Jackson brothers’ stories part of act at Planet Hollywood

Is it destiny? Or was that just an album title?

Time will tell, but 40 years have brought the Jacksons from the old MGM Grand — where they played the Celebrity Room that was torn down to connect Bally’s to Paris Las Vegas — to a short walk next door at Planet Hollywood Resort.

“Even back in the time of Gary, Ind., you dreamed. You saw Las Vegas on television and said, ‘Wow, I’d love to get here and do this and do that and be part of the history,’ ” says Tito Jackson, now 60. “It was a great feeling. Being an entertainer it was one of the places you would love to be in, and be a part of, and work in.”

But a few things happened in the intervening years. One in particular: Michael Jackson.

He was always the focal point of the Jackson 5, who had actually become six by the time 11-year-old Randy sang with the brothers at the MGM Grand in August 1974.

Still, things really changed after the Jacksons’ “Destiny” album in 1978. Michael released “Off the Wall” the next year and “Thriller” in 1982. By the time of the “Victory” album and tour two years later, the older brothers were almost irrelevant, and sometimes — especially Tito, who had the funniest name — even a late-night talk show punch line.

But in June 2012, Jermaine, Marlon, Jackie and Tito reclaimed the family name, regrouping for touring that took them around the world.

“What made us want to do it was my brother’s passing,” says Jackie, 62. “All of the fans started sending us emails requesting us to go back out. Do it for Michael and do it for them.”

Now Jackie and Tito have bought houses in Las Vegas, which at various points has also been home to father Joe and sisters Rebbie and La Toya. The brothers hope to have an ongoing presence on the Strip with the new showcase that launched this week.

It’s branded alongside Meat Loaf — with whom they share the theater until at least early April — as part of producer Adam Steck’s “Rocktellz and Cocktails” series, inspired by “VH1 Storytellers.”

That means slight changes to the “Unity” tour that brought the four to the Cannery in 2012, and resurrected some neglected hits such as “Can You Feel It” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” This time, the Jacksons plan to connect old favorites with career anecdotes.

“There’s gonna be some fun stuff, you’re gonna be laughing (at) some stories we never told,” Jackie says. “We’re gonna let the cat out of the bag now.” Perhaps literally, as one of the stories they plan to tell is how Michael befriended Siegfried and Roy during those MGM years when the magicians’ “Hallelujah Hollywood” was next door to the Celebrity Room.

“We’re musical so we’re gonna keep it musical, but there are going to be storytelling moments,” Tito says, promising memories of Diana Ross, Berry Gordy, Sammy Davis Jr. and other stars, “all the way up to today’s celebrities.”

“We’ve been in the business a long time,” he adds. “We have a lot of friends.”

In separate phone conversations, neither Tito nor Jackie made a big deal out of a professional reunion that came close to 30 years after the “Victory” tour.

“We saw each other all the time, we just hadn’t performed together onstage,” Jackie says. “Once we got together in the rehearsal hall, striking the band up and started singing the songs, it felt so good. Things started coming together. It was easy.”

“We’ve always had the fever,” Tito said. “We’ve never lost the fever and the love for it.”

The Jackson 5 formed after father Joe discovered young Tito’s emerging guitar skills. But, he points out, “I was the only brother who never put out a record or went out on my own. Instead of having a solo career I was working with my sons and forming their band.”

But when his three sons moved beyond their group 3T, Tito started a blues band and “traveled all over the place. I was tired of not going on the road. I’m a musician. I wanted to play.”

Tito says the brothers first planned to join Michael for a guest segment in the later dates of the 50 “This Is It” concerts he planned for the 02 Arena in London before his death during rehearsals in 2009.

“It was sad because we were always wanting to go out on the road and do our thing, but we wanted to go out as the Jackson 5 … which would include Michael.”

The plan to start at the 02 was never made official by a contract, but “it was something all the brothers had agreed to, and that’s all you need basically to get the ball rolling,” Tito adds.

Instead, the brothers waited three years after Michael’s death and the family’s wrongful death lawsuit that followed.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Jackie says. “Once we got together in the rehearsal hall and got together, everything just fell in line. We just fed off each other. It felt like Michael was onstage with us at the same time.

“Any given time we knew where he was going to be. Although he’s not here, we just felt his spirit onstage with us. That’s how it was.”

But unlike Michael, for whom “This Is It” was to be both comeback and swansong, his four brothers plan to keep singing.

“I think we’re going to do this as long as we can,” Tito says. “Just like the Sinatras or Sammy Davis or George Burns, (who kept going) all the way to their grave site. That’s how much they loved what they do.”

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

Entertainment Videos
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door and Banksy art in Las Vegas
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door, Banksy art in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hazel in Las Vegas serves modern takes on traditional cocktails
Hazel serves modern takes on traditional cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas celebrates St. Patrick's Day
Tonight the city lit the Welcome sign green, McMullan's Irish Pub and the Guinness store also prepare for this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Reuben sandwich at Served in Henderson, near Las Vegas
Matthew Meyer, chef/owner of Served, makes a Reuben sandwich with house-brined corned beef, house-made sauerkraut and gooey melted cheese at his restaurant in Henderson, outside Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas day club season returns with big-name DJs
Rick Ross, March 23, at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay The Chainsmokers, March 30, at Encore Beach Club Marshmello, April 6, Kaos Dayclub at the Palms Chuckie, May 11, Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Calvin Harris, May 11, Wet Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Pizza expert Chris Bianco makes meatballs in Las Vegas
Chris Bianco, who was the keynote speaker at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, demonstrates meatball making for expo attendees. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas pulmonologist talks about new movie dealing with cystic fibrosis
Dr. Craig Nakamura, Director of Cystic Fibrosis Center of Southern Nevada, talks about the upcoming romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” where both of the lead characters suffer from cystic fibrosis. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
World Pizza Champion crowned in Las Vegas
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Italian pizzaiolo Federico De Silvestri took the top prize and more than $12,000. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Italian wins Pizza Maker of the Year at Pizza Expo
Federico De Silvestri of Verona, Italy, wins the finals in the non-traditional pizza category during the International Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, March 7, 2019. De Silvestri went on to beat winners from each of the four other categories — traditional, pan, pizza Napoletana and Roman — to win Pizza Maker of the Year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Good Pie Coming To Arts District
Local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo says Good Pie is coming to the Arts District. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local comedian says "It's ok to laugh, ...the comedy club is dark."
K-Von, a half-Persian comedian, talks about his style of comedy which keeps audiences entertained.
Pizza Dough Throwing Competition
Contestants participate in the World Pizza Games at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Wednesday night. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
World Pizza Games showcased in Las Vegas
The World Pizza Games, part of the International Pizza Expo, drew competitors from all over the world to Las Vegas to compete in events such as dough stretching and box folding. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Pizza competitors dazzle at international expo
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included the first rounds of the World Pizza Games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas showcases products and trends
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, vegan and gluten-free menu choices and compostable packaging were highlighted, as well as Detroit-style and Roman-style pizza. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about a new restaurant
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about the construction of his new restaurant at Fremont Street’s Fergusons Downtown complex in downtown Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neon Museum lights up the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas flipped the switch on its latest acquisition Monday night, the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
A Taste of Eataly Las Vegas
Executive Chef Nicole Brisson gives a tour around Eataly Las Vegas, located in the Park MGM. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Towering triple decker sandwich at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas
Jonah Resnick, executive chef of Sadelle’s, the newest restaurant at Bellagio in Las Vegas, serves a daunting concoction of roast beef layered with house-made cole slaw, turkey and more cole slaw, on rye bread. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas Debuts New Eiffel Tower Light Show
The Paris in Las Vegas unveiled its latest Eiffel Tower light show, Wednesday evening. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video: Las Vegas Omelet House Marks 40th anniversary
Omelet House at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive in Las Vegas, which opened in 1979, is a locals’ favorite, known for fluffy six-egg omelets. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves readying new beer
Ryan Reaves, a forward with the Golden Knights, has plans for a second beer, a lager, through his 7Five Brewing Co. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Adds Lady Gaga To The Fountain Playlist
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been added to the rotation of classic tunes played for the dancing waters at Lake Bellagio. The song debuted at 6 p.m. Monday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Comedian uses laughter to bring understanding about AIDS
Comedian Brandon Cox Sanford talks about how he uses his comedy sketches to bring light to his AIDS diagnosis. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas
Sasha Rincon-Camacho, regional marketing director, talks about the 20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Meow Wolf opening an 'otherworldly' art experience in Las Vegas
Meow Wolf opening "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New caneles pastries served at tea at Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas
Tony Gauthier, executive pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, was trained to make caneles in Bordeaux in his native France, and they’re a new feature on the hotel’s afternoon tea. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Yard House margarita changes color in the glass
The cocktail, as made by lead bartender Taylor Cole at Town Square in Las Vegas, changes from deep blue to magenta because of a chemical reaction between its butterfly pea flowers and citrus agave. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Home Front Page Footer Listing