Paul Gambaccini's comments on the death of Michael Jackson have been very interesting, particularly in relation to the planned 50 concerts at the O2 over the next eight months:
I'm sorry, of course, I'm stunned but I can't say I'm really shocked because I had feared some kind of negative health result from these dates...I never thought he would be able to do them all because he was a 50-year-old man with a poor recent health history and to think he could subject his body to this vigour was unrealistic.
I'm just a few months younger than Michael Jackson. It has always amazed me how he has managed to defy time, in many respects, up until his untimely and very sad death yesterday, that is. While I have been ravaged as normal by anno domini, Jackson remained looking like a teenager.
With hindsight the following is easy to say. But it is absolutely staggering that anyone realistically thought that Jackson would complete 50 dates at the O2. At the age of 50 (and I am nearly there) it is unrealistic to expect yourself to do fifty anything, let alone fifty stage dates at the O2. I remember watching the Scissor Sisters at the O2. It's a huge arena and the shows tend to be very technically complex. The Scissors Sisters' lead singer, Jake Shears, is very fit but he went through enormous physical strain during the concert with all that leaping about and dancing. At the end he had sweat pouring off him. Jake Shears is 30 and he only did three concerts at the O2, albeit as part of a world tour.
It seems that, sadly, at last time has caught up with Michael Jackson but it seems very hard to believe that, had he lived, he would have been able to complete any but a small number of the planned O2 concerts. Indeed, reports suggest that even Jackson doubted his ability to do the dates.
But, as I say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.