Michael Jackson 'performance' promised for tribute event

Die Gloriette im Wiener Schlosspark Schönbrunn
Die Gloriette im Wiener Schlosspark Schönbrunn ©Bilderbox
Organisers of the upcoming Michael Jackson tribute concert have promised "one last performance" from the late "King of Pop".

Head organiser Georg Kindel, a former Austrian journalist, said the “performance” would be with his brother and co-Jackson Five member Jermaine at the event scheduled to take place in front of Schönbrunn Palace on 26 September.

He is expected to take the stage alone as footage of one of Michael’s performances is played behind him on a giant screen.

But the line-up of performers at the gig which was announced today, lacks top stars such as Madonna, Whitney Houston or U2 who had been rumoured to be preparing to play at the concert.

Instead, American singers Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett and Natalie Cole as well as rappers Akon and Chris Brown will perform at Schönbrunn Palace. The bill will be completed by the bands US5 and Sister Sledge, it was announced in Vienna today.

The singers and bands will perform Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, including “Beat It”, “Heal the World” and “Man in the Mirror”.

But Jermaine Jackson said he was in touch with more acts about possible performances, adding more information will be given out at upcoming press conferences scheduled across Europe. He said around ten more acts will be confirmed.

Speaking about already confirmed performers, he said: “I think it is an interesting mixture which will attract various target groups and fans of any age.”

Organiser Georg Kindel said the band and dancers set to perform at Jackson’s comeback gigs at London’s O2 arena will accompany the artists at the Vienna event. Kindel also revealed that Michael’s mother Katherine will attend the event together with Michael’s three children who are under her preliminary custody.

Kindel explained the artists will be paid expenses for coming to and staying in Austria, but will not receive a fee. Part of the earnings will go to various charities, including Jermaine Jackson’s “Earth Care Foundation” and the “Larry King Cardiac Foundation”.

Organisers also said that the stage will be 50 x 25 metres and 20 metres high. “A crown will be its centrepiece. With Schönbrunn Palace as its backdrop, this will be a setting more than worthy of honouring my brother,” Jermaine Jackson said.

Social Democratic (SPÖ) Vice Mayor Renate Brauner said the city of Vienna will give a 600,000 Euro subsidy for the event as political and business leaders hope it will give the city a boost in terms of its image and economic figures.

“This is a unique chance for our tourism industry,” Brauner said.

Opposition parties are furious about the announcement.

Deputy FPÖ Vienna whip Herbert Madejski called on Vienna SPÖ leaders to instead invest in renovating the city’s roads and its canal systems. He said: “The SPÖ prefers to throw money out of the window.”

By Thomas Hochwarter

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