March 5, 2009 17:52

Michael Jackson announces O2 Arena London gigs - and retirement?

Singer reveals July residency plans at O2 Arena

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Michael Jackson has announced that he will play ten gigs at the London O2 Arena in July – and hinted he would retire from performing.

The ten shows, which boast the tagline "This Is It", will commence on July 8, with tickets going on sale on March 13 at 7am (GMT).

The star, who was 90 minutes later than billed, personally made the announcement at a press conference at the O2 Arena at 5:35pm (GMT) this afternoon (March 5), in front of the world's media and thousands of fans who had gathered in the venue's main concourse.

Taking a red-adorned stage after being introduced by 'X-Factor' presenter Dermot O'Leary, Jackson, wearing a black outfit and sunglasses, repeatedly told the huge crowd that he "loved them from the bottom of my heart".

He said that at the shows he would be playing "the songs the fans want to hear", suggesting that a greatest hits set would be on the cards. He then hinted the gigs will be his swansong.

"This is it, these will be my last shows in London," he repeated, stating that the shows would be his "curtain call".

He added: "When I say this, I really mean this. This is it."

Jackson signed off declaring: "I'll see you in July, I love you all."

Speaking about the gigs, Rob Hallett President International Touring of AEG Live who operate the arena declared: “We are delighted to facilitate the return of The King of Pop, long may he reign! Michael at The 02 this summer will surely be the highlight of the musical year. When Michael Jackson performs, the eyes of the world will be watching."

Tickets for the shows will be priced between £50 and £75, with fans able to join a presale at Michaeljacksonlive.com.

Keep checking NME.COM for more information about the dates as they are announced.

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