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CrazyFruits » celebrities & their lifestyles » New Michael Jackson show keeping family together and his legacy alive

New Michael Jackson show keeping family together and his legacy alive

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Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour sees Michael Jackson songs performed alongside the acrobatics of the Cirque Du Soleil, a visual feast of dance, fantasy and Vegas-style visuals
A blacked-out limo sweeps under the building. And then a second identical limousine. Tito Jackson emerges from the first, resplendent in an embroidered turquoise shirt. His brother Jackie, in black jeans and a fitted black jacket, steps from the second car.

There have been so many inter- generational and inter-sibling feuds since Michael’s death it’s hard to work out who’s on whose side. There were stories that his mother Katherine, 82, was too frail to look after Michael’s children Prince, Paris and Blanket.

He very clearly designated his beloved mother as their guardian and his will left money to her, the children and his favourite charities, but he made a point of excluding his abusive father and former manager Joseph – and his siblings. Apparently this didn’t go down well with some of them.

Jermaine, Rebbie, Randy and Tito were on one side of the dispute and LaToya, Marlon and Jackie the other, with Janet changing her mind. Many of them had received allowances from their superstar brother for years, which stopped at his death.

But there’s harmony on the horizon. Tito and Jackie are here to support the show, and Tito tells me all the siblings love it. ‘It’s a great production. I’ve seen a few Cirque shows, and they’ve taken everything my brother stood for musically and put it into a Cirque-type production.

As well as the Cirque show, the brothers are on a world tour singing Jacksons songs without Michael, which does seem rather odd
It’s an overview of his musical history, from the early Motown days all the way up. I was very emotional the first time I saw it. It takes you back and it makes you sad because we were very close as brothers at that time. Michael would have loved it, he loved Cirque shows. I feel connected to him when I’m watching it. And I get the same feeling when I tour with the brothers.’

As well as the Cirque show, the brothers are on a world tour singing Jacksons songs without Michael, which does seem rather odd. Obviously it’s another financial opportunity. Tito, 51, says sadly, ‘You certainly feel his absence. When we did those songs we’d be on stage and he would be running back and forth. Now there’s no running. But I feel he’s with us all and giving us support.’

Does he feel he can talk to him? ‘Yes.’ If Michael were here now, what would he ask him? ‘That’s a hard question.’

There’s a long silence, and I say I would ask him if he ever felt loved. What does he think? It’s as if the emotion of the question is a tennis ball that’s been flung in his face. ‘I don’t know if those would be the right words to choose.’ I wait, hoping he will have an opinion. ‘I can’t answer that for you.’

Much has been written about the family feuds – can he set the record straight? ‘We all love the Cirque show. We’ve all seen it together and everybody is OK. They call me Tito Tiptoe because I tiptoe out of situations, but I don’t have any information.’

He is at least talking to his brothers as he’s on the road performing with them, so there’s some movement towards a happy family. ‘When the brothers are on tour it’s the most fun. Always something to joke about, although there’s always something to cry about. Missing Michael is something you never, ever heal from. You just want to touch him. We have great memories of being kids.’

Tito has a very selective memory. Michael told in great depth that their childhood was filled with hard work, gruelling deadlines and physical reprimands from father Joseph if they didn’t get a routine right. Nonetheless, tiptoeing Tito, who always gives well-rehearsed replies at interviews, seems palpably moved.

Does he have a keepsake from Michael? ‘When he was exonerated from court [Michael was acquitted of sexual abuse charges in 2005] he gave me one of his Bentleys. He said, “It’s the one I drive and everyone who drives with me signs the ceiling.”

The Jackson 5, from left, Tito, Marlon, Michael, Jackie and Jermaine perform
'There were signatures on the roof from Beyoncé and other celebrities. I don’t even drive it. It’s my pride and joy. Every time I sit in it I feel his presence.’ He shakes his head. ‘It’s painful. It’s changed me. I’m not as happy...’ He tries to finish.
‘Maybe this show keeps his being alive, not just his legacy.’ Has losing Michael brought the family closer together? ‘No matter what differences divide any family, it’s blood and love that will always glue it together. When you have a death in a family, you realise how precious and how valuable you are to each other.’

Jackie, 61, is introverted, quieter than Tito. He looks through you; almost hunted. The Michael Jackson Cirque collaboration was partly his idea. ‘I was confident that if you put Michael Jackson and Cirque together it would be spectacular. And it is,’ he says.

'We're tearing it up, we're having a great time.' Long pause. 'We miss Michael, though.'
If you like Michael Jackson songs and the daredevil antics of Cirque Du Soleil, you won’t be disappointed. There are plans for a second show with different songs.

‘When Michael sang a cappella as a boy, you could see how much talent he had,’ says Jackie. ‘He was the special one. He got into the recording studio, he just knew what to do, instinctively. I carry pieces of him with me. I have a diamond glove of his I use as a keychain. I carry it all the time.’
Jackie’s also enjoying touring with his brothers again.
‘We’re tearing it up, we’re having a great time.’ Long pause. ‘We miss Michael, though.’
Michael Jackson:

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