Jackson family supports tribute concert: brother
By Robin Pomeroy
LONDON (Reuters) - Jermaine Jackson denied on Wednesday rumors that other members of the Jackson family oppose the concert he plans to stage in Vienna later this month in memory of his brother Michael.
Jackson also dismissed reports that two of the biggest stars he has lined up for the Vienna concert would not show and said he hoped Stevie Wonder would also play the September 26 gig, to be staged in front of Vienna's Schoenbrunn castle.
"I invited my mother, I invited my brothers and sisters as well," he told a news conference in London. "I am not happy with the talk being said in the press about the support isn't there. My mother from the very start supported this."
Jackson himself aims to perform a virtual duet with his late brother who died from a drug overdose on June 25, weeks ahead of a planned marathon series of stadium concerts in London.
Showbiz websites have speculated the show could bomb because the few big names so far announced might not be able to make it.
Jackson confirmed that singer Mary J. Blige would be busy at a fashion event in Italy on the day of the concert, but that she would fly in to perform in its second half.
R&B star Chris Brown, who is on probation for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, the pop star Rihanna, will perform if allowed to leave the United States.
"He wants to be here. It's just up to what he's going through with his court case right now," Jackson said. "He's definitely going to be here."
When asked whether Brown's well publicized assault would lower the tone of the concert, he replied: "Not at all. And I'll tell you why. He's asked for forgiveness. ... He's a wonderful performer and during these times people need support."
Jackson did not confirm any big new acts since unveiling plans for the concert at a news conference on Tuesday.
But he said it was likely that Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly and Maroon 5 would perform, alongside a roster of names from India and the Middle East that he is putting together.
Jackson said there had been talk of holding the concert at Washington's Lincoln Memorial, but he had chosen the European venue due to his brother's huge fan base there.
At one point in the news conference, Jackson the broke into tears when asked whether his family had been able to grieve Michael's death in private.
"We haven't had time yet, we are trying to find our time just to be a family and pick up the pieces and move on," he said.
"At the same time we realize that Michael just didn't belong to us, he belonged to the world and we have to continue to ... give them what they want."
Organizers expect an audience of 65,000 and that millions will watch on TV screens worldwide as artists reinterpret Jackson's greatest hits including Billie Jean, Thriller and Bad.
Tickets for the concert are being sold in stages for 63 to 518 euros ($91-$745) each. More than half have been sold. The concert's producer, Georg Kindel, said he had seen fake tickets for 1,000 pounds ($1,651) for sale on the web.
(Editing by Paul Casciato)