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KISS joins Michael Jackson tribute line-up

By Alan Duke, CNN
KISS signed up to pay tribute to Michael Jackson in an October concert.
KISS signed up to pay tribute to Michael Jackson in an October concert.
  • NEW: Some Jackson fans object to KISS performing because of Gene Simmons' comments
  • NEW: Many of Michael Jackson's back up musician will reuniute for the tribute
  • Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Smokey Robinson, Cee Lo Green and JLS are also signed
  • Two generations of the Jackson family will take the stage in the Cardiff, Wales, show

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The legendary rock band KISS signed up to pay tribute to Michael Jackson in an October concert that will also headline Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Smokey Robinson, Cee Lo Green and JLS, the promoters told CNN Monday.

Musicians who played in Jackson's touring band for the past two decades will also reunite as the house band for "Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert" in Cardiff, Wales, according to promoter Global Live Events.

Kevin Dorsey, who served as musical director for several Michael Jackson tours, will also direct the October 8 show, it was announced Monday.

Katherine Jackson, matriarch of the musical family, appeared on CNN Monday to discuss the show, which will also include performances by her children and grandchildren.

"I know he would be very excited about KISS," Michael Jackson's mother said.

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But fan reaction posted on the concert's Facebook page was negative to news that KISS would perform.

"This is a complete disgrace," wrote one fan. "You can kiss your audience goodbye folks. I doubt whether any self-respecting fan will pay a penny to see that man after the comments he made about Michael. I'm shocked this act was even considered."

Many of the negative comments referred to a story published by the Canadian Press a week after Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, quoting KISS leader Gene Simmons concerning sexual molestation allegations against the pop star.

The promoter appeared unaware of the controversy Monday when CNN asked for a reaction.

It appeared unlikely the tribute stage would be the scene for a reunion for the surviving members of the Jackson 5. Two of the brothers, Jermaine and Randy, have publicly objected to the show being held at the same time Michael Jackson's doctor is on trial for his death.

"We want to make clear that this does not reflect the position of the entire family," the two brothers said in a joint statement after their mother and four siblings endorsed the show.

"While we wholeheartedly support the spirit of a tribute that honors our brother, we find it impossible to support an event that is due to take place during the criminal trial surrounding Michael's death," Jermaine and Randy Jackson said.

Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial begins in September and is expected to continue through October.

"The trial is very important and I can understand how Randy and Jermaine feel, but it's been two years," Katherine Jackson told CNN Monday. "I thought it was a good idea; I'd like to keep Michael's legacy alive."

Katherine Jackson plans to attend the trial, although she will miss some days to fly to Wales to attend the show with Michael Jackson's children, she said.

"It will be on a Saturday when the courtroom is dark," Paul Ring, a Global Live Events executive said.

Members of the Jackson family taking the stage October 8 include several of Michael Jackson's brothers, "the next generation of Jacksons," and 3T, which consists of Tito Jackson's three sons, the promoters said.

Alternative rock band Alien Ant Farm and British R&B singer Craig David are also on the bill.

"This concert will unite various generations and musical genres, reminding everyone of just how amazing a talent Michael was," Ring said.

Fans can "register their interest for tickets" online at

The concert in the Wales Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which seats 75,000 people, would be at least four hours long, Global Live Events CEO Chris Hunt said.

A spokesman for Michael Jackson's estate said last month that the promoters never sought or obtained permission from the estate's executors to use the late pop singer's name or image.

"The estate has not been contacted and is not involved with Global Live Events in the UK tribute concert announced today," spokesman Jim Bates told CNN at the time.