The Jacksons bring a welcome touch of nostalgia to Newmarket
The Jacksons, the second in the Newmarket Nights series of concerts which began last week with Little Mix, took place on Friday, June 30 at Newmarket's July Course.
2017 sees the iconic band celebrate its 50th anniversary and a packed Newmarket crowd eagerly awaited the arrival – once the last race of the day had finished – of vocalist Jackie, 66; vocalist/guitarist Tito, 63; vocalist/bassist Jermaine, 62; and vocalist Marlon, 60.
The youngest of the Jackson boys Randy, 55, is currently not involved, and Michael – the legendary King of Pop – sadly passed away, of course, in 2009.
Backed by five other musicians, the four brothers from Gary, Indiana got the performance under way with the bona fide classics, Can You Feel It and Blame It on the Boogie, which succeeded in getting everyone in front of the stage and in the stands – or most people at least – up and dancing.
Talking was eschewed in favour of the songs as these energetic showbiz veterans ploughed their way through a string of hits, including the irresistibly groovy Enjoy Yourself, Show You the Way to Go and Michael Jackson’s Rock with You.
Around half way through, the foursome went off stage and a video was shown – featuring interviews with parents Katherine and Joe Jackson – telling the story of their early days, to the strains of the underrated 1989 single, 2300 Jackson Street.
“Do y’all wanna hear some of the early stuff?” yelled Marlon, who is quite the showman, upon their return. The answer was a resounding yes.
An enthusiastically received medley – made up of I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, Dancing Machine and Never Can Say Goodbye – followed, giving way to the timeless ballad I’ll Be There, which had the audience keenly singing along.
Jermaine spoke of the brothers’ intention to keep Michael Jackson’s legacy alive and followed this with a touching rendition of Gone Too Soon, the second-to-last track on his late brother’s Dangerous album.
Tito then took centre stage, revealing that until this year, he was the only member of the band not to have put out a solo album.
He sang two songs off the recently released Tito Time: When the Magic Happens and Get It Baby, which were enjoyable enough, but not quite in the same class as the songs in The Jacksons’ enviable catalogue.
Can’t Let Her Get Away, again from Dangerous, was a surprising choice, given the range of Michael Jackson material to choose from, though it’s not a bad song.
A much better choice of party anthem, I thought, was Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ from MJ’s record-breaking Thriller LP.
Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) was extended to include some great dance moves and band introductions, and the night came to an end with 1984’s State of Shock.
While it goes without saying that Michael is sorely missed, the other Jackson brothers are doing an excellent job of keeping his – and their – outstanding musical legacy alive. Long may it continue.