As Michael M points out, the massively over-promised and then rapidly junked Michael Jackson tribute gig echoes the massively over-promised and rapidly vanished Jacko Katrina and 9/11 benefit singles.
The plans for an enormous gig in Vienna in a couple of weeks' time have now been ripped up. Out goes the idea of honouring Jackson's love of castles and The Sound Of Music, because it turns out that the promises to appear were as vague as Jacko's connection to Vienna. Jermaine explains:
“A little more than five weeks ago I began, together with my partners in Vienna, to work on the Tribute Concert. As you can imagine staging a show of this monumental dimension in less than eight weeks is a daunting challenge,” he said.
“I personally have spoken to many international artists and invited them to attend The Tribute and perform one of Michael’s songs. Several leading artists immediately agreed to participate in this unique tribute show. Many others told me personally that it would be a great honor to be part of this memorial concert for my late brother – an artist who influenced the music world like virtually no other.
“However, due to the short time frame involved it just was not possible for many of them to change their schedule so that they could be on stage in Vienna on September 26th.”
They all totally wanted to be there, and they said so, but... obviously Chris Brown couldn't make it, and Mary J Blige is helping her cousin move that day, and Stevie Wonder would have come but he's got plans to do something the next day... and... yeah, Janet has reservations at the Red Lobster on the evening and she's been waiting weeks to get in so... yeah, we'll do it in London. Next year.
"We have therefore decided, after careful consideration, to reschedule The Tribute concert for my brother to June 2010 and to stage this very special music event at Wembley Stadium in London.
"Here, over 70,000 fans will have the opportunity to experience the life and music of my beloved late brother. We will hold the concert in the city that he himself chose for his comeback concerts but, due to his tragic death, he was not able to do."
Weren't these meant to be his farewell concerts?
Oh, and don't be thinking it's going to be a bunch of second-string acts like Brown and Blige. Because... hey, they're huge stars in their own right:
"When artists who have won 8 Grammy Awards and sold millions of records around the world and are able to sell out large stadiums are then called 'B-list artists', are made fun of and generally disrespected, is something I just cannot understand. If these artists are not welcome in Vienna, London is more than happy to have them”.
Nobody was making fun of Chris Brown, Jermaine - they were pointing out that the best tribute you can find for Michael is a bloke who would have to negotiate his curfew in order to attend.
Still, we look forward to this all happening in June 2010 at Wembley, or failing that sometime winter 2011, perhaps in Dubai. Certainly in the next couple of years, and almost for deffo in a place where you can fit lots and lots of people. The Peterborough Civic Centre people are offering to do a finger buffet for free if we're able to schedule for a Thursday afternoon.