With his doctor on trial, Michael Jackson honored with concert


Photo courtesy of CNN

Fans gather for the “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert” in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 in honor of singer, the late Michael Jackson.

CNN Wire Service

As his physician stands trial in his death, Michael Jackson was honored halfway around the world Saturday in a concert in Cardiff, Wales.

Michael Jackson’s three children – Prince, Paris and Blanket – attended the concert and went on stage to introduce a video appearance by Beyonce.

A sell-out crowd of 50,000 people attended the concert, organizers said after the event.

Marlon Jackson said the event commemorated his brother’s life.

“The message today is have a great time and remember him as a positive person and all the different things that he stood for – not just his music but the human side of him.”

Only one scheduled performer didn’t make the concert: Jennifer Hudson, according to spokeswoman Dee McCourt of concert organizer Global Live Events.

In comments before performing, Smokey Robinson said Michael Jackson would have approved of the event – though it has stirred controversy within the Jackson family.

“I think Michael would have loved it. I am not sure he is not watching any way and that he is not smiling,” Robinson said.

Robinson noted how Jackson’s doctor is now standing trial in Los Angeles for allegedly causing Jackson’s death.

“I actually wish it was in Los Angeles so that it could really counteract the trial, so that people could have a positive image in their head about what is happening with Michael rather than what’s going on with the trial,” Robinson said.

The “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert” was held in the 75,000-seat Millennium Stadium, but many of those seats weren’t being used for the concert.

Ticket prices ranged from about $54 to about $155, another concert spokeswoman said.

The event was billed as “a worthy celebration of Michael’s life,” in the words of his mother, who McCourt said attended the event but didn’t appear on stage.

But the concert has been mired in controversy since its inception – especially about its timing.

Concert organizers also said they were not allowed to show any footage of Jackson singing or play his song tracks because of copyright issues. The concert consisted of artists doing their own renditions of Jackson songs.

Members of the Jackson family who performed on stage included brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie – and 3T, which consists of Tito Jackson’s three sons, McCourt said.

Michael Jackson’s sister LaToya also sang at the concert, McCourt said.

Other artists performing at the concert included Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Gladys Knight, Pixie Lott, Alexandra Burke, Craig David, JLS and Alien Ant Farm, McCourt said.

But sister Janet Jackson didn’t attend. Neither did brothers Jermaine and Randy, who both have criticized the timing of the event, which is coinciding with the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.

The Jackson family has been publicly split over the concert since Tito, Marlon, Jackie, LaToya and family matriarch Katherine Jackson announced their support for it in July.

“We want to make clear that this does not reflect the position of the entire family,” Jermaine and Randy Jackson said in a joint statement. “While we wholeheartedly support the spirit of a tribute that honors our brother, we find it impossible to support an event that is due to take place during the criminal trial surrounding Michael’s death.”

Katherine Jackson has told CNN that she understood her children’s objections to the timing of the show, but she felt the event was appropriate.

While she said she will attend most of the Murray trial, she traveled to Wales for the tribute.

In a statement on the concert’s website, Katherine Jackson said she was “greatly honored” that Global Live Events planned the concert in memory of her son.

“Michael gave his entire life to the world through his love, his music and his devotion to healing the planet. It is with great gratitude for me to give my complete blessing and full support to what I consider to be the one and only Official Michael Jackson Tribute Concert,” Katherine Jackson wrote.

“I am positive that this event will be an event great enough in scale, talent and imagination to form a worthy celebration of Michael’s life. It is intended to be the biggest, and the best concert event in the world for many years to come. This is how Michael would have wanted it and I am sure it will be exactly that,” she added.

Waiting to enter the concert, fan Mandy Meek said she gets choked up at the thought of Michael Jackson – and his personal travails.

“I think he had bad press. [It’s] not nice what he went through. Nobody understood him. Nobody thinks about his childhood. Perhaps if we all had a childhood like that, we would be misunderstood,” Meek said.

A Jackson family source earlier told CNN that the plan to have the Michael Forever tribute carried live on Facebook for $3.99 was canceled because the labels who own the music rights to the Michael Jackson songs to be performed denied broadcast rights to concert producers.

CNN’s Erin Mclaughlin reported from Cardiff, Wales, and Michael Martinez from Los Angeles. CNN’s Alan Duke also contributed to this report.