Jermaine, Marlon, Jackie and Tito. Their first names are so iconic that the surviving members of the Jackson 5 almost need no further introduction. The brothers have hit the road for the first time since their “Victory” tour in 1984 to bring alive the songs that defined an era.
They may be a little bit older, but their fire is still there, says brother Tito. Fans can catch the fierce foursome Friday at The Howard Theatre, where they will perform as part of their Unity Tour. Before he boarded a plane to Vancouver, Tito, the third eldest Jackson, chatted with us about sharing a stage again with his brothers, hitting the right dance moves and honoring the legacy of his brother Michael.
It’s been nearly 30 years since your last tour as a group. Why did you decide to come back together?
Actually, I’ve never stopped touring. But the brothers felt that it was time. Fans had been asking... the brothers to go back out and finally they decided to act on it. The timing was right, and they were planning on going out prior to Michael’s death situation...but we had to take a year or two off. Now it’s the time to go. Everyone’s healthy...athletic and young enough to still do it. So, why not now?
Will people still see your famous dance moves on stage?
Oh, yes. It’s a high energy show, and everyone’s been enjoying [themselves]. It’s just been a lot of fun, and it’s just great to be back with the brothers and the fans as well, doing what we do best and love to do.
How do you keep Michael’s spirit alive on stage?
We feel his presence every night, and he’s looking over us. It’s all around you with the music and the memories and the whole thing. Just talking about him, and showing different clips in the show, and going down memory lane. It’s just there. You can feel the presence.
How do you believe the show is contributing to the group’s legacy?
Our high energy. It represents who we are. We pull it off. And at the same token, it shows the individual talents of the brothers as well. So there’s something there that you can notice that the brothers have going on within themselves. It’s even better with Michael, but we’re a bona fide group just with what we’re working with. I think that’s a plus to the legacy and to the history of the group. I just feel that if Michael had passed away and the brothers never toured again, the end would have been written a lot different. I think the brothers are very brave to show that we’re a bona fide group within what we have. And I take my hat off to my brothers for that, after coming out of retirement for so many years. It’s just a beautiful thing, and a blessing to have that health and the strength to continue.
The Jacksons’ Unity Tour will stop at The Howard Theatre Oct. 19. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased at thehowardtheatre.com.
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