‘King of Pop’ eyes concert comeback in London
London — Pop megastar Michael Jackson is in advanced talks with concert organisers for a comeback series of up to 30 live shows at London’s O2 Arena this summer, British newspapers reported Saturday.
According to The Times, The Sun and the Daily Mail, which all cited unnamed sources, the 50-year-old "King of Pop" could command concert fees of up to 1.5 million pounds (1.7 million euros, 2.1 million dollars) per show to revive his career.
The newspapers said that London is competing with a US venue — reportedly Las Vegas — for Jackson’s concerts.
It would mark his first major series of concerts since his 2005 acquittal on charges of child sex molestation.
"It is only at discussion stage but if it comes off it will be amazing," a spokeswoman for his agents, the Outside Organisation, told The Sun.
An unidentified source told the Daily Mail: "It will be the greatest comeback in the history of pop and there would be no problem selling out the O2 every night."
"No one is concerned about his reputation and people don’t feel it is a risk. Organisers are confident people will come from all over the world to see him."
VIP ticket packages could go for 1,000 pounds and Jackson could earn up to 50 million pounds from the shows at the 20,000-seat arena, The Times said.
"He is arguably the world’s greatest entertainer and now Michael wants to seal his musical legacy," a figure close to the talks was quoted as saying by The Times.
Jackson, who is reportedly suffering from financial difficulties, has virtually disappeared from the public eye since his acquittal in his 2005 trial. He has been living in different places including a spell in Bahrain, in Europe and Las Vegas.
He has repeatedly said he is working on a new album, but so far nothing concrete has materialized. His 1982 hit "Thriller" remains the best-selling album of all time.
The last time he was in London was November 2006, when he appeared at the World Music Awards to accept an award for selling more than 100 million albums over the course of his career.
Though it had been expected that Jackson would recreate "Thriller" at the awards, he instead sang only a few lines of "We Are The World" with a group of youngsters.
In November, he came to a settlement in a London court with a Bahraini prince over a seven-million-dollar lawsuit.
The same month, he lost ownership of his famous Neverland ranch in California after transferring the deeds to a company he has a share in, media reports said.
The eccentric singer purchased the sprawling 1,000 hectare (2,800 acres) ranch in Santa Barbara County in 1987 and set out to transform it into a paradise for children, at one point opening a zoo and a roller-coaster.
But he has not lived in it since his 2005 trial, which arose from alleged incidents involving a young boy at the property.