David Crumpler’s Review Of The Jacksons Victory Tour Show At The Gator Bowl – Final Part

Sources: Jacksonville.com | Edited By – All Things Michael

This is a review of the Jacksons’ Victory Tour show at the Gator Bowl that ran in the Times-Union.


Michael Jackson live and in person. Is it possible for this performer to live up to the hype he’s been given in the past year?

The answer is a larger-than-life “Yes,” and the crowd at the Gator Bowl last night for the final of three Jacksons concerts was awed by every move he made.

No matter that Jackson has been the subject of newspaper, magazine and music trade-industry stories since we can remember, nor that his videos have dominated Music Television, nor that his songs dominate the airwaves. And let’s not even talk about his commercials and clothes.

The crowd greeted him as if he had just popped into its consciousness, and whether it was the old Jackson Five songs, such as “I Want You Back,” or the recent songs from his album “Thriller,” this 25-year-old performer could do no wrong.

It’s billed as the Jacksons’ Victory Tour, and the show featured brothers Jermaine, Marlon, Randy and Tito. Still, it was Michael’s night, and the show does very little to encourage interest in the new “Victory” album. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like without him, even though the others, especially Jermaine in his two solo numbers, showed they are exciting, capable performers.

The audience itself was electric with anticipation at the show’s opening. They seemed so worked up at the prospect of seeing Michael on stage that they didn’t appear to mind the stupid Kreeton scenario that opens the concert.

Other reviews have tried and failed to make much sense of this, and understandably so. I still don’t know what the opening is supposed to mean, or why it’s included.

These rock ‘n’ roll blobs, which are probably what Muppets would look like on the Day After, come prancing on stage, and this voice comes booming over the sound system telling us that whoever can pull a sword from a stone is the one who can conquer the Kreetons.

So a few people try, but it takes Randy Jackson before we find a victor. With every lighting trick and poof of smoke, the crowd obviously expected Michael to appear, but they had to wait until the Kreetons get zapped before he began his first number, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Michael’s domination of the concert showed why he’s the brother the crowd really came to see. He’s a performer with a real sense of showmanship. Though most every move and spin could be anticipated (unless you’ve never seen one of his music videos, nor the army of imitators), spectators seemed all the more thrilled that they were seeing all this in person.

As a performer, Michael certainly has to be one of the most dynamic in recent history. Even with slower songs, such as “She’s Out of My Life,” he gives the impression that his body can’t quite hold all the energy inside him. By the time he gets around to “Billie Jean” near the concert’s end, he seemingly has every adult, teenager and child in the palm of his hand.

The set, lighting and laser show are overwhelming, and some might say suffer from overproduction. It’s part Broadway, part science fiction and part Disney World, designed to dazzle. And it does — even in a structure as large as the Gator Bowl.

The large video screen atop the set allowed the audience to see the magic moves of Michael Jackson and his brothers close up — you could, at times, almost count the beads of sweat on foreheads — and the camera allowed for a few very intimate shots of the lean, boyish-girlish Michael that sent the crowd into hysterical approval.

Was it worth the $30 price of admission? All things are relative. Let’s leave it at that. The Jacksons worked hard for your money.


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