MJ Tribute Concert Postponed

Hear that? That’s the sound of the other shoe dropping as Jermaine Jackson’s tribute concert to Michael Jackson is postponed until June 2010, taking place in London instead of Vienna.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone following developments during the past few days. Ever since Tuesday when Jackson and promoter Georg Kindel announced a partial lineup for the planned Sept. 26 event at Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, the undertaking has been plagued by reports of artists denying their involvement.

Photo: AP Photo
At the second press conference in Vienna.

During a press conference on Sept. 8 Jackson and Kindel announced that Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige and Natalie Cole would be among the 25 artists and bands appearing at the event that would also feature performances by Sister Sledge, Akon and German boy band US5.

But only hours after the announcement, a Jive Records representative told the press that Brown would not appear due to the singer’s five-year probation sentence for beating up then-girlfriend Rihanna in February.

Then Blige’s participation was in doubt due to a previously scheduled appearance at a Milan fashion event.

Finally, after Jackson and Kindel attempted damage control by talking with reporters in London and Berlin, it began to look as if Cole wasn’t going to make the Vienna gig either.

But lineup discrepancies weren’t the only problems facing Jackson and Kindel. On the same day they announced the initial lineup, gossip site TMZ reported that Jackson family matriarch Katherine was unhappy with her son’s plans. TMZ also quoted an unnamed family member saying Jermaine was only interested in promoting himself.

To dispel those reports, Jackson played a video for reporters in Berlin on Thursday showing his mother expressing her support for the tribute concert.

Plus, throughout the week Jackson name-checked stars like Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and R. Kelly.

Now Jackson and Kindel say the concert will happen next June, and the location will be London. Tickets for the original show, which priced from $91 to $745, will be refunded. Approximately 32,500 tickets had been sold for the tribute concert – half the number available. A World Tribute Productions GmbH representative said they had not yet addressed whether people would be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Jackson and Kindel told reporters this morning in Vienna that too many artists had scheduling problems.

“Maybe we underestimated these issues,” Kindel said.

Aside from scheduling conflicts, Jackson and Kindel also blamed the media for its “negative” reporting, with Kindel saying the decision to postpone the show and move it to London was made partly because “renowned artists of the tribute were disrespectfully treated as B-list artists or even losers.”

“We are going to a place where these artists are greatly appreciated and where Michael Jackson wanted to start his comeback tour,” Kindel said.

Kindel also said tickets for the rescheduled show will go on sale Dec. 1 and prices will start at 44 pounds ($73).

In announcing the postponement and change of locale, Kindel told reporters too many performers had scheduling conflicts preventing them from appearing, saying, “maybe we underestimated these issues.”

Oh, well. Better luck next year.