The Jacksons rock the Apollo in New York
Forbes article - Last night in front of Harlem’s Apollo Theater, the only thing thicker than the steamy summer air was the sense of anticipation.
Michael Jackson impersonators pranced across the sidewalk as street vendors proffered glossy photo albums of the brothers, all while camera crews from the major networks looked on. Inside, the surviving members of the Jackson 5—Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie—prepared to take the stage.
“We wanted to do the Apollo because this was pretty much where we started,” Marlon explained. “We wanted to come back and do a show here just to reminisce, just to give the Apollo something back.”
And give back they did. The Jacksons appeared on the stage in a puff of smoke, removing their sunglasses in unison for added effect. They quickly launched into a stirring rendition of “Can You Feel It,” bringing a capacity crowd to its feet before moving on to their brother’s hit “Rock With You” and a string of others.
It almost didn’t matter what songs they played. There was a certain supernatural electricity in the air, Michael Jackson’s brothers playing the songs they once performed together with him as well as others he sang on his own, stomping the same stage that served as one of their first launching pads over 40 years ago.
There will be more stomping in the coming weeks and months. Last night’s Apollo performance was the fifth of about 20 shows the Jacksons will play through July as part of their Unity tour, their first since the Victory tour with Michael in 1984.
“It was time,” says Jermaine. “It’s so much music, it’s a legacy that we have to continue to put out there with integrity and high standards. And it’s healing, too … We want to do this for [Michael], for us, for our 40 years of hard work.”
The tour should also provide a nice boost to the brothers’ coffers. The Jacksons have been playing venues like the Apollo that seat 1,500-2,000 people, and one member of their team estimates they’re pulling in an average of $65 per ticket.
That adds up to a nightly gross of about $100,000-$130,000, of which the brothers likely take home 30-40% before paying out managers, agents and lawyers.
According to the brothers, though, the Unity tour is just a prelude to a larger comeback. They’re hoping to eventually launch a bigger international tour, but first, they’re heading back to the recording studio to finish up a new album.
“When it’s ready,” says Jermaine, “we’ll let you know.”
Photos: thanks and credits to miscellaneous sources who shared photos via social media