Well, this is it. (Pun totally intended.) After making the official announcement today (90 minutes late for the press conference, no less), Michael Jackson is set to play 10 dates at London's O2 Arena this summer, kicking off July 8. It's billed as his swansong, but we're not holding our breath.
According to NME, Jackson hinted that the O2 stint would be his grand finale. But we're not so sure about that. He called the shows his "curtain call," but he also said this: "This is it, these will be my last shows in London... When I say this, I really mean this. This is it."
Maybe we were the only ones to notice the very specific phrasing of "my last shows in London". But even that doesn't seem entirely certain, as this morning AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke (AEG Live promotes the shows) said that though 10 shows would be announced today, probably "you'll see 20, 25 dates at the O2. His production budget is... Wow."
Leiweke also said that Jackson is in good physical (and mental?) condition to do the run, and that AEG had been working with him for two years to make the shows happen. He hasn't toured since 1997 and he hasn't released a studio album or played a full concert since 2001.
Leiweke said the O2 was chosen because "it's the most important venue in music today," citing the Led Zeppelin reunion gig as indication. Tickets for the shows will be between £50 and £75, and go on sale at 7 a.m. GMT (2 a.m. EST) on March 13. Pre-sale info is available here.
So that's it, kids. Jackson does London. We just hope it's not like when he did Berlin.