and I joked about that when we last met at Steve Wynn’s Wing Lei for dinner.
Apparently, Randy believed that it was impossible to fully plan out the show in time to meet that deadline. I’m certainly not saying it’s definite, but don’t be surprised if some serious effort to use the show contents is pulled off for Aug. 29 at the 02 Arena in London and broadcast to the world.
Meantime, A&E will air a one-hour special starring Michael’s brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon that was shot as a reality TV series pilot based on a new album tied to their 2010 reunion tour. Dan Silberman, a vice president for A&E, confirmed: “The show revolved around them getting back together and doing a record.”
Dan said that brother Randy, sisters Janet, Rebbie and LaToya and patriarch Joe Jackson hadn’t been filmed. Mother Katherine did participate, but it’s unknown if the sisters and Joe will take part in future filming. The Jackson family approached the network with the show’s concept, and all are in talks about what happens next.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.
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