BURBANK, Calif. -- Guided by a thumping bass line from their backing band, the Jackson brothers strut forward to a row of four microphones, thrusting their pelvises along the way, before launching into "Can't Let Her Get Away," a song their superstar sibling released on his "Dangerous" album. If they had afros and matching powder blue suits, it might feel like 1977 again.
It doesn't. They're casually sporting sunglasses, workout gear and a few more pounds than when they, along with the future King of Pop, were simply known as the Jackson 5. (Also, "Can't Let Her Get Away" was released in 1991 after the group fizzled out.)
Nearly three years since Michael died while preparing for his comeback tour, four of his brothers – Marlon, Jermaine, Tito and Jackie – are set for their own return to the stage as The Jacksons. It hasn't been easy.
"The brothers don't know this, but I've broken down several times and cried during rehearsals," said Jermaine during a recent rehearsal break on a soundstage in Burbank, Calif. "I'm so used to Michael being on the right and then Marlon, Jackie, on and on. It's just something we never get used to."
The brothers are launching their "Unity" tour on Wednesday, five days ahead of the third anniversary of Michael's death from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009.
"For me, this cycle that comes around every year – this day, that day – that doesn't affect me because it affects me every day," said Marlon. "When that day comes around, it's the same. You learn to live with it. I still wake up sometimes and go, `Jeez. I can't believe my brother's not here.'"
Following Michael's death, the four brothers appeared in the A&E reality series "The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty," which chronicled their loss and attempt to stage a comeback before their brother died.
Jermaine said the brothers have wanted to reunite on their own for years, but after Michael's passing, they needed time to heal – and the tour is another step in that process. They've rearranged their classics to suit their voices, and Jermaine said the group plans to pay tribute to Michael during their shows with a slideshow and medley that will conclude with the tune "Gone Too Soon."
"There's certain songs that make you feel the sorrow," said Tito. "Then again, there are other songs that bring so much joy and happiness, such as `ABC' and `I Want You Back' and the up-tempo stuff like `This Place Hotel.' I just imagine how he used to walk and spin and do all these things. You can feel his presence here."
The Jacksons' tour kicks off at Rama Casino in Ontario, Canada, and is scheduled to end July 29 at the Snoqualmie Casino Amphitheater in Snoqualmie, Wash. Other stops include Detroit's Fox Theatre, Los Angeles' Greek Theatre and Harlem's sold-out Apollo Theatre, where the Jackson 5 won an amateur night in 1969 before rocketing to fame.
Michael later forged unprecedented success as a solo artist. His superstardom was unrivaled, and his brothers couldn't capture similar acclaim or sales with their solo projects or last studio album, 1989's mostly Michael-less "2300 Jackson Street," but their legacy as a group has remained unchanged. The Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
While various combinations of the brothers have reunited to perform over the years, including at last year's "Michael Forever" tribute concert in Wales, "Unity" will mark the first time the brothers have toured together since their final "Victory" outing in 1984. (Marlon said Randy, who officially joined The Jacksons in 1975, elected not to join the tour but noted that the youngest Jackson brother was welcome at any time.)
"We have a certain magic," said Jackie. "Once we get out here and run it down a couple times, it comes back to you. I'm not (moving) like I used to, but we still got it."
Will the fans think so – and will they turn out to see The Jacksons, whose ages now range from 55 to 61, perform their hits without Michael?
Last year, Cirque du Soleil launched "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" in Las Vegas. The show featuring dancers and acrobatic acts performing routines set to M.J. tunes has been among the top touring acts this year, and "Immortal" will return to Vegas for a residency at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
However, Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of concert industry trade publication Pollstar, doesn't believe The Jacksons will achieve similar success with their smaller endeavor.
"The Jacksons were really all about Michael," said Bongiovanni. "The Cirque du Soleil show was successful because it was Cirque du Soleil and Michael's music. I don't know if that portends much for the remaining brothers and their ability to generate enthusiasm for ticket sales."
The brothers are undaunted, hoping to release an album of new music then go back out on tour.
"It's like riding a bike," said Marlon. "You never forget, but you do need to tweak a few things."
Michael Jackson Pepsi Generation
Michael Jackson teams up with director Bob Giraldi in a Pepsi commerical for the "new generation".
Michael Jackson - Beat It
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Beat It. © 1982 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Billie Jean. © 1982 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Man In The Mirror. © 1987 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Black Or White
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Black Or White. © 1991 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - PYT (Pretty Young Thing)
Michael Jackson - They Don't Care About Us
Music video by Michael Jackson performing They Don't Care About Us. (C) 1996 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Earth Song
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Earth Song. © 1995 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Remember The Time
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Remember The Time. (C) 1992 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - You Rock My World (Extended Version)
Music video by Michael Jackson performing You Rock My World. (C) 2001 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Bad
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Bad. © 1987 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Scream
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Scream. © 1995 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Dirty Diana. (C) 2009 Sony Music Entertainment
Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel
Music video by Michael Jackson performing The Way You Make Me Feel. © 1987 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Thriller
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Thriller. (C) 1982 MJJ Productions Inc.
Moonwalk - Michael Jackson - Billie Jean - The First Moonwalk King Of Pop
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (Motown 25th Anniversary Yesterday Today Forever ) The First Moonwalk King Of Pop on " Billie Jean " at the 25th anniversary of Motown. A moment of anthology ! 1983 Le premier Moonwalk du King Of Pop sur " Billie Jean " à l'occasion du 25ème anniversaire de la Motown. Un moment d'anthologie ! 1983 Der erste Moonwalk des King Of Pop von " Billie Jean " anlässlich des 25. Jahrestages der Motown. Ein Moment der Sammlung ! 1983 Moonwalk La Primera King Of Pop sobre el tema " Billie Jean " en el 25 º aniversario de Motown. Un momento de antología ! 1983 Jeudi 25 juin 2009 : La plus grande star de tous les temps nous quittait Il était l'homme de tous les superlatifs Le plus doué, le plus mystérieux, le plus touchant, le plus génial, le plus fou, le plus généreux, le plus grand de tous les artistes. Michal Jackson nous a quittés le jeudi 25 juin 2009, terrassé par un arrêt cardiaque. Bon nombre d'entre nous aimaient Michael Jackson, les ventes d'album parlent pour lui. Lui, l'artiste recordman aux de 750 millions d'albums vendus. RIP Michael Jackson "Billie Jean" is a 1983 hit single from Michael Jackson's Thriller album. A number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the song was also the number-one R&B single for nine weeks in the United States and is one of Jackson's most critically acclaimed songs. It was voted best single of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll, and received two Grammy Awards in 1984 in the categories Best Male <b>...</b>
Michael Jackson - Who Is It
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Who Is It. (C) 1993 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Ghost
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Ghost. (C) 2000 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Michael Jackson - This Is It
Music video by Michael Jackson performing This Is It. (C) 2009 MJJ Productions Inc.
Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson's Vision)
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson's Vision). (C) 2010 MJJ Productions, Inc.
Michael Jackson - Hollywood Tonight
Music video by Michael Jackson performing "Hollywood Tonight." (C) 2011 Optimum Productions
Michael Jackson - Human Nature (Full Music Video)
"Human Nature" is an R&B song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was written by Steve Porcaro and John Bettis, and produced by Quincy Jones for the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). Initially, Porcaro had recorded a rough demo of the song on a cassette, which was then given to Jones. Enjoying the demo, Jones had the ballad included on the Thriller album. The song was the last selected for the album, ousting "Carousel" from the final track listing. "Human Nature" was released on July 3, 1983, as the album's fifth single. Although not released in the UK, the song achieved moderate chart success in the US. Reaching number two on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary chart and number seven on the Hot 100, the song became Jackson's fifth Top 10 hit from Thriller. In New Zealand the single reached number 11. The ballad garnered many positive reviews from music critics. "Human Nature" has been covered and sampled by numerous artists, including Miles Davis, SWV, Nas, Jason Nevins and Boyz II Men..... read more info at: wikipedia.org ((((((Human Nature lyrics)))))) [1st Verse] Looking Out Across The Night-Time The City Winks A Sleepless Eye Hear Her Voice Shake My Window Sweet Seducing Sighs [2nd Verse] Get Me Out Into The Night-Time Four Walls Won't Hold Me Tonight If This Town Is Just An Apple Then Let Me Take A Bite [Chorus] If They Say - Why, Why, Tell 'Em That Is Human Nature Why, Why, Does He Do Me That Way If They Say - Why, Why, Tell 'Em That Is Human <b>...</b>
Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough. (C) 2001 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
SMILE- Michael Jackson
A great mj tune and a touch heartbreaking. follow me on Twitter rickyjaxon
Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone
Music video by Michael Jackson performing Leave Me Alone. (C) 1987 MJJ Productions Inc.