Kenny Ortega and Michael Jackson.
While at The Joint ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Hard Rock Hotel on Tuesday, I took the opportunity to talk with AEG Live/Concerts West President John Meglen about AEG’s concert-run plans with King of Pop Michael Jackson at their 02 Arena in London starting July 8.
John told me: “Michael is at the very beginning stage with Kenny Ortega, who is creating the staging. They are finishing up with the musical director and starting to talk about what musicians they want. Michael is working on a lot of dance stuff at home. The work at the studio right now is more about planning meetings: the initial stages of production, then the rehearsals, all get going in L.A.
“Once everybody is set, we will ship everything to London in the beginning of June and continue over there. It’s not far out now, just six weeks. It comes up fast. It seemed much farther away, but July 8 is now right around the corner.
“There will be special effects, explosions and definitely magic. I can’t say who he’s worked with. Michael and Kenny came here to Vegas. They went to Le Reve at the Wynn, and Kenny went to see the Criss Angel show. There will definitely be magical elements in the show.”
I learned that Michael would perform from an end stage and not in the round as Prince did at the 02 Arena. John, who will be attending the premiere of Peepshow on Saturday at Planet Hollywood and returns here for his Britney Spears tour stop at the MGM Grand on April 25, added: “We are very fortunate as the economy is not impacting our tours and ticket sales.
“It’s holding very nicely at the high end, and even with Bette Midler now doing 100 shows a year at the Caesars Palace Colosseum, we rarely dip below 80 percent occupancy, and that’s just great!”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.