king of pop

The Great AEG Hologram Debacle

2 July 2009

Imagine having your very own one of these, shaped like Michael JacksonDoes anybody else think that AEG Live, the company responsible for booking Michael Jackson’s gargantuan run of shows at the O2 in May, got what was coming to them?

Against the star’s wishes, AEG extended MJ’s initial run of 10 shows to 50, virtually overnight. Michael himself wasn’t happy about this but it seemed he had no choice in the matter. It was obvious to everybody that he was going to really struggle to make it through 50 concerts – the people knew it, the media knew it and the insurance companies knew it. As a result, AEG were only able to secure insurance against a small proportion of the concerts they’d booked and now they are in the hole for something like £300 million. 

It has recently emerged that the company are offering fans a “souvenir ticket”, featuring a hologram of the great man, as an alternative to a refund. I’m sorry, but what?! A hologram? You used to get tat like that free in cereal packets in the 1980s. That is clearly the result of a group of executives sitting around a boardroom trying to figure out how they can exploit the memory of Michael Jackson just to save themselves a few quid.

Now, I don’t want to come across as naive – businessmen exploit musical talent for financial gain all the time (that’s why we have a music industry and it’s also the reason bands are able to get their music out to millions rather than just hundreds, which is clearly a good thing) –  but I think in this case it’s a little crass. The problem, however, is this. I wish I could say that the fans will see through AEG’s hokey offer. I wish I could say that devoted Jackson-ites will boycott the scheme on principle. But they won’t. And AEG know that. 

Personally, I wouldn’t accept a shiny ticket for a concert that never happened created by a desperate corporation as a suitable memento for the loss of the world’s greatest entertainer. Mind you, maybe that’s just sour grapes from one of the schmucks who failed to get a ticket in the first place. 😉 

What I will say is this – if you can’t decide between a refund and a souvenir ticket, why not join me on my soapbox and take the cash? Then, later on today, in place of framing AEG’s ground-breaking hologram technology and hanging it on your wall, why not bust out a huge ghetto blaster and strut the streets of your hometown playing “Speed Demon” on full blast and grabbing your crotch? That’s a better tribute to the King Of Pop than anything that could have been dreamed up by the suits at AEG…

My very own Rock Supergroup

20 March 2009

Writing consecutive blogs about Guns N Roses and Michael Jackson has got me thinking about my rock supergroup. To be taken seriously in muso circles, every self-respecting, self-aggrandising rock fan should have their own supergroup, just as they really ought to be able to reel off their Top Five “Track One Side Ones”*** on request.

I’ll cut to the chase. Whilst I’m on the subject of MJ and GnR, the King Of Pop (circa 1987) would take on vocal duties whilst Slash would provide lead guitar. As tempted as I would be to include Axl in the line-up as well, I believe that supergroup regulations forbid any two members to have come from the same original band and, in any case, you can’t have two frontmen. Well, unless you’re The Beatles. Or The Libertines. Anyhow, I digress. Since the band would OBVIOUSLY be piano-led, I’d have to employ Jerry Lee Lewis on the ivories and have Ben Folds waiting in the wings to fill his shoes when the inevitable happens. Tim Commerford from Rage Against The Machine would play bass and Zeppelin‘s John Bonham (resurrected) would be my stick-man.

And so, I hear you cry, what kind of music would this pure pop/hard rock/hip-hop metal fusion/50s throwback leviathan pump out? Well, exactly that – heavy riffing, face-melting, boogie woogie hook-laden pop with wicked dance moves.

And I shall call them “Dangerous Killing In The Name Of A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On Heaven’s Door” (yes, it works).

Coming to a stadium near you.

Chris Lightyear

ps. please do comment back with your own supergroups and we’ll see if we can out-do each other like Top Trumps.

*** “Black Dog” from Led Zeppelin IV, “Taxman” from Revolver, “Jackson Cannery” from Ben Folds Five, “La Breeze” from Simian’s We Are Your Friends and “Slam” from Pendulum’s Hold Your Colour (if you discount the 53-second opening prelude, which for these purposes I do)