It might have been the apalling weather that hit London at the time the ceremony was due to start, it may have been people tiring of saturation coverage or dreading the tackiness of the event but the relay of Michael Jackson’s Los Angeles memorial service drew a sparse crowd of about 150 to Peninsula Square, the plaza outside the Dome. Most of those were passers-by, but a fair number of his fans showed up.
I was there while Stevie Wonder performed – a genuinely moving moment. Around those watching, though, for every tear, there was also a snigger from behind. I couldn’t stay for long – heaven knows what the reaction was to the gruesome spectacle of Jackson’s daughter being pushed onto the stage.
Around the corner, the “shrine” to the singer has been shoved around to a little-seen side of Peninsula Square with a note saying the tributes have a week left – they’ll go on 14 July, the date Jackson was due to play his first show, the first of 50 gigs that would have made Dome owner AEG a fortune.
The event was held at the Staples Center, which provided the template for AEG to turn the Dome into the O2. Another screening was held at another sister venue, O2 World in Berlin. Even in death, Michael Jackson will continue to be a gift which keeps on giving for many people.
Hopefully, once the flowers are cleared away, AEG will find a decent way to mark the man whose star power would have helped to burned the name of the O2 onto the world entertainment map.