Tickets To Be Refunded For Canceled Jackson Shows
DAVID GREENE, host:
We go now to Britain where a tribute celebrating the life of Michael Jackson dominated the airwaves all weekend. But in London, a major music promoter also began working on an overwhelming problem: how to give refunds to hundreds of thousands of people who bought tickets to see Michael Jackson perform in a series of 50 concerts this summer.
NPR's Rob Gifford reports.
ROB GIFFORD: The tickets sold out in minutes; the refund could take somewhat longer. Seven hundred-and-fifty thousand people paid $85 million for tickets to see Michael Jackson live at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, East London. Jackson showed up in London, in March, in person to announce the series of concerts aptly named the This is It Tour.
Mr. MICHAEL JACKSON (Late Singer): This is it. I mean, this is really it. This is the final curtain call. I'll see you in July…
(Soundbite of cheering)
Mr. JACKSON: …and I love you.
GIFFORD: The irony and tragedy of those words has, of course, not been lost on anyone. The first of the 50 - yes, 50 - shows was due to take place on July 13, but reports suggest that concert organizer AEG had only been able to insure the first ten nights of the 50 dates. There were numerous reports that it was proving difficult to get cover, since insurers were not convinced that Jackson would be fit enough to perform all the dates.
Fans who bought directly from official ticket sellers should get a full refund, although the picture is less certain for those who bought from a third party. A detailed announcement regarding refunds is expected this week. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson's greatest hits album, "Number Ones," has raced to the top of the British album chart, and six of Jackson's songs have gone into the singles top 40.
Tributes continue to pour in from fans across Britain and across the world, all lamenting - as one British newspaper put it - the day the moonwalk died.
Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.
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