Fifty nights. One million fans. And one Michael Jackson out to prove he's still the King of Pop. How's that for HIStory-making?
All 50 of Jackson's comeback concerts at London's O2 Arena sold out within minutes of going on sale to the general public this morning, raising the possibility that the "Billie Jean" singer may take the show on the road—and even play the U.S. for the first time in nearly a decade.
"Michael is 'thrilled' by the response and wanted as many fans to share the experience with him as possible. This is the last chance to see the King of Pop in London, performing the songs we all love!" reads a message at michaeljacksonlive.com.
The series of gigs kicks off July 9, runs through September and then, following a three-month break, picks up again in January. The residency wraps up Feb. 24, 2010.
Given the O2 Arena's capacity is just shy of 13,000, Jackson has sold about 1 million tickets for his run—a virtually unprecedented feat and one that must be especially gratifying for Jackson given his myriad financial and legal troubles, most notably his successful battle against child-molestation charges.
Promoter AEG, which has labeled the record sales "music history," knew there was massive demand out there given the huge response to the presale allotment of tickets. A large number even camped out overnight outside the O2 Arena for what he has called "my final curtain call"—although he has not elaborated whether he just means these would be his performances in London or if he plans on retiring from the stage for good.
The London run began with just 10 announced shows. During the past week, Jackson and AEG added another 40 dates to bring the count to 50—or one for each year of the Moonwalker's life. Although there has been speculation the fragile Jackson wouldn't be up for such a demanding slate (indeed, U.K. oddsmakers are taking bets on how many shows he'll actually perform), the promoter says he had to pass a vigorous physical before the contract was signed.
Jackson hasn't performed a full concert since his one-off 20th solo anniversary show in 2001. He hasn't had a full-fledged trek since his HIStory tour wrapped in 1997.
Previously, his spokesman has said Jackson was preparing for a world tour, although no dates have been confirmed.