The David Gest award-winning production of “Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years”, Michael Jackson’s last live concert appearance, aired on Five at 10pm on Monday 21 December and again on New Year’s Eve (31 December) at 9pm. The historic concert was the first reunion of the Jacksons in 17 years (as well as their last appearance together) and Michael Jackson’s last live concert appearance. Gest was responsible for conceiving and co-writing the whole production and won many awards for the show including the prestigious “NAACP Image Award”, the USA’s premiere event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of colour in the arts as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice. The show was the highest rated musical special in television history in America, where it was shown on CBS, as well as seven other countries. The legendary show also featured live performances by Destiny’s Child, Usher, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Gloria Estefan, Slash, Marc Anthony, Gloria Gaynor, James Ingram, Lil’Romeo, Liza Minnelli, Monica, ‘N Sync, Shaggy featuring Ricardo “RikRok” Ducent & Rayvon Mya, Deborah Cox, Jill Scott, Tamia, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliot, Nelly Furtado, Rah Digga, 98º, Billy Gilman and Aaron Carter. There were also appearances by Elizabeth Taylor, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Tucker and Marlon Brando.
Gest’s mammoth PR campaign to support these shows included high-profile broadcast interviews on “BBC Breakfast”, BBC Radio 1’s “Scott Mills Breakfast Show” (in for Chris Moyles) and ITV1’s “Loose Women”. He also appeared on the front cover of the “Observer” magazine’s obituary issue – which celebrated the lives of the stars we lost in 2009. In an emotional self-penned article about his best friend Michael Jackson, Gest recalled his fondest memories of the time spent with the Jacksons growing up together as well as recalling all the amazing professional achievements they made together in adult life.
January 2010 kicked off with more records broken as David helped E4 to record viewing figures for the opening episode of “Celebrity Big Brother’s Big Mouth”, the sister show of Channel 4’s “Celebrity Big Brother”. As an invited guest of host Davina McCall, David’s irreverent comments about the fresh batch of celebrity housemates proved to be popular with both critics and the public alike.
David went on to appear as a guest of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer on their highly acclaimed BBC2 series, “Shooting Stars”. He proved to be one of the funniest panelists of the series and one of the only celebrities to have the two comedy heavyweights in stitches of laughter!
In a busy year for David, he raised more money for charity than any participant in the history of the popular BBC series ‘Celebrity Cash In The Attic’, reaching £9,720 in one episode that aired on BBC1 in December 2010. This fantastic achievement not only beat all previous records for the ‘Celebrity’ version of the show but also for the original, long running “Cash In The Attic” series itself. Gest’s appearance on the show became one of the highest rated in the entire series. Gest sold a mixture of showbiz memorabilia and antiques on the show that he had collected over the years. The money raised went to one of Gest’s favorite charities, STEPS, that helps children who need artificial limbs to lead normal lives. According to Gest, “this is a charity close to my heart and every pound raised to help any child in need makes it all worthwhile. If they ask me to do the show again, I would jump at the chance just to help out more children.”
In October 2010, David Gest embarked on yet another sensational musical venture, ‘David Gest’s Soul Spectacular’. This once in a lifetime, three city tour included a monumental evening at Liverpool Cathedral (30th November 2010) which was graced with an unprecedented 18 soul legends. The largest ever bill of its kind conceived, hosted and produced by Gest himself. The following night (Sunday 31st October) Gest once again played to SRO at Liverpool Cricket Club. On Monday 01 November 2010, “David Gest’s Soul Spectacular” moved on to Southport Theatre and Convention Centre and played to many thousands more.
Performing live on the shows were: The Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards, the Original Grammy Award-Winning Lead Singer Of Their Classic Hits: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, I Can’t Get Next To You, Ball of Confusion and Psychedelic Shack. The group will also be performing other Temptations classics including My Girl; Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics, the Original Lead Singer Of All Their Hits (I Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love), Rock N’ Roll Baby, You Make Me Feel Brand New, You Are Everything and Sing Baby Sing); Peabo Bryson (Tonight, I Celebrate My Love, Whole New World (Alladin’s Theme) and Beauty & The Beast); Lamont Dozier (Why Can’t We Be Lovers, Fish Ain’t Bitin’, Baby Love, My World Is Empty Without You, This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You), Stop! In The Name Of Love, Reach Out I’ll Be There, You Keep Me Hangin’ On); Ashford & Simpson (Solid, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, You’re All I Need To Get By, Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing, Found A Cure); Billy Paul (Me And Mrs. Jones, Let ‘Em In, Your Song); The Tymes (Ms Grace, You Little Trustmaker, People); Freda Payne (Band Of Gold, Bring The Boys Home, Deeper And Deeper); Dorothy Moore (Misty Blue, I Believe You, Funny How Time Slips Away); Eddie Floyd (Knock On Wood, Things Get Better); Kim Weston (It Takes Two, Helpless, Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)); Archie Bell (Here I Go Again, Soul City Walk, Tighten Up); Martha Reeves (Dancing In The Street, Jimmy Mack) She’s A Winner, Cowboys To Girls); Brenda Holloway (Every Little Bit Hurts, When I’m Gone); Dee Dee Sharp (Mashed Potato Time, Ride); Candi Staton (You Got The Love, Young Hearts Run Free, Suspicious Minds, Stand By Your Man’); Eddie Holman (Hey There Lonely Girl); and Very Special Guest Star, the legendary Percy Sledge (When A Man Loves A Woman, Out Of Left Field, Warm And Tender Love and The Dark End Of The Street). Gest also performed with The Little People Of DavidLand and his cousins ‘The Hump Family Singers’, Rosetta, Chlamidia and Filange.
According to Gest: ‘I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for nearly five decades and this was truly the most remarkable line-up of soul artists ever assembled on one bill.’ There were eighteen legends performing on stage who have collectively had more than 150 chart hits between them. Gest stated, ‘Those three dates in the North were absolutely fabulous… I doubt anyone will ever experience a musical extravaganza like this again. This is when I say ‘Holy Focaccia!’’