Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ELton to Appear at Naples Piedigrotta Festival

A window that opens to the world with music, art and tradition for a city of increasing globalization. It is a Piedigrotta that promises fireworks articifio than planned in Naples 3-13 September. Not just for the fireworks display at midnight on September 5, but for their return to Naples after 36 years of Elton John, the protagonist in Piazza del Plebiscito, the concert event of Piedigrotta 2009.

"Naples always shows the best of itself when it opens to the world, the worst in the history of Naples is Naples when it closes in on itself - said the governor of Campania Antonio Bassolino - and this will be a great Piedigrotta international flavor, which speaks language of tradition and the future. A party that is an extraordinary opportunity for promotion to Naples, an event where he lives for the talent, creativity and culture of this extraordinary city. "Ample room for the floats prepared by the artisans of the paper Nola: they parade in ten, one for each municipality and the artistic director of animation on the floats will be Enzo Avitabile.

"Piedigrotta unites all Neapolitans, is in the heart of each one - said the mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino - whether Catholic or not - is a festival with ancient roots and deep tradition that lie in the cultural, religious and popular in Naples and is capable continue to produce cultural stimuli.

- Napoli Notizie

Billy & Elton ok for Philadelphia

Forty-four years after the Beatles‘ legendary show at Shea Stadium, Paul McCartney returned to Flushing Meadows, Queens, last night to perform the first concert at Citi Field, Shea’s replacement. The sold-out crowd was clearly nostalgic for the Beatles’ heyday, but not as much as McCartney himself. “These occasions are so cool,” he said early on in the show, as he walked to the front of the stage to absorb the crowd’s adoration. “I’m just going to take a sec to soak it all in.”

During the first encore McCartney spoke about his most recent appearance in the area, guesting with Billy Joel during his Last Play At Shea concert. “That gentleman is with us tonight,” he said as Joel ran onstage, sending the audience into hysterics. He played piano and sang a rollicking duet with Macca on “I Saw Her Standing There.” Joel, currently on tour with Elton John, looked extremely sunburned, but clearly relished the opportunity to play again with his hero again.

Elton's management has confirmed that the Face2Face shows on 30 July and 1 August at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia will take place as scheduled.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Elton Supports Boy George in Jail

Boy George wants to go back to prison so he could perform for inmates.

The former Culture Club singer and recovering drug addict was released from Edmunds Hill Prison, in Suffolk, in May.

George, who is planning to tour as soon as his electronic tag is removed, old his management: “If you get a gig in a prison, I’ll turn up.”

The singer also revealed how Elton John’s letter helped him deal with his four-month stint behind bars after he was convicted of falsely imprisoning a male escort.

“Elton offered me love and support from both himself and David [Furnish]. He also sent me a lovely music player,” the Daily Express quoted George as saying.

“Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Antony Hegarty and Holly Johnson wrote to me too. The only time I got emotional in prison was when I got letters from friends. People that beforehand I wouldn’t have thought I could rely on. It was really humbling.

“I did have a falling out with Elton a few years ago because I was being a bitch [George called him "a humourless grand old dame"] but we made up and we’re really good friends again,” George added. (ANI)

Billy Postpones 2nd NY Gig

The Elton John / Billy Joel Face 2 Face concert originally scheduled for Monday, July 27th at the Times Union Center has been postponed.

The TU Center tells us AEG live, the show's promoter, and the TU Center were told by management that Billy Joel has been advised by his doctor to cancel all public appearances for the next 72 hours.

He has apparently been suffering from extreme physical fatigue and is undergoing additional medical tests.

Organizers say they are working to establish a new date, and ask that everyone who bought tickets hold on to those tickets until more information is available.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bily Joel Has the Flu - Buffalo Postponed

Due to flu-like symptoms, and following his doctor's advice, Billy Joel has been forced to postpone this evening's Face2Face concert with Elton John at the HSBC Arena. Additional information will be announced next week regarding the rescheduled date.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

GBYBR Sampled on Raekwon's New Hip Hop Album & works with Just Jack in Casting

Elton John Personally signed off a sample of "Yellowbrick Road" to be used on Raekwon's (Wu-Tang member) new album

Elton John is very very very picky about who he lends his work to but Wu-Tang member Raekwon has now become one of the select few who have had Elton give his work to.

Raekwon is prepping his upcoming album "Only Built For Cuban Linx 2" and Sumit from The Hip Hop Chronicle UK was the first person to have a listen of the album.

The final track on the album samples "Yellowbrick Road" and Elton signed off on this personally.

The story goes

RZA and Elton are good friends, RZA reached out to Elton and told him about the project. They sent the beat to Elton and he immediately signed off on the record and actually really likes it.

A great end to a solid album.

- PR Inside

SIR ELTON JOHN turned casting director when he recruited actor JAMES NESBITT to star in a music video for British pop star JUST JACK.

The Rocket Man singer, who has previously cast Justin Timberlake and Robert Downey Jr. in his music videos, helped Just Jack add some star power to his promo clip for The Day I Died by calling on Nesbitt to film a cameo.

The singer - real name Jack Allsopp - explains, "I asked Elton if he knew anyone who'd be good for the role. After hearing the album, he said he had just the man."

And Nesbitt insists he jumped at the chance: "Elton called out of the blue and asked me to do it. You don't say no to him."

- Contact Music

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Billy Elliot to Launch US Tour in Chicago

Chicago’s arts and entertainment journalists got invited today to an unusual venue for a theater-related press conference. Ahead of Elton John’s second Wrigley Field show with Billy Joel this evening, Broadway in Chicago assembled us in a Wrigley VIP suite for the announcement that Billy Elliot, the dance musical with a score by Sir Elton and based on the 2000 British film, would launch its U.S. national tour here next March.

The story of a boy who wants to dance, set against a miners’ strike in Thatcher-era northern England, is deeply British, but Sir Elton is confident it’ll play to midwesterners as well as it has in London, Australia and New York. “It’s very rooted in the miners’ struggle,” he said, but “the story itself is a classic story of success, of beating the odds.” John spoke of his love for Chicago, saying he got sober here 19 years ago. “I also have happy memories of doing Aida here, which was at the [Cadillac] Palace” in its 1999 pre-Broadway run, directed by Robert Falls. “That was a huge success for me.”

Performances will begin March 2010 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre (24 West Randolph, Chicago). Additional cities, dates and casting will be announced at a later date.

"Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities to play," composer Elton John said. "And it is my distinct pleasure to share this show that I love so much with a city that has always been very kind to me."

- Broadway World

Watch Out for Stolen EJ/BJ Tickets

Billy Joel and Elton John are playing at Wrigley field tonight. Are you going? Here's a troubling question: Will your ticket work? Some didn't for the first show. As CBS 2's Anne State reports a major ticket broker says 200 concert tickets were stolen.

Billy Joel and Elton John rocked Wrigley Field Thursday night. But for some fans, it was absolute torture.

"It was my graduation gift," Charlie Gandleman said about his tickets to the show.

Charlie is one of several people who told us that when they tried to get into the concert, they were told their tickets were stolen.

"We walked in, my ticket got me in, but their tickets wouldn't scan," said Marc Kovarsky.

Marc and his friends say they got their tickets from a reputable ticket broker.

We tried, but couldn't get any answers at the ballpark that night.

A group of women told us their tickets were purchased through Front Row.

The next day, we called the company in Willowbrook and were told that 14 of its customers got bogus concert tickets. This was the first time that has happened in 25 years. Front Row is now issuing credit or giving out tickets to the Tuesday night show.

Patti Piscopo told us her tickets were purchased through Stub Hub. Stub Hub told us that it too, is working to issue credit or new tickets.

We were told that the primary ticket agent for this event was

Stub Hub says had 200 tickets stolen in the mail but it failed to notify ticket brokers, as is protocol. And the tickets ended up for sale online.

Kris Fishman, was a would-be concertgoer.

"So six of us came down, had a great dinner -- stolen tickets," said Kris.

We called They claim to know nothing about this.
They told us "the transaction took place between the Cubs and Live Nation." Live Nation was promoting the event.

We had already called both of them, asking about the ticket problems. The Cubs told us we should talk to the promoter. The promoter, Live Nation, told us we need to talk to the team.

However, Stub Hub is talking. They told us if any of their customers have trouble tomorrow night, go to the Stub Hub office on Clark Street near Wrigley Field.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Elton's Collaboration with Bono, Chris Martin & Sting...

See Sir Elton's new collaboration with Sting (The Police), Bono (U2), Chris Martin (Coldplay), Snoop Dogg, Slash (Guns n' Roses) and Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen).

"Dove of Peace" is featured at the conclusion of the new blockbuster comedy flick now in cinemas.

Wrigley Field Review

It was the meeting of a knight and a brawler, a U.K. glam-pop prince and a Bronx bomber. Elton John (Sir Elton to us paupers) and Billy Joel shared the stage Thursday at Wrigley Field, but little else.

The two piano players who dominated pop radio in the ‘70s and ‘80s presented contrasting styles that didn’t always mesh. John entered in a sequined tux and tinted glasses, a more restrained version of his Liberace-on-acid ‘70s look. Joel, meanwhile, could’ve passed for a stock broker with his tan, salt-and-pepper goatee and sports jacket.

John was mostly business, focusing intently on music that has held up well. Joel cracked wise in a lousy Chicago accent, told jokes and mugged a lot. His music had a similar attention-demanding brassiness.

Between the two, they offered a set that could’ve been lifted from their first tour together, in 1994 --- not that anyone in the audience seemed to be complaining. The John-Joel juggernaut is one of the more lucrative tours in a recession-racked summer, despite top tickets that cost $175 plus service fees. Wrigley was sold out of 40,000 tickets (some seats remain for the duo’s encore Tuesday at the same location), and Joel squinted toward the upper-grandstand from his grand piano in center field and cracked, “Those are [lousy] seats and you actually bought ‘em --- thank you very much.”

They came and they spent because these graying giants offered 35 tunes that have become staples of oldies radio and karaoke bars, while providing endless fodder for YouTube parodies and tributes. The voices of the two headliners have frayed a bit; John’s is noticeably deeper and Joel has lost considerable range. But the songs have hung around. As one fan in my section said, “Everyone here knows every word.”

The two piano players faced each other at the outset and swapped verses on four crowd-pleasers: John’s “Your Song” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” and “My Life.” Though intriguing to imagine the two taking on each other’s songs, the opening face-off had the schmaltzy aroma of a Vegas show, complete with the requisite preening.

But when Joel exited and left the stage to John, the show took off. His five-piece band did its share, especially Bob Birch, whose supple, melodic bass lines were like little songs in themselves. The rococo rock flourishes of “Funeral for a Friend,” the avant-pop orchestrations and percussive piano of “Madman Across the Water,” the fresh gospel take on “Levon” – John brought new energy and ideas to songs that are more than three decades old. “Rocket Man” was his trump card; an extended coda found John playing a pensive solo against Davey Johnstone’s acoustic guitar, then shifting into Professor Longhair-like New Orleans mode.

Joel was next. His self-deprecating Every-mook approach has limited charm and wore thin quickly. Like John, he drew heavily on the music of his youth for inspiration, rejiggering everything from doo-wop to the Beatles. But his songs couldn’t match the elegance of John’s ballads or the swing of his counterpart’s rockers. Instead, Joel’s songs suggested someone jabbing you in the chest to provoke a fight – there’s no other way to describe the truly annoying “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the “ack-ack-ack” of “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” or the parody-as-travesty of “It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll to Me.”

Sometimes Joel just appeared to be trying too hard, cramming too many ideas into his arrangements and too much shtick into his presentation. Whereas John was the consummate pro, Joel (at 60, two years younger than John) resembled the over-eager apprentice.

But Joel got the last word. As the fans stood and swayed at the finish, it was his “Piano Man” they were singing. And like the song says, they put plenty of bread in his jar.

- Chicago Tribune

Monday, July 13, 2009

F2F Washington Review

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I'm a big fan of both Elton John and Billy Joel.

So, naturally, there was no question that I'd be anywhere but Nationals Park in Washington last night to see the two piano rock 'n' rollers play "Face to Face." The guys have perfected this "F2F" gig, having played these "in tandem" concerts off and on since 1994.

Oh, what a night it was: a rocking, drama-filled evening with two music legends. The concert began much like the piano guys' past shows.

As the opening theme music boomed throughout the open-air baseball stadium, the two grand pianos emerged from underground, raising up to stage level and laying out 18 feet of pure piano. Soon after, Billy emerged, then Elton. A warm hug, kindly greetings to the capacity crowd, and they were on their way ...

The boys opened with "Your Song," with Billy starting the verses. An appropriate opener indeed. Next came "Just the Way You Are," which Elton kicked off. But not long into the song, Elton stopped playing the piano ... a curious and worrisome sight to any who've seen Elton in concert. It was clear that something was wrong.

Elton dove into the next number, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." But just a couple measures in he abruptly stopped the song. Turned out there were technical difficulties: The sustain pedal on his piano was sticking. Not good. Elton was growing increasingly upset. And Billy tried to calm the situation. He even whipped his suit jacket off and got down on his back under Elton's piano to help what looked like four technicians frantically trying to fix the glitch.

It didn't quite work. But Billy tried. And he quickly ran over to his own piano to play some "filler" music -- "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy," to the delight of the crowd. Billy's cute quips calmed the tension a bit. He said at one point: "This is an authentic rock-and-roll [screw-up]! At least you know it's not on tape!"

The piano guys decided to shelve their normal format of performing a few songs together at the beginning, and rather just let Billy go ahead and do his set, which was clear to see was not the original plan. Elton was supposed to do his set first this night. But Billy pulled it off like a pro, and after Elton departed the stage while his piano was being lowered underground and operated on,

Billy dove headfirst into "Angry Young Man." And went full-steam ahead: "Movin' Out," "Allentown," "Zanzibar" (a terrific treat), "Don't Ask Me Why," "She's Always a Woman" (with some cute comments about his current divorce -- No. 3, it is) and then the masterful "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," followed by "River of Dreams," "We Didn't Start the Fire" (with cute visual of Elton on the display screen during the lyric "England's got a new queen"), "It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to Me" (with Elvis gyrations) and "Only the Good Die Young."

Throughout Billy's set, the crowd was engaged and clearly having a grand time with an old friend. The words, everyone knew. The melodies, everyone adored. Billy was still relevant to this crowd, which spanned the ages. Billy, despite his fame and fortune, is an everyman. The easy-going way, the observational sense of humor, he's the guy next door (who also happens to be ridiculously talented, rich and famous).

After Billy wrapped "Only the Good Die Young," he departed the stage, ending his solo portion of the show. Elton's recuperating piano was soon elevated to stage level again, and the crowd held its collective breath that the piano's surgery was a success. And it was. The haunting intro to "Funeral for a Friend" began, and Elton soon emerged with warm waves to the crowd. As he ventured into his piano intro in the song, it appeared there were still a few (new) issues. But he played through the dreamy song, which morphs so brilliantly and wonderfully into "Love Lies Bleeding."

Elton rolled into the rollicking "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," and because of the sound issues he was still detecting, his tech quickly resolved things with a couple quick switcheroos of equipment. (Whew!) After "Saturday," Elton, to the crowd, explained the earlier pedal problem and how the notes had been running together. He then thanked Billy and his band for coming to his rescue and playing his set out of order.

Elton barrelled into "Burn Down the Mission," then played an extended version of "Madman Across the Water," which I got the feeling most of the crowd didn't know very well (shame, shame). Next, he played the crowd-pleasing "Tiny Dancer," and then the melancholy "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," which, I admit, is my favorite tune. Elton can't sing the falsetto in the chorus any longer, but makes up for it by having his band sing those parts, while he harmonizes in his lower register. Nice. Very, very nice.

Afterward, Elton stayed in the early '70s with "Daniel" and then a super-extended (14-minute!) version of "Rocket Man," which the crowd seemed to eat up. While not one of my favorite tunes, "Rocket Man" featured several new, beautiful and inventive piano licks.

"Philadelphia Freedom" was next, as everyone, including two ushers, bopped and sang along. Elton was in his groove. He then slid into the percussive "I'm Still Standing" (a brief venture, this evening, into the '80s), then the rousing, playful "Crocodile Rock," which included requisite sing-along. The crowd was fully engaged. And just in time for Billy's re-emergence.

The two men could now pick up where they left off earlier in the night -- with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." They shared the singing and shared the piano-playing for the rest of the show. The duo ventured into a spirited version of "My Life," with Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as intro. Then went for "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," "The Bitch Is Back," "You May Be Right" (with Billy "smashing" his sweat-filled towel against his piano to the sound of the breaking glass at the beginning of the song) and "Bennie and the Jets" (quite the crowd favorite).

The fellows slowed it down with "Candle in the Wind" (which they swapped vocals on) and finally, of course, "Piano Man." One sweet note: If I'm not mistaken, I could swear that the crowd (and the guys themselves) sang the words "Sing us a song, you're the Piano Men." Very sweet. Very true. And that they both did.

- Midnight Sun

See the Video of Elton Stopping the Show below and Billy Joel trying to fix his Piano below:

Sir Elton at The Starkey Hearing Foundation Awards

Elton John has long been known for his flamboyance and outrageousness. However, when he said Sunday night in St. Paul that "I'd be here every year for these guys," he wasn't being overly dramatic. He sincerely meant it. The piano man with the rose-colored glasses cares that deeply about the Eden Prairie-based Starkey Hearing Foundation.

For the second time in six years, Sir Elton headlined Starkey's "So the World May Hear Gala" at St. Paul's RiverCentre. After effusively saluting Starkey founder and CEO Bill Austin and foundation co-founder Tani Austin as "the most generous people in my life -- ever," Elton played 50 minutes of intimate, heartfelt and uplifting favorites.

This may be the best way to hear Elton John -- in a ballroom with just his Yamaha grand piano (aided unnecessarily by synthesized strings). He was clearly moved by the occasion and delivered unforgettable renditions of "That's Why They Call It the Blues," all syncopated and funky, and "Philadelphia Freedom," all sassy with plenty of black keys. Has he been to New Orleans lately or what?

"Rocket Man" had all kinds of special echo effects (was that because astronaut Buzz Aldrin was in the audience?), and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" was soulful and liberating as he ended it with a big smile and an arched eyebrow. Elton poured his heart into "Your Song," the adventurous "Daniel," the emphatic "Tiny Dancer" and the suitable closer, "Circle of Life," before returning to his seat in the audience.

The only thing that might have been more fitting for a finale would have been to have Gladys Knight, who'd performed earlier in the program, join Elton for their 1982 collaboration, "That's What Friends Are For." But this gala wasn't about all-star anthems; it was about raising money for Starkey missions to bring hearing aids to children around the world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Elton's Piano Pedal Breaks at Nationals Park

Here are some live Twitter updates from concert goers.

* At Nationals Park, Elton John's piano = FAIL.

* Elton John's piano breaks at DC Face2Face show. Billy Joel covers up for what he calls "a true rock n roll f*** up"

* In true Natinals fashion, Elton John's piano was [messed] up and he walked off stage.

* nats concert fail: Elton johns piano is broken. Concert had to be stopped mid 3rd song.
* Elton John's piano broke so he ran off stage. Auspicious start. Don't worry, Billy Joel led a sing-a-long.

* Oops! Elton John's piano breaks & he storms off stage. Billy Joel keeps playing #Nationals park tonight. Hope Sir Elton goes back on. #fail

* Elton John's piano broke and he left the stage two songs in, now it's an awesome Billy Joel only concert, even better!

* Poor Elton John's piano isnt working. just means more Billy!

* Can't beleive sir Elton John stormed offstage like a schoolgirl. Billy Joel is carrying the show. Go Billy!

* Elton John should man up and play the piano w a stuck pedal!

* F'ing hilarious!Elton John's piano pedal was sticking on the first song, n he stormed offstage. The diva is not happy, might b a short show

* Elton John's piano is broken so I am Noe just attending the Billy Joel concert.

* I can't believe the Elton John Piano F-Up isn't a trending topic! Billy Joel underneath fixing stuck pedal!

Vicarage Rd 2010 Date Imminent

Sir Elton John has provided two possible dates for his money-spinning concert at Vicarage Road next summer.

The superstar marked his 62nd birthday in March by regaining his title as Watford’s Honorary Life President and announcing he would like to hold a concert to raise money for possible signings.

This week, Hornets’ chief executive Julian Winter confirmed the event is still scheduled to take place.

Winter said: “We know he is definitely going to do one. He has given us two dates, we are just trying to nail him down for one.”

Sir Elton raised around £1.3m for his beloved club in June 2005 as part of the ‘Buy Back the Vic’ campaign.

Winter confirmed the concert will once again take place at Vicarage Road despite the logistical problems and building work currently taking place.

He said: “Logistically it is complicated but it kind of loses its reason for being if it is taken elsewhere, so it is definitely going to be at Vicarage Road.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

Looking for Good Face 2 Face Tickets?

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Charity Event News

Sir Elton will grace two more charity events this year.

An Enduring Vision, an annual gala dinner and live auction supporting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and recognising invaluable friends of the philanthropy, is slated for Monday, November 16.

This time around, Bill Clinton, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Lily Safra and Sharon Stone are to be honoured.

The location is New York City's Cipriani Wall Street.

Tickets are priced from $2,500.00. Tables start at $25,000.00.


For the ninth consecutive year, internationally acclaimed names will come together to help Starkey Hearing Foundation.

The function raises money to support the organisation's mission of providing hearing instruments to underprivileged children and promoting hearing health research and education. Elton, who has participated in the past, will play the foundation's So the World May Hear Awards Gala, taking place on Sunday, July 12 at the RiverCentre, located at 175 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul, MN.

The event, which will include a taste of Hollywood with a celebrity red carpet (free to the public, starting at 2:30 p.m.), live and silent auctions and superlative entertainment, will also include performances by comic Billy Crystal and recording legends Gladys Knight and Tony Bennett.

Guests attending the red carpet and gala will include actors Lou Ferrigno and Robert Culp; astronaut Buzz Aldrin; golf legend Arnold Palmer; Mickey Mantle's son David Mantle and songwriter Paul Williams.

- eltonjohnworld

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Will Elton Attend Michael's Memorial?

Michael Jackson's public memorial service is scheduled for 10 A.M. on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, California and simulcast inside to Nokia Theatre across the street.

17,000 free tickets to the King of Pop's memorial service will be made available to the public. Fans wishing to attend Michael Jackson’s memorial service will have to register for free tickets.

Michael’s close friend Diana Ross has been asked to lead the memorial tributes to him.

The Jackson family want her to perform his 1995 No.1 hit You Are Not Alone.

But the grief-stricken singer is worried she will lose control and break down in front of millions of people.

Diana, 65, told friends: “I want to honour Michael’s memory but I’m not sure I can hold it together. He was like a son to me.”

The Jackson family believe such a poignant tribute by the Motown legend would rank with Sir Elton John's famous performance of Candle In The Wind at Princess Diana’s funeral.

A source close to the family said: “It will be this decade’s Candle In The Wind moment.”

Diana knew Michael since he was a little boy and was one of the closest friends. He named her as guardian to his three children in the event of his mother Katherine’s death. But heartbroken Diana is so worried that she may not be able to control her emotions that she has not yet agreed to sing.

The friend explained: “Diana is in pieces over Michael’s death and is very worried about whether she can hold it together enough to sing.

“She wants to – but she’s just not sure she can do it..”

Sir Elton John movingly played a reworked version of Candle In The Wind, called Goodbye, England's Rose, at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997. For many around the world it became the defining moment of that sad day.

Madonna will not be at Tuesday’s memorial. The singer, who launched her Sweet & Sticky tour last night, is expected to record an on-screen message in memory of Jacko, who died last week of a heart attacked aged 50.

Michael’s close friend Liz Taylor will read a eulogy at the ceremony.

Other stars who will honour the star include Whitney Houston, Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder. They will take front-row seats at the memorial.

Other famous guests for the two-hour spectacular are expected to include President Obama, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Lionel Richie and Liza Minnelli.

Jacko’s British-based friends Uri Geller, Mark Lester and David Gest will fly in for the occasion.

Around 750million people are expected to tune in on TV worldwide. Thousands of British fans are said to either already be in LA hoping to attend the memorial or are on their way to the city.

Police last night warned ticket-less fans to stay away from the stadium and said they would close surrounding roads.

Jackson family spokesman Ken Sunshine said: “Everything with this memorial is to do with accommodating as many fans as possible. It's all about the fans.”

Tim Leiweke, of the ceremony’s organisers AEG Live, promised a “memorial fit for a King.”

He said: “I hope it will be a dignified and uplifting memorial.”

Sir Elton is touring in Europe during this time, it is not known if he is able to fly in for the service. He may instead send a video greeting.

- Mirror

Will Elton fill Michael's 50 gig Void?

The King of Pop may have moonwalked off the stage for good, but as far as AEG is concerned, the show in London must go on.

According to The Associated Press, the concert promoter is scrambling to find a replacement for Michael Jackson as they attempt to make good on the series of 50 concerts Jackson committed to in March.

Among the proposals: A musical tribute to Jackson, A Jackson family concert--and in one of the more unusual ideas--an ABBA reunion show. But like all things Michael right now, the outcome is in the air. Lucy Ellison, AEG's press agent for AEG Europe, which operates the O2 Arena, politely but firmly rejected suggestions that the company has settled on a plan.

"At the moment we're waiting for the funeral to be out of the way and we'll let people know in due course." She said.

With the status of the London concerts currently unknown, fans and quite a few reporters--tabloid or otherwise--are publicly floating ideas about what they think should be done in honor of Jackson.

Chloe Ego, an Italian and T-shirt sales assistant from Italy, suggested having Elton John perform, 'because he'd adapt Michael Jackson's songs to his type of music.'

Elton's appearance at the 02 would be a bittersweet occasion--Jackson having praised John several years before in his liner notes for Jackson's 1997 album "Blood on the Dance Floor". Besides that connection, Jackson and John were good friends, going back to their associations with the late Ryan White in the 1980s and 1990s.

Prosaically, Maria Metzani of Athens, Greece suggested Whitney Houston, both because Jackson and Houston rocketed to fame early--Houston was 21 when her debut album "Whitney Houston" shot up the Billboard Top 100 charts, making her one of the youngest African-American solo artists of the 1980s--and for their alleged drug use.

Further afield, fans suggested a performance by Marilyn Manson, among others.

The chaos surrounding the proposed dates has only grown as the UK tabloid the Sun floated a rumor that 1970's group ABBA would reform in the wake of Jackson's death. However, that has not been confirmed, and given Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's insistence that the band has permanently broken up, it is not likely to be.

However the most tenacious rumors swirl around a proposed series of concerts by the Jackson family--including Janet--as well as family friends in the music industry.

AEG executive Randy Phillips seemed to give credence to the idea during an appearance on Britain's Sky TV Tuesday, suggesting that just such a deal is 'in the works'.

However, no dates has been confirmed, and even with such a star-studded array of artists, industry experts privately doubt that the Jackson family will be able to sell out all 50 concerts for 2009-2010.

On the other side of the equation, many point to the success of Prince's 2007 show, in which he sold out all twenty dates for his concerts. The gigs not only brought in cash for the artist, but also AEG, and is rumored to have inspired Jackson's concept for a series of 50 shows.

Despite the confusion surrounding the tour dates, 2009 has been a good year so far for AEG, having seen a record 179 nights booked by artists, up 19% from last year's tally of 150.

Editor Chris Cooke of British music business journal CMU Daily is optimistic about AEG's financial performance this year.

"I think for autumn there are artists they can find." He said. "I can't believe they won't fill those spaces from September onwards. But it leaves it pretty empty between now and then. For one of the country's biggest venues, that's obviously not ideal. It's a lost opportunity to have a space that big sit empty for three months."

- Celebrity Cafe