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September 9, 2009

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Superstars line up for Jackson tribute show

MARY J. Blige, Chris Brown and Natalie Cole would be among the top artists performing at a September 26 Michael Jackson tribute concert in Vienna, organizers said yesterday.

Jackson's brother Jermaine told reporters that up to 25 artists were expected to perform outside a 17th-century palace in the Austrian capital. More names would be unveiled later this week in London and Berlin, he said.

Sister Sledge, Akon, Angela Bassett, and the Germany-based boy band US5 were among the 13 artists confirmed so far, Jackson and event promoter Georg Kindel said.

Jackson's original band and dancers will also perform.

All the artists will perform some of Jackson's greatest hits at the concert, including "Thriller" and "Billie Jean."

Organizers are billing the event as the main global tribute to Jackson, who died on June 25 in Los Angeles. Jackson's family and children would be in Vienna, and about 65,000 fans were expected to attend, Kindel said.

Organizers said the tribute would be held on a large crown-shaped stage to be built in front of Vienna's former imperial Schoenbrunn Palace.

Jermaine Jackson has said Vienna was chosen as the venue because his brother "loved castles," and because Jermaine was impressed with how a smaller tribute held in July outside a mothballed nuclear power plant was organized.

Negotiations are ongoing to select a broadcaster to show the event live to fans worldwide.

In a grand finale, all of them would sing "We Are The World" and "Heal The World" together, Kindel said.

Tickets went on sale last month. They are being sold in stages for 63 euros (US$91) to 518 euros each. More than half have already been sold.


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