“Michael Jackson rehearses his Jackson 5 1972 number one hit, “I’ll be there” for his 1992 Dangerous World Tour”
Michael Jackson performed “I’ll be there” in 1972 originally and it went straight to number one. It was the groups forth number one in a row and the song went on to be one of Motown’s most successful hits ever. Michael performed this song on all of his solo tours as part of his “Jackson 5 medley“, which included, “I want you back” and “The love you save“. It’s interesting that “ABC” was missing. He did perform this in his “Victory Tour” Jackson 5 medley and later in his 30th anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The performance was often a nostalgic emotional one with Michael paying tribute to his brothers, as well as later on during “This is it“, to his mother and Father. Even through all the craziness, he obviously loved his mother and father.
Michael Jackson – Jackson 5 Medley Rehearsal – I’ll Be There (YouTube)
A simple performance by Michael
This is obviously a very calm and relaxed performance by Michael. He didn’t really dance a lot during this performance although, later on in the song, during the Dangerous tour, he would often spin quite energetically. In his Burcharest concert we see him make a very slight mistake with a spin which is a little bit too energetic, and he misses his mark and ends up facing the back. It would almost go unnoticed, except for his correction which highlights that he wanted to land facing the audience.
An emotional performance
This was always an emotional performance, with Michael often crying. People ask whether he really did cry, and I think he actually did. It must have felt like a mixture of nostalgia, happiness, sadness and just craziness about how everything turned out in the end from when he was a small boy performing in 1972.
Michael Jackson’s tribute to his brothers
During this rehearsal we see Michael preparing his tribute to the Jackson 5. He asked Kenny Ortega, at the end of the song “Is this where it happens”. He then calls out his brothers names, one at a time and a spotlight comes on where each brother would usually be. This a special moment on the tour and even in this rehearsal. The lighting has already been set up but we still see an additional spotlight in the middle (presumably set for Michael), come on by mistake, quickly.
It’s also interesting that the dancers leave the stage, just before this point. This is a big improvement from the Bad tour. During the Bad Tour and this rehearsal, the dancers remain on-stage and sway whilst miming along, behind Michael. This is distracting and looked pretty poor. During the final show, the dancers were not on stage at all during “I’ll be there” and left the stage at the end of “The love you save”.
As I stated in my last post on these rehearsals, the music sounds too simplistic and simple with little orchestration BUT, this is only a initial rehearsal, and was sorted before the actual show.
I’ll be there – the ending of the song
There was always an issue with the ending of this song. We see a problem during this rehearsal, less so on the actual Dangerous Tour but very much so on the History Tour – and this was the final note/line. We have hesitation with the start of the line “and I will be ….”. On the tour we sometimes have Michael carrying on dancing before he ends the song whilst the singers are holding the final note. The singers often have to take another breath and continue the note, afresh, and this doesn’t sound good. On the second leg of the History Tour we have only 3 singers, so it sounds thin, as well. I don’t thing the ending line worked very well and could have been improved.
Michael Jackson – Jackson 5 Medley 1987 Bad Tour Yokohama
Michael wore his yellow and gold, Versace, inspired/designed outfit during this song but would often come on wearing a jacket after the break in the middle. During the Bucharest concert we actually see him take his costume designers jacket off his back and put it on! Michael Bush must have been laughing but honoured. It fitted very well. His band reacted and we can see him laughing just before he goes back into the song. In the later parts of the tour he wore his “Jam” jacket, which looked great. On other shows he wore another black jacket.
In Gothenberg, Sweden we see a very funny incident, which you may not have noticed. When he returns to the stage during this song, his arm is soaking wet and it’s dripping all over the stage! He obviously dropped his drink over himself. By the way, his drink, Gatorade or water in a Pepsi Beaker during the Bad and Dangerous tour and special “History” beaker during the History tour. (He didn’t drink his own drink or Pepsi)
This was a real magical moment during the tour and it’s nice to see that it was improved from rehearsal to tour. Next we shall take a look at “Rock with you”. See you soon!
By Anthony King
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