the jacksons

The Jacksons (Tito, Jackie, Marlon & Jermaine) performing in New Jersey on June 30, 2012

*In the midst of the drama surrounding their mother possibly being missing, the LA Times points out that Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon are bringing their “Unity Tour” to LA’s Greek Theatre tonight.

If it happens as scheduled, they will perform hits from the Jackson 5 catalog. Shucks, for old times sake, they may even get their boogie on.

But let’s cut to the chase. The bottom line surrounding this tour is this: Are they a viable act without Michael?

Or to put it more succinctly, does anybody care?

After the 27-date trek was announced in April, 11 stops were canceled, including shows in Cincinnati,Washington, D.C., and Dallas. Tickets for some performances, including L.A., have gone for as much as 66% off on discount sites such as Goldstar. The Greek Theatre, which seats 5,900, is still not sold out. The trek wraps up July 29 in Snoqualmie, Wash.

Jermaine says the slashed dates are not a result of low demand but, rather, a conscious decision to cut tour time in order to record the follow-up to their last album together, 1989′s “2300 Jackson Street.” “The whole thing was about doing small, up-close and personal venues. When we first started, we wanted to do a few dates,” Jermaine said. “[The tour organizers] threw a whole bunch at us.”

The last time the Jacksons performed as a group in Los Angeles, they were closing out six dates at Dodger Stadium during their massive 1984 “Victory Tour.” On the final night, the group’s most famous member announced the tour would be their last.

The brothers disbanded after that, with only one moonwalking his way to superstardom and scandal. The last effort to keep the Jackson group franchise alive, “2300 Jackson Street,” featured just one track with the most famous of the bunch and failed to match or even come close to the group’s earlier triumphs.

Three years after Michael’s death and nearly 30 years after that December night at Dodger Stadium, the brothers — all between ages 55 and 61 — are hoping their “Unity Tour” can recapture some of the Jacksons’ former allure.

Although the tour has been warmly received by critics, most reviews have been nostalgic takes on the Jacksons’ two decades’ worth of funk, disco and pop hits. The New York Times’ Jon Pareles wrote that the show “treaded carefully between respect and exploitation,” but more than once the fact has been acknowledged that the show just isn’t the same without MJ.

“When you have someone like Michael in the band — he was so incredible,” Jermaine said. “We are [now] doing what we probably wouldn’t get a chance to because he was our front.”

Read/learn more at LA Times.