Michael Jackson Postpones First O2 Arena "This Is It" Concerts

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Michael Jackson has postponed several of the first dates of his "This Is It" run of concerts at London's O2 Arena, the BBC has learned. Jackson reportedly needs more rehearsal time before starting the 50-concert run, which was originally scheduled to begin on July 8th. The BBC reports the first concert has been pushed back five nights, while three other early-July shows have been postponed until March 2010.

"We wanted to ensure that all of Michael's fans attending the concerts get the same quality in staging and level of entertainment," promoters AEG Live said in a statement. "It is AEG Live's sincere hope that those lucky enough to have purchased tickets will have enough time to change their personal schedules and travel plans if they are coming from outside of London... We understand the inconvenience this may have caused and for this reason we have secured some excellent hotel deals for Michael Jackson fans traveling to London on these rescheduled dates."

(Look back at Michael Jackson's tumultuous life and career, in photos.)

"Inconvenience" is an understatement, as thousands of international fans were scheduled to flock to the British capital for the opening concerts of the 50-show run. For those who can't attend the rescheduled dates, AEG Live is offering full refunds for their tickets, but that doesn't account for people who bought tickets on the secondary market. Turns out those British bookmakers that bet against Jackson performing on July 8th from the onset were right.

Pessimists will pounce on reports that Jackson has been rehearsing non-stop for the tour, and ask whether five days will make a significant difference in his preparation. Or are there bigger problems — like that Jackson 5 tour lawsuit — and more postponements on the way? Rock Daily will have more on this story as we inch towards the (currently scheduled) opening of the This Is It Run.

Here's the list of affected dates, per AEG Live:
8th July will take place on 13th July 2009
10th July will be moved to 1st March 2010
12th July will be moved to 3rd March 2010
14th July will be moved to 6th March 2010

Related Stories:

New Report Goes Inside Michael Jackson's "This Is It" Rehearsals
Michael Jackson "This Is It" Run Threatened By Jackson 5 Lawsuit
Michael Jackson Sells Out 50 London Shows as Controversy Brews On Secondary Market