Millennium Stadium rises to the occasion for Jackson tribute

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Yesterday it was announced that Cardiff's Millennium Stadium would be hosting a one-off, major Michael Jackson tribute concert on 8 October.

Promoted by Global Live Events, who have a solid track record in large events, Michael Forever promises to feature "the world's greatest performing artists" in a "spectacular" concert. The line-up will be announced on Wednesday 3 August and tickets will be available from the following day.

In a statement on the official concert website, Jackson's mother Katherine said:

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. The event, Michael Forever - The Tribute Concert, will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on October 8, 2011.

I will be there along with as many members of my family that are available. 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.

Although the Jackson family are split over the concert (with brothers Jermaine and Randy criticising the timing of the event), at least some of Michael Jackson's relatives are expected to attend.

Global Live Events' president Chris Hunt said in relation to the stadium's sliding roof capability:

"It will not be less than four hours long and, rather than looking like a massive outdoor festival, we can create an intimate atmosphere that Michael would be proud to perform in.

"We wanted to do something decent and worthy of Michael's musical genius yet something fun and authentic that you would envision Michael attending with excitement and joy, surrounded by talent that he respected and loved."

This would certainly be one of the major events to come to the stadium, coming almost seven years after Tsunami Relief Cardiff, its last major, multi-headliner, charity concert.

It is certainly a coup for the stadium, the city and for Wales as a whole. Tribute gigs for stars as super as Jackson are few and far between. The iconic twin towers of the old Wembley Stadium are as linked with the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 as they are with Live Aid seven years earlier.

The eyes of the world would inevitably fall on the city, providing that the level of music stars on display is suitably high. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is still the yardstick by which events like this are measured: David Bowie, George Michael, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Elton John and, lest we forget, Spinal Tap all played.

One thing that differentiates 2011 from 1992 is technology. This concert is planned to be shown in 30 countries in 2D and 3D. If this is event is pulled off, Cardiff's reputation as a host city for major events will be massively enhanced.

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