Michael Jackson Says London Concerts To Be 'Final Curtain Call'
Michael Jackson has confirmed his July residency at London's O2 arena during a press conference at the venue, describing it as the "final curtain call."
Hundreds of screaming fans turned up for the announcement, as well as members of the media, after promoters AEG Live posted a message on the 23,000-capacity venue's Web site inviting people to attend.
"Thank you all... this is it," said Jackson, who appeared an hour and a half late at 5.30pm. "I just wanted to say, these will be my final show performances in London. When I say this is it, it really means this is it. I'll be performing the songs my fans want to hear. This is it, this is really it, this is the final curtain call."
He added: "I'll see you in July and... I love you. I really do, you have to know that, from the bottom of my heart. This is it and see you in July."
The first date is July 8 and tickets go on sale March 13. Tickets are priced £50 ($70) to £75 ($106). Full details will be announced later.
Posters advertising 10 shows, also stating 'This is it,' appeared on the London Underground before the announcement.
The statement issued announcing the residency says that Jackson's O2 shows will be "history in the making as the King of Pop Michael Jackson performs in London for the last time."
Rob Hallett, president international touring, AEG Live, said in the statement: "We are delighted to facilitate the return of the King of Pop, long may he reign! Michael at the O2 this summer will surely be the highlight of the musical year.
"When Michael Jackson performs, the eyes of the world will be watching. Look out for an International flavor to the audience, as this will be his only concerts in the world this year."
Billboard.com had already revealed details of the residency and, earlier today, AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke told the audience at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium that Jackson is likely to perform a total of 20 to 25 shows at the O2 Arena once further dates are added to the initial 10 shows.
"We spent two years working with Michael trying to get him comfortable with this," said Leiweke, during his keynote Q&A at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. He added that the singer is "very focused."
Jackson has not released a studio album or played a full concert since 2001. His last major tour was the HIStory World Tour in 1996-1997.