Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Jacksons Compete with Fireworks in Coney Island

It was a beautiful Saturday night in Coney Island for the Seaside Summer Concert Series to continue with the Jacksons, making a free appearance on their Unity Tour.  There was a solid setlist and the musicians were top notch, but the show was incredibly disorganized.

When I arrived at the venue, it was quite clear this thing was a clusterfuck.  Greeted with a confusing maze of barricades going the entire length of the block, it wasn't obvious where anyone was supposed to go.  "This is the line to pay," said an employee.  I thought it was a free concert, but you could pay $5 for a seat.  If you brought your own chair, you could be penned into another area.  If you wanted to stand, you had to stand way the fuck in the back.

We got there in time to hear misogynistic warm-up comic Artie Fuqua delivering some groundbreaking comedic material: the difference between men and women.  A 
dick-sucking parade for borough president Marty Markowitz followed.  As Marty began trotting out a list of sponsors so long it seemed as if every Brooklyn business was represented, and then asked the audience to contribute money to the men going around with blue buckets, it became increasingly obvious that they didn't have the funds to pay for the show.  Or at least for a decent sound guy.

The Jacksons started things off with "Can You Feel It," which would've been more appropriately titled, "Can You Hear It," the bass and drums creating a nasty muck that the vocals and guitars couldn't cut through.  Amazingly, the sound wasn't fixed for the entirety of the show, and it really put a damper on what could've been an excellent concert.  Jermaine, Marlon, Tito, and Jackie blazed through a mix of Jackson 5 and Jacksons' songs, and even five of Michael's solo efforts.  Three Jermaine Jackson tunes, including my favorite, "Let's Get Serious," were performed, likely a contractual obligation, considering his refusal to join the Jacksons when they signed to CBS.
A hokey scripted segment where the Jacksons sat on stools and recounted the first time they went to Detroit to meet Berry Gordy accompanied a video slideshow of Jackson 5 photos from the '70s.  As they finished up "Time Waits for No One," fireworks from the Cyclones game at neighboring MCU Park lit up the night sky, the explosions ricocheting off the surrounding buildings.  "Heaven Knows I Love You, Girl" was completely obscured by the cacophony, and many audience members shifted their eyes to the pyrotechnics to the right.  Following a tribute to Michael of "Gone Too Soon" by Jermaine, they finally went off-script, asking with a chuckle, "Did you enjoy the fireworks?"  At least they could laugh about it.

A rushed medley of Jackson 5 hits including "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "All I Do is Think of You" snatched back the crowd, everyone's hands swaying during the mélange's finale, "I'll Be There."  After the one-two MJ punch of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," they rocked the crowd with an extended "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" and danced their way offstage.  Marty Markowitz got on the mic and asked for more money.  No "Dancing Machine?"  The sound crew's paychecks should all go into the blue buckets.


Can You Feel It / Blame It on the Boogie > I Wanna Be Where You Are / Rock with You / Show You the Way to Go / Lovely One / Lookin’ Through the Windows / Time Waits for No One / Heaven Knows I Love You, Girl > Push Me Away > Man of War / Gone Too Soon / I Want You Back > ABC > The Love You Save > Never Can Say Goodbye > All I Do is Think of You > I’ll Be There / Dynamite > Let’s Get Serious / Do What You Do / Can’t Let Her Get Away / This Place Hotel / Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ / Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough / Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to comment on your review which I found was very well written & detailed. The Jacksons were definitely paid for their performance in Coney Island. The show was only free to the public. You had to come early (I was on the line at around 4:15pm) and I got great seats in the 8th row center for $5.00 each. Marty Markowitz told the audience that several companies and organizations each contributed to bringing the Jacksons to Coney Island. It totaled to $500,000. The buckets that were going around were for future shows not this one. Marty also said that for all the years he's been doing the show there has not been one entertainer who would do the show for free. The sound system for the Jacksons Unity Tour have not been great from the start of the tour. I have been to several of the shows and there is always a sound problem. The band overpowers the vocals. I don't know why they haven't corrected it as yet. The Jacksons have the same set list for each show and it never includes Dancing Machine. I didn't know the fireworks were from the Cyclones game.