Jacko Delays His July Comeback Concerts

The show needs more preparation — and there are questions about Jackson’s ability to physically perform.

Last Updated: May 22, 2009 @ 2:14 PM

Well, this is no surprise.

Michael Jackson’s 50-concert comeback series at London’s O2 Arena has been delayed, organizers said on Wednesday.

The opening concert has been moved back five days, to July 13, and three more shows scheduled for July have been moved to next March.

"This show has grown in size and scope, thereby necessitating more lead time for manufacture of the set, programing the content for the massive video elements, and, most importantly, more time for full production and dress rehearsals," said Randy Phillips, president of concert promoter AEG Live, in a statement.

But a longtime family adviser told TheWrap that the singer is “physically, emotionally and professionally unable to perform” for the 50-night engagement – and that Jackson who reportedly had been rehearsing at an undisclosed location near Los Angeles International Airport had actually shown up only twice at the rehearsals.
 
“He’s so predictable,” the family insider said, adding that when Jackson did show up he appeared to be “lethargic.”

TheWrap reported preparations for the tour early last month, as Jackson began prepping — questioning then whether the 50-year-old performer was up physically for the grueling series of concerts, and whether he was giving himself enough time to prep for it.

Jackson was attempting to put the show together in less than two months. Complicating matter is that is has been 12 years since his last tour, his last public appearance was three years ago at the World Music Awards, when he barely whispered a few lines of “We Are the World ” – and the show was an almost unprecedented extravaganza.

It is rumored to have fantastic elements including a jungle with elephants, monkeys and parrots, a high-wire act with Jackson performing like an airborne Peter Pan — and even a duet with his 12-year-old son Prince.

Stacy Brown, a longtime Jackson watcher and the co-author of "Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask," told TheWrap he was not surprised by the latest developments in the turbulent career of a man once considered that greast entertainment of his era.
 
"If anyone is shocked by this postponement, they’ve been living under the proverbial rock when it comes to Michael Jackson and his promises to do concerts,” Brown said. “When this was initially announced as a 50-show farewell, I thought, who is the sucker this time? Jackson knew he wasn’t ready and AEG, I think, fooled itself into believing that all he needed was psychological readiness. That they could coax him into this and his desire and abilities would take care of the rest.”

Jackson sold more that 750,000 tickets to the concert series in less than a week of the announcement of his return to the 02 arena, considered one of the premier venues in the entertainment industry. Full refunds will be given if ticketholders can’t make the new dates.
 
The postponement legally could be construed as his breaking his contract with AEG Live, the family insider said. "We’ll have to see what happens,” he said. “Can he perform again next year? Who knows.”
 
 

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