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The Jacksons Unity Tour 2012

The Jacksons release schedule for Unity Tour 2012

By Kelly McWilliams

For the first time in nearly three decades, the Jackson family is embarking on a tour.

The remaining members of the Jackson 5 — Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon — are planning to tour the U.S. this summer, ready to sing classics from their years performing together, but also highlighting the works of their deceased brother Michael.

"There are so many songs," Jackie Jackson recently told E! Online. "That's the hardest part because we want to include all the favorites and not leave anything out. We're going to sing some of Michael's stuff, too. We're going to honor him on the stage. He'd want us to do our thing to the best of our ability."

The 27-city Unity Tour 2012 marks the first time the group will perform together since 1984's Victory Tour, which included Michael as well as the youngest Jackson brother, Randy.

Kicking off on June 18 at the Louisville Palace in Louisville, KY, the tour will hit major metropolitan areas including New York, Washington, and Detroit, as well as towns like Merrillville, IN, close to Gary, the Jackson family's birthplace. The tour's end is currently scheduled for July 29 at the Snoqualmie Casino-Mountain View Plaza in Snoqualmie, WA, however additional dates are expected to be announced.

Rumors have swirled in recent weeks about the possible use of holographic imagery to depict Michael, a la Tupac Shakur's hologram at this year's Coachella Music Festival. But it is not to be for this year's tour.

In the same E! Online interview, Jackie Jackson was supportive of the idea, suggesting that such a project might be part of the group's scheduled 2013 tour in support of their upcoming album: "It could have Michael — absolutely. Wouldn't that be wonderful? As a matter of fact, we had that idea two years ago for Michael's Cirque du Soleil show."

In a statement accompanying the tour announcement, Jermaine Jackson discussed his excitement regarding the upcoming tour: "I am so happy and excited to perform again onstage with my brothers," said Jackson. "I can't wait to sing all the songs that were so much a part of all of our lives. We are ready and committed to keep the family's legacy alive and perform once again with the highest level of excellence, creativity, and most of all, integrity."

The Jacksons were groundbreakers in the 1970's music scene, becoming the one of the first black groups to draw black and white audiences equally. Hits such as "ABC" and "I Want You Back" repeatedly topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Michael left the group in 1984 and went on to have a historic solo career. Jermaine also had some success with his own solo work in the 70's and 80's.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, the brothers had been hoping for a reunion even before brother Michael's death. In fact, the article noted that the primary focus of the family's recent A&E reality show, "The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty," was the brothers' hope to return to the stage together.

The A&E series was conceived originally as a one-hour show in which the brothers (minus Michael) explored plans to reunite for their 40th year in show business. Following Michael's death, the show was expanded to a series as producers followed the family in the wake of their unexpected loss.

Public onsales for the Unity Tour 2012 began on April 6, and secondary sales look bright. Max Waisvisz, Owner of GoldCoastTickets.com in Chicago, recently told TicketNews, "It's one of those things, we see it with the Cirque Du Soleil show that's turned out to be a good show…if it's the Jackson Five, it should be a good tour."

And Waisvisz knows that the group's hometown shows are special ones: "Their hometown being Gary, Indiana, that's right next door to where we are, and they always try to make [those shows] uplifting."

With the enduring popularity of the Jackson brand, the reunited brothers are sure to find excited fans awaiting them at every stop on this tour as well as the next.

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