Michael Jackson has postponed the first four concerts of his comeback tour This Is It UK in London.
The King of Pop, who was due to kick off a much-awaited 50-show run at the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena on July 8, said he needed more time for rehearsals to ensure the shows were perfect.
While the opening night has been put back to July 13, three other gigs, previously slated for July 10, 12 and 14, will not be staged until March next year.
Randy Phillips, President of concert promoters AEG Live, said Jackson and his creative director, Kenny Ortega, had prompted the delay. "Kenny and Michael are, at the same time, both creative pioneers and perfectionists," the ‘BBC’ quoted Phillips as saying in a statement.
"This show has grown in size and scope, thereby necessitating more lead time for manufacture of the set, programming the content for the massive video elements, and, most importantly, more time for full production and dress rehearsals,” he added.
Phillips continued: "As much as we agonised over this change in the original schedule, we are sure the fans will understand when they experience the level of entertainment Michael Jackson intends to deliver." Ortega apologised to the fans for the rescheduled dates, saying: "We apologise to all disappointed Michael Jackson fans and remain extremely dedicated and focused on creating an exceptional live music experience."
Although full refunds are being offered to those who cannot make it for the re-arranged gigs, some fans are livid. Pam A wrote on a Michael Jackson messageboard: "What difference is a week going to make in the grand scheme of things?”
Another fan calling themselves janmic, added: “I had plane tickets booked from Canada. I'm supposed to be returning home on July 9th. I am really not impressed."