HIStory World Tour

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HIStory World Tour
Michael Jackson sculpture.jpg
One of many identical statues based on Diana Walczak's original HIStory statue, positioned throughout Europe to promote HIStory.
World tour by Michael Jackson
Associated album HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor
Start date September 7, 1996
End date October 15, 1997
Legs 3
Shows 44 in Europe
19 in Asia
11 in Australasia
6 in Africa
2 in North America
82 played
Box office US $165 million ($242.4 in 2014 dollars)[1]
Michael Jackson concert chronology
Dangerous World Tour
HIStory World Tour
MJ & Friends World Tour

The HIStory World Tour was the third and final worldwide solo concert tour by American artist Michael Jackson, covering Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America. The tour included a total of 82 concerts and was attended by approximately 4.5 million fans, beating his previous Bad World Tour with 4.4 million. The HIStory World Tour spanned the globe with stops in 58 cities, 35 countries on 5 continents. Unlike the Bad and Dangerous World Tours, the History World Tour has never been released on DVD, despite many fans requesting it. However, there have been several full concerts leaked on the internet.


Royal concert in Brunei[edit]

Prior to the tour, Jackson performed a free concert at the Jerudong Park Amphitheatre in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on 16 July 1996. The concert was in celebration of the fiftieth birthday of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei and was attended by the Brunei royal family.

Much of the concert resembled Jackson's Dangerous World Tour, including his outfit, stage, and the setlist, keeping the details of the upcoming HIStory Tour a close secret. This concert was not part of the Dangerous World Tour nor the HIStory World Tour. The concert also marked debut live performances of "You Are Not Alone" and "Earth Song" as well as the last performances of "Jam", "Human Nature", "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and "She's Out of My Life" at a Jackson concert. This concert was also among the last performances of "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" being sung fully live; most subsequent performances have been partially lip-synched.

The full concert was never broadcast on television, but was a rare promotional item in possession of private collectors; a high quality VHS copy was leaked.

The changes[edit]

  • "Carmina Burana" of the "Brace Yourself" introduction was replaced with a similar piece of opera, as it had been in some Dangerous Tour concerts.
  • "Jam" had a shorter ending than usual.
  • "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" was performed with Marva Hicks rather than Siedah Garrett. In the middle of the song, Michael almost sang Marva's part. They sang an extra chorus.
  • "The Way You Make Me Feel" replaces "Workin' Day and Night".
  • "The Way You Make Me Feel" begins with the slow intro from the 1988 Grammys performance, which features the 1st verse, and the main instrumentation skips the 1st verse.
  • "You Are Not Alone" replaces "Will You Be There".
  • "Billie Jean" instrumentation is slower than the Dangerous or Bad World Tours, similar in style to the later HIStory Tour, but sung live. The dance ending has a repeated snare sound like that from "Why You Wanna Trip on Me", similar to the 1995 MTV Awards performance but without the bassline. Future performances of Billie Jean had this snare, but only in the beginning of the dance. Like the Dangerous and Bad Tours, Jackson does not beatbox before singing the final line and throwing the hat.
  • In "Beat It", Michael sang the wrong lyrics in the second verse. Also, he threw his jacket at the end, which he did in HIStory Tour.
  • The 1995 MTV Video Music Awards version of "Dangerous" replaces the 1993 American Music Awards version.
  • Michael wore the golden shin pads in "Black or White" instead of the black ones. It began to be used in this show before HIStory Tour.
  • "Heal the World" wasn't performed, but would be present in the HIStory World Tour.
  • "Man in the Mirror" ended with a curtain call, instead of the Rocket Man finale.
  • "Earth Song" was performed as an encore, and featured live adlibs at the end of the song.
  • Although "Earth Song" is usually performed with the cherrypicker(and it was present in the concert because Jackson performed "Beat It"), he didn't use it in this performance but would use it on the HIStory Tour.
  • The concert included the final live performances by Jackson of "Human Nature", "Jam", "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and "She's Out of My Life". "Human Nature", "Jam" and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" were later rehearsed for the 2009–2010 This Is It concert series, while "She's Out of My Life" was rehearsed for the first of Jackson's 1999 MJ and Friends concerts in Seoul, but later removed from the setlist.

Tour announcement[edit]

Jackson at Perth Airport in 1996.

After the concert in Brunei, the birth of Kingdom International, a joint venture between Jackson and HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the nephew of the Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, the King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005, was announced at a press conference held at the Palais des Congres in Paris, France on 19 March 1996. Kingdom International allowed opportunities to be created and developed in the entertainment industry. In this conference Jackson said "Kingdom International is a dream come true." It was then announced that Jackson would embark on his third solo world tour. Unlike Jackson's past two, the HIStory World Tour was not sponsored by Pepsi-Cola.

First leg[edit]

Jackson started the tour off with a concert at Letna Park in Prague, one of Jackson's largest single attended concerts in his career. On October 7, 1996, he performed for the first time ever in Africa in front of 60,000 fans in Tunis in a solo tour. During the tour's stopover in Sydney, Australia, he married his wife (later ex-wife), Debbie Rowe in a private and impromptu ceremony. He was interviewed by Molly Meldrum In Brisbane. On January 3 and 4, 1997 Jackson only performed two concerts in North America. He did not perform in the USA mainland, but rather in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Aloha Stadium to a crowd of 35,000 each.

Second and third legs[edit]

Jackson performing "Earth Song" in Lausanne.

The second leg started off on May 31, 1997 at the Weserstadion in Bremen, Germany. Set list changes included the addition of "Blood on the Dance Floor" and later on the removal of the Off the Wall Medley and "The Way You Make Me Feel". After,It was only during the first concert in Bremen that Jackson donned a red jacket for "Blood on The Dance Floor," which was later replaced with a blue uniform. "Blood on the Dance Floor" was taken off the set list after the concert in Oslo on August 19, 1997. Also, Jackson performed at the Parken Stadium on his 39th birthday with 50,000 fans. He was presented with a surprise birthday cake, marching band, and fireworks on stage before the Jackson 5 Medley. Pro footage of this is found in Michael's private home movies. A concert was supposed to take place on August 8 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, but was canceled due to poor ticket sales (this was the only concert that was canceled during the tour). The concert at Hippodrome Wellington of Ostend, Belgium was supposed to be held on August 31, 1997, but was postponed to September 3 following Princess Diana's death. During the September 3 concert audiences were required to be put into "cages". Starting with this concert, several of the final concerts had begun with Jackson's cover of Charlie Chaplin's Smile being played back, and an image of Diana on the jumbotron for some parts of the concert.

Set list[edit]

  • "The Way You Make Me Feel" was performed without the 2nd verse and it was withdrawn from all shows after Gelsenkirchen [Jun. 15].
  • "Off the Wall Medley" was withdrawn from the show in Tunis and withdrawn permanently following the concert on June 13, 1997, in Kiel.
  • "Come Together"/"D.S." was withdrawn from all the shows after the one in Auckland [Nov. 11].
  • "Blood on the Dance Floor" was performed in all the second leg shows until August 19 (Oslo) except Vienna (Jul. 2); it was performed with a red jacket in Bremen (May 31).
  • "Dangerous was withdrawn from the show in Tokyo (Dec. 20) and Manila (Dec. 8).
  • At every HIStory World Tour stop, during "You Are Not Alone", one lucky girl was allowed to dance with Michael on stage.
  • In the performance of "Heal the World" in Bucharest, the headset microphone was having problems. So, one of the backup singers lent Michael his microphone.
  • At every concert with a predominantly Muslim audience, such as Tunis or Kuala Lumpur, the "Black Panther" video was replaced with "Brace Yourself". Jackson also refrained from his crotch-grabbing move instead putting his hand more outside the thigh or towards the belly.
  • In one of the performances in Tokyo, Michael slipped when he was leaning for "Smooth Criminal". The footage was shown on YouTube, it was taken by a fan (though the audience blocks the view of the moment Jackson falls down).
  • During the first concerts in Amsterdam and Sydney, Michael sang "Beat It" fully live.
  • In the middle of the second leg, his longtime friend Princess Diana died from a car accident in Paris, France. During the concert in Ostend, Charlie Chaplin's song "Smile" sang by Jackson was played before the concert had started. During the same concert Michael paid a tribute to his longtime friend Princess Diana, during the performance of "Heal the World" there would usually be a picture of the globe on the big screen, but for this concert it was replaced with a picture of the Princess of Wales.
  • During the first concert in Seoul, Michael was on the crane for "Earth Song", when a fan jumped on it to meet Michael. Michael held the man for safety and at the end of the song the security guards took him away from Jackson.
  • During the August 29 concert in Denmark it was Michael's birthday and after "You Are Not Alone" there was a surprise birthday performance for him by the crew. Starting with a marching band coming in and after that, two of the crew members presented Michael with a birthday cake and after he quoted, "This is beautiful, thank you so much." At the end he thanked his fans for the surprise.
  • In some of the first concerts in Europe, the jacket for "Thriller" and "Come Together"/"D.S." were red when they are usually white for "Thriller" and blue for the medley.
  • On the second concert in South Africa, Michael's longtime friend Diana Ross attended the show and made a surprise appearance on stage in the middle of the performance of "Heal the World".

Tour dates[edit]

Date City/Town Country Venue
Royal Brunei concert
July 16, 1996 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei Jerudong Park
1996 leg
September 7, 1996 Prague Czech Republic Letna Park
September 10, 1996 Budapest Hungary Népstadion
September 14, 1996 Bucharest Romania Lia Manoliu Stadium
September 17, 1996 Moscow Russia Dynamo Stadium
September 20, 1996 Warsaw Poland Bemowo Airport
September 24, 1996 Zaragoza Spain Estadio La Romareda
September 28, 1996 Amsterdam Netherlands Amsterdam Arena
September 30, 1996
October 2, 1996
October 7, 1996 Tunis Tunisia Stade El Menzah
October 11, 1996 Seoul South Korea Olympic Stadium
October 13, 1996
October 18, 1996 Taipei Taiwan Chungshan Soccer Stadium
October 20, 1996 Kaohsiung Chungcheng Stadium
October 22, 1996 Taipei Chungshan Soccer Stadium
October 25, 1996 Singapore Singapore National Stadium
October 27, 1996 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Merdeka Stadium
October 29, 1996
November 1, 1996 Mumbai India Andheri Sports Complex
November 5, 1996 Bangkok Thailand Muang Thong Thani City Center
November 9, 1996 Auckland New Zealand Ericsson Stadium
November 11, 1996
November 14, 1996 Sydney Australia Sydney Cricket Ground
November 16, 1996
November 19, 1996 Brisbane ANZ Stadium
November 22, 1996 Melbourne Melbourne Cricket Ground
November 24, 1996
November 26, 1996 Adelaide Adelaide Oval
November 30, 1996 Perth Burswood Dome
December 2, 1996
December 4, 1996
December 8, 1996 Manila Philippines Asia World City Concert Grounds
December 10, 1996
December 13, 1996 Tokyo Japan Tokyo Dome[2][3][4]
December 15, 1996
December 17, 1996
December 20, 1996
December 26, 1996 Fukuoka Fukuoka Dome
December 28, 1996
December 31, 1996 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei Jerudong Park
1997 leg
January 3, 1997 Honolulu United States Aloha Stadium
January 4, 1997
May 31, 1997 Bremen Germany Weserstadion
June 3, 1997 Cologne Mungersdorfer Stadion
June 6, 1997 Bremen Weserstadion
June 8, 1997 Amsterdam Netherlands Amsterdam Arena
June 10, 1997
June 13, 1997 Kiel Germany Nordmarksportfield
June 15, 1997 Gelsenkirchen Parkstadion
June 18, 1997 Milan Italy San Siro
June 20, 1997 Lausanne Switzerland Stade Olympique de la Pontaise
June 22, 1997 Bettembourg Luxembourg Krakelshaff
June 25, 1997 Lyon France Stade de Gerland
June 27, 1997 Paris Parc des Princes
June 29, 1997
July 2, 1997 Vienna Austria Ernst-Happel-Stadion
July 4, 1997 Munich Germany Olympic Stadium
July 6, 1997
July 9, 1997 Sheffield England Don Valley Stadium
July 12, 1997 London Wembley Stadium
July 15, 1997
July 17, 1997
July 19, 1997 Dublin Ireland RDS Arena
July 25, 1997 Basel Switzerland St. Jakob Stadium
July 27, 1997 Nice France Stade Charles-Ehrmann
August 1, 1997 Berlin Germany Olympic Stadium
August 3, 1997 Leipzig Festwiese
August 10, 1997 Hockenheim Hockenheimring
August 14, 1997 Copenhagen Denmark Parken Stadium
August 16, 1997 Gothenburg Sweden Ullevi
August 19, 1997 Oslo Norway Valle Hovin
August 22, 1997 Tallinn Estonia Tallinn Song Festival Grounds
August 24, 1997 Helsinki Finland Helsinki Olympic Stadium
August 26, 1997
August 29, 1997 Copenhagen Denmark Parken Stadium
September 3, 1997 Ostend Belgium Hippodrome Wellington
September 6, 1997 Valladolid Spain Estadio José Zorrilla
October 4, 1997 Cape Town South Africa Greenpoint Stadium
October 6, 1997
October 10, 1997 Johannesburg Johannesburg Stadium
October 12, 1997
October 15, 1997 Durban Kings Park Stadium

Box office score data[edit]


Venue City Tickets sold/available Gross revenue
Don Valley Stadium Sheffield 43,031 / 48,000 (88%) $1,991,600
Wembley Stadium London 212,601 / 216,000 (98%) $9,236,683
RDS Arena Dublin 43,261 / 43,261 (100%) $1,740,203
St. Jakob Stadium Basel 50,000 / 50,000 (100%) $2,317,881
Stade Charles-Ehrmann Nice 30,003 / 36,260 (82%) $1,083,898
Olympic Stadium Berlin 78,187 / 78,187 (100%) $2,934,036
Festwiese Leipzig 54,483 / 55,000 (99%) $2,110,035
Hockenheimring Hockenheim 85,000 / 85,000 (100%) $3,261,701
Parken Stadium Copenhagen 97,563 / 97,563 (100%) $5,296,577
Ullevi Stadium Gothenburg 50,000 / 50,000 (100%) $2,202,073
Valle Hovin Oslo 37,904 / 40,000 (94%) $1,646,889
Song Festival Ground Tallin 75,000 / 75,000 (100%) $2,627,174
Olympic Stadium Helsinki 91,106 / 96,000 (90%) $4,166,735
TOTAL 948,139 / 970,271 (90%) $40,615,485


Broadcasts & Recordings[edit]

All concerts were professionally filmed by Nocturne Productions, Inc. which filmed all of Jackson's tours and private affairs. Just one concert, from Seoul on October 11, 1996 was commercially released on VHS in Korea. The DVD release of the Munich concerts held on July 4 and 6, 1997 planned for Christmas but was subsequently cancelled as Jackson was not satisfied with the performance.

A number of full, or near-full concerts were broadcast on television. Small parts of other certain concerts (typically the opening medley of Scream/They Don't Care About Us/In the Closet) were also shown on news reports around the world.

The following is a list of full or near-full concerts broadcast on television, or otherwise noted:

First leg[edit]

The first full televised concert and also the third concert of the tour. The Great Gates of Kiev introduction was filmed off-screen onto the JumboTron, not a direct feed like the other concerts. The footage and audio for the "Remember The Time" Interlude was different from that shown at other concerts. The crowd noises and some crowd footage is from the Dangerous Tour in Bucharest DVD, but the true origin of these sounds is unknown, as the Bucharest DVD contained footage from Wembley, Madrid and several other concerts. During Billie Jean the playback started late as Jackson covered his mouth to lipsync, and during the final number HIStory, for a brief moment, he sang over playback. This concert was televised by TELE 7 ABC.

This concert was aired on September 18, 2010 by the Nessma TV channel in Tunisia. Before then, only parts of this concert were shown on television as well as a very poor quality amateur-filmed far from the stage. The broadcast ended at "Heal The World", cutting off the final number, "HIStory". The quality of the broadcast was rather average as the entire concert was on a VHS and broadcast at a low bit rate. A large, spinning Nessma TV logo occasionally rolled across the screen as a means of copyright protection. The concert broadcast twice, with the red ball appearing in different places in both broadcasts (which has allowed fans to re-edit the two broadcasts to remove this logo). During the first broadcast, a scrolling bar of text was placed at the bottom of the screen informing viewers of the second broadcast.

During the performance of "Earth Song", Jackson, (who was up on a cherry picker) was accosted by a male Korean fan who climbed up the crane just to meet Jackson. Michael held on to the man because he had a risk of falling. The man was then taken away by security after the crane was lowered. This concert was commercially released on VHS in Korea. Before the release of the 1992 Dangerous Tour Concert in Bucharest this was the only commercially released Michael Jackson concert. Despite an official release, the versions that have appeared online are poor quality leaks because copy protection of the original VHS has prevented a good quality rip. The intros and endings of some songs are cut off.

Performances of "Come Together/D.S", "Black Or White", "Earth Song", "Heal the World", and "HIStory" were not broadcast. The available broadcasts go up to "Dangerous". Snippets of the October 29 concert (including the aforementioned songs) were also released during a news report on TV1000. Because crotch grabbing is considered impure in Islam, Jackson altered his crotch-grabbing move in this concert. It was televised by ntv7, but so far, only poor quality VCD recordings are known to exist.

This was the last known professionally filmed concert with the "Off the Wall Medley" and last performance of "Come Together/D.S.". It was also the only known performance of "Billie Jean" with a repeated chorus near the end of the dance sequence. Also, when Jackson began singing "Thriller", for a brief moment, the a cappella could not be heard.

Only a few songs were broadcast from this concert, as well as parts from the concert on November 14. Nine Network also showed some footage from the first concert in the days after Jackson died; it is revealed that he sang "Beat It" fully live as the a cappella track was malfunctioning at the time. Just a few hours after the latter performance, Jackson married Debbie Rowe in a civil ceremony in his presidential suite at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel. Also in Sydney, Michael's latest short film Ghosts had its film premiere.

This was televised initially by GMA Network. Often referred to as "HIStory Tour Manila." This was also broadcast on Singapore's MediaCorp Channel 5 around October 2006. The Channel 5 version fades after each song (there is no intro to Billie Jean), but is in higher quality than the GMA version. This was one of the few HIStory Tour concerts where Jackson did not beatbox before he threw the hat at the end of Billie Jean (another example being in the concert Moscow). "The Way You Make Me Feel" was performed but not broadcast, there was an amateur snippet of The Way You Make Me Feel filmed and put on a news report in Manila. This was one of the two concerts where "Dangerous" was withdrawn from the setlist on December 8 concert. The "Scream" is censored along with the concert in Copenhagen

This was never televised, but known to exist as a rare promo item as with Royal Concert. Along with the latter performance, it is one of the rarest known concert footages to exist. Private collectors have obtained the concert on VHS in high quality but have never released full concert footage, remaining controversial for their refusal to share the tape. In October 2008 a poor-quality VCD copy (also additionally compressed and watermarked) was uploaded onto the internet by a fan in Brunei who obtained the concert from a stage crew. Video quality was fair and the sound was badly encoded with a rumbling distortion when bass was played. Unwatermarked files from the same VCD source had been uploaded, though the sound quality is still very poor. There is an edited high quality soundboard CD which was leaked in 2013. In the CD, the live vocals in Scream are replaced by playback and drum ending of Billie Jean has been shortened. As with Malaysia, Brunei has a mostly Muslim population, so Jackson altered his crotch-grab move and this is also obscured by camera angles that are different from most other concerts. This concert is also noted for the first verse of "Scream" being sung live. As of March 6, 2014 a version with enhanced video and professional audio was uploaded to YouTube.[18] The curtain used in "Smooth Criminal" and the Cherry Picker for "Beat It" & "Earth Song" were not present during this concert (though they were during the Royal Brunei Concert).

Second leg[edit]

Jackson planned upon filming this concert for a DVD release by Christmas time, so more camera angles (including individual crowd shots) were used, and the audio was later remastered heavily to emphasize the percussion and audience sounds. Jackson also had the concert filmed with High Definition cameras. The release was ultimately cancelled due to Jackson's dissatisfaction of the behind-the-scenes filming, as well as having laryngitis and the flu which affected his live vocals and dancing. However, the performance was televised extensively in many different countries, making it one of the most readily available concerts. The most common version is the one aired by Sat.1 and most other channels, but other versions, such as the one that aired in South Africa (with a small segment from a concert at Johannesburg), and a Japanese version with alternate camera angles also exist. Most versions have also been edited with a segment from the concert on August 3, 1997 at Leipzig before the Jackson 5 Medley where Jackson talks about an insect on the stage which he calls the security to remove. An unedited version of the Concert from July 4 has the original camera angles seen on the jumbotrons and original sound. Two amateur videos from July 6 (one of which contained footage of both concerts) also exist. Following Jackson's death, this concert was re-televised by RTL 5, who had previously televised it on their Veronica channel.

This was also televised in Singapore's MediaCorp Channel 5 in 2009. It was also recently televised in Germany on ZDF on June 24 with alternate camera angles and being upscaled to 720p HD, and in Australia on the music channel MAX, for his death anniversaries. In Malaysia, 8TV had broadcast the concert on August 2009 in conjunction with the King of Pop's birthday, and it was shown again on 26 June 2010 on the first anniversary of Jackson's death. Also, Brazilian channel Multishow always airs this concert in HD and with no cuts.

Broadcast by TV1000 and Channel 3. Most VHS rips of this version that have appeared seem to suffer from a greenish video noise and audio problems. This concert, along with the 1996 concert in Seoul, were televised on Korean Television in July 2009; the songs "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", "Stranger in Moscow" and "Blood on the Dance Floor" were edited off in this new televised version of this concert. However, only a version with poor sound quality was recorded by a fan. This performance was also televised on Singapore's MediaCorp Channel 5 in early 2010, both on its standard definition channel as well as upscaled to 1080i HD. The upscaled version has been recorded by fans but has not been shared. The audio of the concert had been edited by the TV station, resulting in some compression issues as well as the censoring of Scream ("stop fucking with me" has been replaced with "stop pressuring me").

Also broadcast by TV1000 and Channel 3. This concert is very similar to the Copenhagen concert; also the last televised performance of "Blood on the Dance Floor" (though the concert in Oslo on August 19 was the last live performance of this song). During "Scream", the pre-recorded a capella vocal of Jackson did not play back. Jackson continued to lip-sync and dance until the vocals continued during the chorus.

Most versions that have appeared suffer from audio noise and the video has some ghosting artifacts, although there is no watermark. The HIStory Teaser is shown at the end of the programme. This is the last known full performance to exist on video.



  • Executive Director: MJJ Productions
  • Artistic Director: Michael Jackson
  • Assistant Director: Peggy Holmes
  • Choreographed by: Michael Jackson & LaVelle Smith
  • Staged & Designed by: Kenny Ortega
  • Set Designed by: Michael Cotton & John McGraw
  • Lighting Designer: Peter Morse
  • Director of Security: Bill Bray
  • Costumes Designed by: Dennis Tompkins & Michael Bush
  • Hair & Make-up: Karen Faye
  • Stylist: Tommy Simms
  • Artist Manager: Tarak Ben Amar
  • Personal Management: Gallin Morey Associates


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