Elton Misses ‘Battle For London’

Elton John canceling with appendicitis and a capacity decrease at a major venue have sort of tipped the balance against AEG Live in what The Independent is now referring to as “the battle for London.”

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"Love to Erase MS," Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles, Calif.

He was to play AEG’s in Hyde Park July 12 while in east London, Live Nation had moved its and festivals to the city’s Olympic Park.

With no sub available to come on for Sir Elton, AEG opted to go ahead without the headliner and make it a free show. The lineup also had Ray Davies and Elvis Costello.

The cancellation came at three days notice and after Sir Elton was taken ill during his European tour. So far it hasn’t been possible to confirm how much it’ll cost AEG to fully refund ticket buyers.

“Following Sir Elton John’s cancellation of all upcoming shows from his current European tour including his much anticipated show at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time, Hyde Park this coming Friday due to appendicitis, AEG Live and The Royal Parks confirm that the show will go on with the remaining stellar line-up for free and existing ticket holders will receive a full refund,” said a note on the BST website.

If there really is a so-called battle for London, which The Independent saw as AEG’s “gentrified, green” concert location versus an Olympic Park site described as a “concrete dustbowl,” then it’s probably going LN’s way at the moment.

AEG has reportedly spent £3 million ($4.5 million) upgrading the Hyde Park site for its summer concerts. John Probyn, LN’s chief ops officer in the UK, who isn’t happy with LN’s new venue being labeled a dustbowl, is reporting 40,000 crowds for the nights headlined by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and Kasabian, and 60,000 for those headed by Mumford & Sons, Justin Timberlake, and Jay Z.

A co-headline with Timberlake and Jay Z scheduled for July 14 has already done 60,000 while – an electronic and dance music bash slotted for July 20 – has so far sold 50,000 tickets.

AEG has conceded that, with the audience capacity for the shows cut from 80,000 to 65,000 under Westminster council’s new licensing conditions, it is likely to make a loss on Hyde Park. The Rolling Stones show in the park on July 13 is reportedly sold out, but The Independent and other papers have questioned how well tickets for the other shows are selling. Tickets for the Elton John show, with a face value of £59 ($89) are on the Living Social discount site for £29 ($43.80).