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FANS inside the Millennium Stadium for last night'sMichael Jackson Forever tribute said the extravaganza had far outweighed their expectations, writes Simon Gaskell.

The king of pop's devotees turned out in their thousands draped in the stars and stripes, wearing fancy dress and waving glow sticks and lighters when the lights went down.

Despite reports of struggling ticket sales the floor of the stadium was packed by fans who came from far and wide to catch a glimpse of acts like Ne-Yo and Christina Aguilera.

Aaron Ching, 17, and Lisa Liew, 18, said they only found out about the concert a couple of weeks ago but had come all the way from Borneo, Indonesia, to watch.

"We searched online for tickets and tried to get the best tickets we could when we found out," Aaron said.

Closer to home, self-confessed "mega-fan" Mark Baker, from Bath, was wearing a single sequin glove, an accessory for which Jackson was famous.

He said he and friends wanted to see the show so much they had paid for tickets at top whack, booked a hotel and was now left with "only the shirt on his back".

He said: "It's a shame the Black Eyed Peas left it so late to back out when everyone's paid for a ticket and paid top whack. But being here is amazing."

David Bonas, 30, from Heath, Cardiff, said he had been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the show.

He said: "It's amazing - Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxxx and Craig David were all really good.

"It has been brilliant, I thought it might not be like, but I'm really impressed."

Rebecca Evans, 18, from Swansea, at her first ever concert, said the show's opening which saw Ne-Yo perform Billie Jean and do the moonwalk was one of her favourite moments.

"I liked Ne-Yo he was amazing and Christina Aguilera as well," she said.

"The production is really good.

"I heard it might not be full but it seems really busy and packed."

Shelley Barrett, 40, Sarah Jones, 39, and Babs Kelly, 49, came to watch from Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Babs said: "I think we should be celebrating Michael's music.

"We had tickets booked but unfortunately he died before we could see him.

"There will never be anyone like Michael Jackson.

"People should remember the man and his music."

Babs said seeing the remaining Jackson brothers on stage, who performed an upbeat duet with JLS, was her highlight.

"Of course, the Jacksons were great - I was in my element.

"They are all my favourite songs and I'm loving seeing everyone dressed up.

"I'm loving it and I'm dancing - I'm happy."

Deb Vickers, 40, from Bristol, said: "Because everyone here is in the mood, it makes a difference."
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 9, 2011

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