The Jacksons, Hammersmith Apollo

Purely joyous: The Jacksons perform at Hammersmith Apollo

Purely joyous: The Jacksons perform at Hammersmith Apollo Photo: Stephanie Paschal / Rex Features

04 Mar 2013

You might think there would be a ghost haunting this show, an inescapable absence at its centre, yet of all the Michael Jackson related tributes I have seen, the reunion of his brothers was by far the most purely joyous and entertaining.

It worked, in a way, because it wasn’t all about Michael. There were no excessively maudlin speeches, no hi-tech projections from beyond the grave, and none of the quasi-religious homages that make less obsessive fans queasy. There was just great music and dancing and a real spirit of fraternal togetherness, with Michael being celebrated as a part of this talented clan, as opposed to something completely other.

In truth, The Jacksons career never really recovered from the departure and phenomenal solo success of their most extravagantly talented member in the early Eighties. From 1984 on, all of their careers seemed to depend on his beneficence. A speculative comeback in 2009 was cut short by Michael’s death, and there have been various falling outs and disagreements, with indications that it took torturous negotiations to get four of the five back onstage (without youngest, Randy, who became a member at the tail end of their career). Yet there is no sense of conflict or compromise, apart, perhaps, from an unnecessary Jermaine solo section. This is a slick, fun, engaging, super well-drilled show in which the performers seem to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience.

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