Jackson wanted to break record

2011-10-26 08:22

Los Angeles – Michael Jackson agreed to do 50 comeback shows in London on two conditions, including that the final show be recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, his doctor’s manslaughter trial heard yesterday.

Jackson also demanded that the organisers of the planned This is It concerts at the O2 Arena find him a country estate outside London with a “pastoral country vibe” to live in.

The singer – who died in June 2009 in Los Angeles, where he was rehearsing for the London shows – initially agreed to do no more than 31 shows – a number he specified as 10 more than Prince had played at the O2.

But demand was so overwhelming for tickets that the promoters pressed Jackson to agree to do more concerts to satisfy his fans. He agreed, but on two conditions.

“What he wanted was, we need to find an estate for him that I could lease outside of London and he was very specific, he wanted 16-plus acres, running streams, horses,” said AEG Live boss Randy Phillips.

“Basically what he explained to me was, he didn’t want to be trapped in a hotel suite, no matter how beautiful, in the heart of London and not be able to leave, and have the kids and be cloistered.

“He wanted to give them a pastoral country vibe.”

The second condition was for Phillips to arrange for Guinness World Records to attend the 50th show “because he knew this was a feat that no performer would ever be able to beat,” the AEG executive added.

He noted that Prince had done 21 shows at the O2, Beyonce eight, Usher six and Justin Timberlake five.

“Generally, most artists, if they’re really hot, it gets magnified in London, where the demand is greater,” said Phillips.

Phillips was speaking during the trial of Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray, charged with involuntary manslaughter over the King of Pop’s death on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of the powerful sedative propofol.

Coincidentally, that was the date when the This is It production – under rehearsal in Los Angeles in April and May – was due to transfer to London to prepare for the shows themselves, starting in mid-July. 

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