Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TcB! J5 on Tour

In the fall of 1970, only a few fans had had the good fortune to have attended a Jackson 5 concert in person, so we hung on every word of this report from TcB!.

I remember being confused by the mention of songs that didn't yet appear on any of the Jackson 5's LPs, like "It's Your Thing" and "Walk On By." I had already learned to mistrust info in teen magazines by the time TcB! had come out, so I wondered if they had just gotten the song titles wrong. But once I had seen the J5 in concert a few months later, I could see that the description of the concert was fairly accurate -- minus the fantasy element of "you" being along with them.

But some things about this report remain puzzling to me to this day. Like the reference to Canadian Mounties hats. What the hell? I have never seen any of the J5 wearing anything close to a Mounties hat in the 1970s, not even Johnny with his vast store of head adornments. And who is Jesse? Supposedly it was the name of the person who handed them all clean shirts to change into after the concert. (I love the image of the five of them changing their clothes in the aisle of the airplane. I wonder if that part's accurate.)

But the biggest puzzle for me is which concert the writer is describing. The best clues would seem to be the opening acts and the accompanying photos. The Rare Earth and Jerry Butler were their opening acts in June of 1970, when the J5 played at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on June 19 and the Los Angeles Forum on June 20. But as you can see from the photos accompanying my earlier posts linked above, they were wearing different clothes on stage both times.

And you've probably noticed the photos in the TcB! article are not all from the same concert. In the first photo, Michael and Jackie are both wearing overalls, but in the other photos, they are not. I've already identified the first photo as being from their August 19, 1970, concert at the Cobo Arena in Detroit. I'm not sure where the photos on the second, third, and fourth pages come from. I would guess they are from one of their concert appearances in mid-October 1970. I have one additional photo from this set that was part of a TcB! archive I bought several years ago, but it doesn't identify a source.

The only other photo I have in my collection verified as taken at a 1970 concert is a press photo from their October 18 appearance at the Amphitheater in Chicago.

They're all wearing pretty much the same clothes, except for Michael, who's back to wearing his overalls. (They seemed to have about two costume changes apiece for their 1970 concerts.)

While the photos seem to be from one of their October gigs, the concert write-up is not. Their opening acts on October were Little Charles and the Sidewinders, Yvonne Fair, and Blinky Williams -- and so far as I know, Jerry Butler only served in this capacity in June 1970 to fill in for the originally scheduled act, Ike and Tina Turner. The TcB! article is most likely describing either their Cow Palace or their Forum concert. And given that it describes them getting in a plane on a Friday, flying up over the Pacific coastline, buying coats because they didn't know it would be so cold, and then flying home again that night, all evidence points to San Francisco.

But that still leave the mystery of Jesse and the Canadian Mounties hats.


  1. If you look on youtube..theirs a footage of them singing "ABC" at the forum in Florida..

    ..i'll give you the link if you want :)

  2. I love these post about concert performances from 1970-1972.

  3. Speaking of concerts, i wonder how many are in the motown vaults????

  4. Me too!
    I especially wonder about the 1971 Gary concerts. I've seen quite some pictures from that performance. There have been some reports and articles about the J5 'going back to indiana'. And there are 2 songs recorded may 29th 1971 that appear on that 'The Jacksons: An American dream' cd.
    There must be more than 2 songs recorded and I really wonder if there is some footage in the vaults!

  5. I'm going to be writing about the Jan 1971 return to Gary in a few weeks, Raisa. They performed in a high school gym so I doubt it was recorded. This was the only time they performed in Gary after they went to Motown. They are often erroneously reported to have performed there again in May (even by Motown), but that concert was in Indianapolis, Indiana.

    We know that the Indianapolis concert from May 1971 was completely recorded, both video and audio, because parts of the video were used for the Goin Back to Indiana special, and Jason Weaver talked about studying the film of Michael performing "Who's Lovin' You" during the making of "American Dream" so he'd know how to perform it. Audio for that same concert has shown up on various cds, mostly recently Mama's Pearl as a bonus feature on Live at the Forum.

  6. Thank you for your reply! I can't wait for that blog!
    So the 2 songs on 'The jacksons: an american dream' cd are from indianapolis?
    I really don't get how they can get stuff like that wrong in the booklet!
    Talking about that Gary concert, I've seen vinyl LPs on ebay called 'Getting together with the jackson 5' which has 'You don't have to be over 21 to fall in love' and 'some girls want me for their lover' and some songs of The Platters, Frankie Lyman, Tommy Hunt,...
    Do you know anything more about that? I don't have a link to show you a picture (but I can send you a picture from a past ebay auction if you want to) and I think the cover has several pictures of the Gary concert which look great!
    I hope you've heard about/ 've seen/ own that LP and can confirm that it are pictures from the Gary concert.

  7. I wonder how bad condition the Philly show is (audio) and if its even releaseable??????

  8. Raisa, that LP will be part of the Return to Gary week.