Michael Jackson family says concert plans too much for him

Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:25am EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's father said the King of Pop was not ready to perform 50 shows in London, in a TV interview that aired the day the singer was scheduled to start his long-awaited comeback.

Joe Jackson told ABC News that his son told him that he only agreed to perform 10 shows in London, but that the concert promoter booked more shows to bring the total to 50.

"I was worried about his health, because all the shows that I'm seeing, no artist can do that many shows back to back like that," Joe Jackson told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Monday. "So I knew Michael couldn't do all those shows without some rests in between."

In a statement, Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of concert promoter AEG Live, acknowledged on Monday that the number of shows was originally lower, but said Jackson had agreed to perform more.

"Our original agreement with Michael Jackson called for 31 shows," Phillips said.

When the response to the initial announcement of 10 shows was so overwhelming, AEG Live went to Jackson's then advisor, Dr. Tohme Tohme, and asked if the singer would be willing to do more, Phillips said. The first show was scheduled for July 13 with the remainder were spread out until February 2010.

Tohme told AEG Live that Jackson would perform 50, and Jackson himself said he was motivated to embark on a record-setting run of concerts, Phillips said.

The singer, 50, had previously passed a lengthy physical head of his first live concert series in 12 years and was rehearsing in Los Angeles the day before his death.   Continued...