There’s no place like a second home: Jackie and his brother Marlon and Tito are in Japan to perform at Michael Jackson Tribute Live concerts being held in Tokyo on December 13 and 14 at Yoyogi National Stadium. The concerts are set to feature performances by the three Jackson brothers, AI, Macy Gray, Crystal Kay, Juju and many more musicians and dancers. On December 10th, the brothers made rice cakes with the children of the Akabane orphanage, of whom many lost their parents in the recent tsunami.
Speaking to The Japan Times from his Los Angeles home just prior to rehearsals for the upcoming shows, Jackie explained that it was only natural to organize the second tribute event (after Cardiff, Wales in October of 2011) in Japan.
“Japan has been very supportive of my family over the years so it feels like a second home to us just as it did for Michael,” he said.
Michael Jackson Tribute Live Kay hopes that if the audience is able to take away a message from the tribute event, it will be that “Michael and his music will forever be in our hearts. It’s a sentiment shared by Jackie.
“I want the audience to realize the type of person Michael was,” Jackie said, referring to his brother’s generosity. “We hope they walk away feeling the magic and Michael’s presence.”
In terms of finding that presence within the show, Jackie is confident.
“We all pretty much know what to do when it comes to Michael’s spirit,” he said. “He was part of us and was in this group, so his spirit is in the room with us wherever we go. He was with us in Cardiff and he will be with us in Japan. We feel it.”
The show also includes a charity element to help raise funds for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11. All profits from the merchandise, including T-shirts, towels and gloves, will be donated to projects such as a fund for scholarships for those orphaned by the disaster.
“We were devastated by the tragedy,” Jackie said. “I know lots of people lost homes and children were left without parents and family, so we can’t wait to go and see the youth centers and hospitals and extend our love to them. Hopefully we can bring some of them to the concert.”
“Michael Jackson Tribute Live” will be followed by an after-party at the opulent Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo, organized by luxury magazine Pavone. Various DJ and live-music performances are planned as well as a mini-exhibition by American Apparel and sponsored booths by Ray Ban and Tom Ford. Tickets are ¥15,000 each and are available only via a fax application from the Pavone website.
“This might be the last tribute show for a while,” said Jackie, who then hinted that the family estate may yet also approve one in Los Angeles. He added that the Jacksons are hoping to organize a full East Asia tour further down the line, together with AI, playing throughout Japan and China.
Trying to match the power and emotion of an actual Michael Jackson concert will be quite a feat, especially considering Japan was tagged as the pop star’s second home because of the fans here. Endo agrees that it will be difficult to live up to the superstar’s reputation, and that he still can’t quite put his finger on how to recreate the singer’s magic.