THE JACKSON 5 - I Will Never Forget 23rd June, 1973

Mikky Dee

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The Jackson Five

Date: Saturday 23rd June 1973

Season: First month of winter

Venue: Festival Hall

City: Brisbane

Country: Australia


The title states that I will never forget....and that is definitely true, because there are moments from my very first BIG concert experience that are engraved indelibly on the blackboard of my mind. Other moments, though, are less vivid; the edges are blurred - they are mere whispers and so fleeting.....like leaves on the wind. One of our members discovered that I have, indeed, seen The Jackson 5 live on stage and thus, asked me to post a thread about it. To that end, I will do my very best to conjure up ALL of the precious moments that were mine, almost 47 years ago.

In 1973, I was fifteen (closer to sixteen, actually) and crazy about The Jackson 5. Crazy about all of them, of course, but I was especially enamoured with Michael, who was very close to my own age and an undisputed standout in the group - head and shoulders above the rest in talent, if not in size. I had been following Michael/The Jackson Five since 1969 - collecting all of the magazine and newspaper articles that I could find, playing their records and recording their songs from radio air play. My 13th birthday party (1970) even had a Jackson Five theme. Late in April of 1973, I had just begun socialising and spending time with a young man who was seventeen (almost eighteen) and a police cadet at the time. I was super-excited to learn that my favourite boy group was coming to Australia, particularly as I had never been to a live concert before - not in a hall, an arena, or a stadium of any kind. The J5 concert in my city (Brisbane, Australia) on Saturday, 23rd June, turned out to be the first REAL date that I and my young man had together; he had purchased the tickets as an early birthday surprise for me, in the hope of impressing me and sealing our romance, which of course, it DID.
 

Mikky Dee

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Festival Hall - Outside


Images are from news archives (not photographed by me). I didn't own a camera until about 1979.

Festival%20Hall%201_zps53zuep08.jpg

(Signage advertising Joan Armatrading - year unknown)

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(Signage advertising Wings - 1975)

Festival Hall was originally built as a boxing stadium. It was used for boxing, wrestling and even roller derby! It was first repurposed for rock concerts in 1964 and in fact, the first four concerts to be played there were by none other than The Beatles. Just about every major national and international act that came to my city throughout the sixties, seventies and early eighties played at Festival Hall, BUT it was often difficult for promoters to entice acts to Brisbane. It was seen as the "poor cousin" of Sydney and Melbourne and therefore was often overlooked. That's why I was SO thrilled to learn that the Jackson Five were actually going to perform in my town....it was a HUGE deal for the teenagers at that time.
 
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Mikky Dee

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Festival Hall - Inside

Images from news archives

I thought I would share these images of the inside of the venue, just to give everyone an idea of what it was like. There were no barriers between the audience and the stage. Everyone was right up against the edge of the stage and really packed in.....standing room only on the floor, with elevated seating in boxes all around the sides and at the back. The capacity was around 4000, but with people standing and packed in on the floor, it could stretch a little further, to about 4500...sometimes even more, with people forging extra tickets and many even spilling out onto the street. Everything was made of timber - stage, floor, walls, high ceilings - when the audience started stomping, it was LOUD.

The Easy Beats in concert, 1969.

Easy%20Beats%201969_zps3yuyrrsb.jpg


The article below should further set the scene - here is Led Zeppelin in concert, 1972.

Somehow 6000 people squeezed into Festival Hall for this event!

Festival%20Hall%201972_zps836teblj.jpg
 
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Mikky Dee

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The Jackson Five

These photos are from newspaper clippings.

Brisbane was the first city The Jackson Five performed in, in Australia in 1973. I am STILL very proud of that. LOL


Festival%20Hall%201973_zpspoli8w94.jpg

On stage in Brisbane, 23rd June, 1973



Sydney%20airport%201973_zpsmhksi5u1.jpg

At Sydney Airport, ready to fly out of the country, on their way to New Zealand (July)
 
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Mikky Dee

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The Night of the Concert (Part 1)

My new boyfriend and I arrived early. Personally, I couldn't wait to get indoors, as the night was quite cold, overcast and breezy. I was keen to find out where our seats were and unfortunately, at first glance, I was rather disappointed, even if I didn't want to say so. We had seats in one of the boxes on the left hand side of the concert hall....elevated.....quite high up and not especially close to the stage, at all. The main floor below was filled with folding chairs - the kind with a timber frame and white canvas covering (think deck chairs, or beach chairs). Theatres often had seating like that still, in the first half of the seventies. Not only were we a bit too far from the stage for my first, big concert experience, but there was a support pillar in front of our boxed area, slightly towards the left of our seats, which I felt was surely going to impede our view at certain times during the concert. I didn't want to worry too much so early in the night and I didn't want anything to dampen my enthusiasm, so I tried to put these concerns out of my mind and just drink in the atmosphere. I had so much nervous energy bubbling to the surface as I stared around, taking in all the details of the stage, the equipment, the lights, the curtains - I watched as everyone poured in, finding their seats, chattering, laughing, flipping through the program. I was certainly envious of the hundreds upon hundreds of people who were taking up their positions in the white canvas chairs on the main floor below and wishing that I was one of them.

Having never been to a concert before in my young life, I was NOT prepared for what happened when, eventually, the lights dimmed.
The announcer shouted an introduction for the American boy band - The Jackson Five ran onto the stage from the wings and began their first song, which was "We're Gonna Have a Good Time". Every single person in the audience jumped to their feet and there was a mighty roar of applause - shouting, cheering and screaming. On the floor, the chairs started collapsing, as the people surged forward, to pack in tighter and to get closer to the stage. Within a very short amount of time, all of the chairs were flat, no one was sitting on them at all, but rather standing on top of them, around them, or to the side of them, as though they weren't even there. All I could do was look down in amazement at a sea of flattened and useless chairs, with no one on the floor taking any notice of them at all and I wondered whose bright idea it had been to provide chairs for an audience of people who only wanted to jump and stomp and dance!

Here is some audio of the opening song - "We're Gonna Have a Good Time" - from 1973 live in Japan (not Brisbane, unfortunately).

 

Mikky Dee

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The Night of the Concert (Part 2)

I remember thinking how smart they looked - so well dressed and stylish, in their white/off white suits, with colourful, glittering embellishments and embroidery on the jackets and the trousers. Michael's jacket was a different colour to the others'....I think it was navy and not everyone's satin shirt was the same colour. I liked how their outfits were uniform, but still unique to each person in some way, by small changes like that.

They performed about fifteen or sixteen songs......maybe a couple more?? It's hard to remember, exactly. I can't list off what all the songs were, but certain ones have definitely wormed their way into my psyche and stayed with me for all these years.

They are, in no particular order:

Lookin' Through the Windows
The medley - I Want you Back/ABC/The Love You Save
Superstition
Ben
Got To Be There
Never Can Say Goodbye
Papa Was a Rollin' Stone
I Wanna Be Where You Are
Ben



The medley, "Superstition", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and "Ben" were my favourites out of them all. (Ben was a MASSIVE hit in Australia).

The general vibe of the entire concert was joyous. There was high energy and verve, for most of it, especially when their synchronised dance moves were in play. The audience truly made so MUCH noise.....there was so much non-stop screaming, that at times I wanted to tell them all to shut up, so that I could hear the performance better!

By about the fourth/fifth song, I had truly had enough of leaning forward and trying to see past the pillar that was in our way, to the left, because sometimes when they were dancing, they would move towards the back of the stage and it was then that I couldn't see Michael very well. I wanted so badly to see him ALL the time, of course, so I made a snap decision to try to get down onto the floor area and squirm my way through everyone who was standing up, having a great view and an amazing time. I darted off, down the stairs behind our box, in through the doors leading to the floor area and scooted past the doorman, with my boyfriend trying desperately to keep up with me. We slowly inched and wiggled around between people on the edge of the crowd on the floor and managed to find a tiny bit of space for us to stand near the left hand side, about twenty rows back from the stage. No pillars to peer around! An unobstructed view of the stage and MUCH closer than we had been, up in our box seats. I don't think my boyfriend was very happy with me, because he didn't want to stand up for the entire concert, squashed in between so many other people, but I felt that I was with MY people and I was so, so happy to be able to watch Michael sing and dance. We found our spot just in time for the medley of "I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save".

This audio is again from Japan in 1973. The sound is very similar, except for the absence of screaming. Hahaha!

 
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Mikky Dee

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I tried to find a set list for my concert night, to fill in the blanks for the songs I can't remember and sadly, there doesn't seem to be any official record of the set list anywhere. The closest I could find is the set list for July 13 1973, which was in Boston.

1. We're Gonna Have a Good Time
2. Skywriter
3. Lookin' Through the Windows
4. Got To Be There
5. Hallelujah Day
6. Medley - I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save
7. Daddy's Home
8. Corner of the Sky
9. Superstition
10. Ben
11. Happy
12. Music and Me
13. With a Child's Heart
14. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone
15. That's How Love Goes
16. Never Can Say Goodbye
17. Ain't That Peculiar
18. I Wanna Be Where You Are
 
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Mikky Dee

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The Night of the Concert (Part 3)

Memories of my favourite parts of the concert

Soooo.....as I said, we found our spot on the floor just in time for the medley of "I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save". I was really glad about it, too, because I wanted to see the dancing! Everyone was in sync - totally polished - but I could not take my eyes off Michael. He was "next level". Fast, sharp, effortless, lithe....absolutely flawless body lines...and all of that whilst singing the lead vocals. Seeing artists like this on television just does not compare to seeing them on stage, right there in front of one's own eyes. There's a tingle in the air.....as though it has its own electricity and everyone in the building is connected for those few minutes and hours by what they are experiencing together. It's so hard to describe. I thought of nothing else but just living in the moment, receiving everything that was being given out to me from the stage and capturing it in my head and heart forever.

"Superstition" was so, so GOOD. So funky. Funky guitar. We stomped on that wooden floor and clapped along to the beat and Michael sang the lyrics in a key lower than usual, for him, with a little touch of gravel in his voice. Oh, jeeeez, I loved it! After that, he went straight into the most beautiful solo performance of "Ben", which almost had me in tears. What a roller-coaster ride of emotions!

"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" was another FUNKY number. This song gave Jermaine and Jackie a chance to sing, as well as Michael. I noticed a real connection between the three of them, as they performed this song.....there were glances and smiles between them, as though they shared a secret of some kind. I have always believed that Michael's superior vocal talent was never more evident when he was a young child and a teenager, than when he sang with his brothers, or straight after them - "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" was certainly proof of that, for me (even though Jermaine and Jackie certainly did a wonderful job). Overall, the theatricality of the entire performance was thrilling......Michael showcased some robot moves and spins in the breakdowns which only brought MORE deafening screams from the audience! My ears actually rang for hours after I left the concert hall, but I felt it was probably a small price to pay, all things considered.

I know it doesn't seem fair that there is so much audio and video available from 1973 in Japan, yet nothing from Brisbane.
It's probably because audience members taking photographs or filming video was not allowed in many Australian venues in those times. Cameras were confiscated at the door and had to be collected after the event; but as I said earlier, I didn't own a camera until about six years later. As I remember, we didn't even keep our ticket stubs - they were taken at the door and placed in collection bins for counting, tallying and cross-checking purposes.


The quality of this footage from Japan is exactly what one might expect from so long ago, but hopefully, if you look at it through my eyes, you'll see what I saw from down on the wooden floor, twenty or so people deep and over to the left.

 
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JichaelMackson

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Thank for for this very detailed and well written thread! By including pictures and personal information it's almost as if I was there with you experiencing the same concert. I couldn't possibly have asked for more...

PS the setlist appears to be correct, It was more or less this bunch of songs that were performed throughout 1973. I love it, compared to the 2 forum concerts in 70 and 72 we now have confirmation of 3 almost completely different setlists in just 4 years of touring. Hopefully they added different songs to their repertoire for the following years as well.

I'm very pleasantly surprised to see Australians had such an overwhelming reaction to the J5 on stage, I knew "ben" was a smash hit in your country but I didn't realize they were actually that popular.

I think dozens and dozens of people should like this thread and comment on it, who knows perhaps Motown can be persuaded that there is still life left in the J5 to release concert video/audio to the public. These ancient concerts and memories are slowly but surely edging away from existence, we can't let that happen!

Posts like this are a treasure!
 

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People still love J5. Motown still talks about them and release things about them. I don't know. maybe because I know about J5 while others or younger newer fans not really into them. there are some younger fans who do love J5. so I don't know maybe it's depends on were you from etc.

I wouldn't say all j5 songs are outdated. some are pretty good still for today. maybe I just have a old soul. hahahaha who knows.

also j5 was a boy band. so like all boy band that are kids tend to break up and move on like their fans. they had adult fans but their target people were kids.
 

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Wow, that was a great read! Thank you so much for all the details.

I must confess that I get quite jealous lol when I see older fans describe what it was like to be a Michael Jackson fan from the very beginning. Unfortunately, I was born too late and I only really became a fan of Michael after his passing, so I never got to experience what it was like to Jackson 5 fan at the height of their fame or a Michael Jackson fan at the height of his fame. :cry:
 

NatureCriminal7896

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Jealous? lol. i don't get jealous at all. I like when older fans tell me stories all the way from the beginning. I love history (no pun) so hearing it make me get more knowledge and feel i was actually there.

I do wish we had a time machine to revisit some of good thing in some eras. i really think i have a old soul. i like anything vintage or before my time.
 

Mikky Dee

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Wow, that was a great read! Thank you so much for all the details.

I must confess that I get quite jealous lol when I see older fans describe what it was like to be a Michael Jackson fan from the very beginning. Unfortunately, I was born too late and I only really became a fan of Michael after his passing, so I never got to experience what it was like to Jackson 5 fan at the height of their fame or a Michael Jackson fan at the height of his fame. :cry:

Thank you so much. My aim in sharing my memories is to make readers feel as though they are actually there, transported back in time. I really, truly feel as though Michael has always been a part of me. It's as though we grew up together, you know? Leading parallel lives.

I usually find that young fans wrestle with the fact that there's hardly ever any pictorial evidence of the things that the older fans are trying to describe. The minutia of daily life is constantly documented through photos, videos, written anecdotes and so on, nowadays and shared with everyone on social media....but for people living through the sixties, seventies and eighties, that just wasn't possible. All we have are our memories and the opportunity to share them, through our stories.
 

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In Conclusion

"I Wanna Be Where You Are" was a wonderful song choice to finish the night. So smooth and jazzy. Michael was confident and so free with the ad libs.....just....groovy!!

YEP. I wanted to be where Michael was, too....and watch him perform/sing forever.


Sometimes I still muse about this Jackson Five concert and I am still incredulous about it. What an experience for my FIRST concert, on my FIRST real date with my FIRST real boyfriend! Something magical was ignited that night. Was it from the electricity I spoke of? Was it the emotional roller-coaster ride? Was it the bonding of souls in the room through their connection to the artists? It's hard to know. What I can tell you is that I married that boyfriend and we are still married.....44 years this December....and I still love Michael Jackson to the moon and back.
 
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Through reading your fabulous posts I had just one burning question in my mind. Did Mikke Dee get to marry the guy that bought her the J5 tickets...
I was hoping your stories wouldn't end on a cliffhanger and they didn't! You concluded your experience perfectly with the last post :)
Congratulations on a long and lasting marriage!
 

ozemouze

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Thank you so much for this fantastic read, completed with personal details, infos, pictures and connecting media, I very much enjoyed it, including the serial type storytelling. :D

...my only "complaint" is that I'm jealous as well... :blush: A J5 concert is a reason for time machines. :D

Through reading your fabulous posts I had just one burning question in my mind. Did Mikke Dee get to marry the guy that bought her the J5 tickets...
I was hoping your stories wouldn't end on a cliffhanger and they didn't! You concluded your experience perfectly with the last post :)
Congratulations on a long and lasting marriage!

Oh yes, I was rooting for a happy end in that regard as well. Congrats and thank you for the lovely story! :heart:
 

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Well i'm glad you enjoy the concert. not many fans are lucky enough to actually go to one. especially a J5 or Jacksons. you was very lucky.

and congrats on the marriage. not many people stay together that long. i don't know, i guess things are different then it was back then. most older couples of the other decades tend to stay together then people in these decades. like i said. i'm not sure why. maybe love doesn't exist anymore or people don't find their right one or maybe they just fall out of it. (yes i believe in that. i saw it lots of times.)

i don't know things are much different then were almost 50 years ago.

anyway great story and congrats.
 

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LMBO! younger/newer fans not agreeing everything older fans say? lol! how do they know if they wasn't born yet or wasn't even a fan until a type of era. i find that funny. BUT i do agree that even through many older tell us stories always isn't the truth. like they exist and see them a lot which makes this fandom hard to trust sometimes. it's really sad that we have them because older fans are suppose to be the ones who help younger/newer fans.

but i agree through, you can not trust everything people say all the time no matter who their are because the stories can change once different people get a hold to it.
especially nowadays since we have internet etc.
 

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Thank you so much. My aim in sharing my memories is to make readers feel as though they are actually there, transported back in time. I really, truly feel as though Michael has always been a part of me. It's as though we grew up together, you know? Leading parallel lives.

I usually find that young fans wrestle with the fact that there's hardly ever any pictorial evidence of the things that the older fans are trying to describe. The minutia of daily life is constantly documented through photos, videos, written anecdotes and so on, nowadays and shared with everyone on social media....but for people living through the sixties, seventies and eighties, that just wasn't possible. All we have are our memories and the opportunity to share them, through our stories.

The scarcity of authentic reports from back in the day makes yours even more memorable and important. Thanks for adding a piece of MJ history to out collective consciousness. :)
 

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The scarcity of authentic reports from back in the day makes yours even more memorable and important. Thanks for adding a piece of MJ history to out collective consciousness. :)

Sadly this comes from a a lack of interest. I have a feeling there is a divide between Jackson Motown fans and fans that started following since thriller.
What the fans from thriller onwards don't realize though is that MJ was already a fantastic live act in the 70s. I was the same 20 years ago, I'm sure many will turn their attention to the 70s if they'd get the chance to see proper footage of this era
 

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JichaelMackson;4291374 said:
Sadly this comes from a a lack of interest. I have a feeling there is a divide between Jackson Motown fans and fans that started following since thriller.
What the fans from thriller onwards don't realize though is that MJ was already a fantastic live act in the 70s. I was the same 20 years ago, I'm sure many will turn their attention to the 70s if they'd get the chance to see proper footage of this era

To be honest with you, and it’s a bit embarrassing for me to admit this here – when Thriller came out, I didn’t even know that MJ was the same person as the little dude that I had seen with the J5 on TV a couple of times when I was a kid. :D

I was brought up on rock music, so that Motown stuff never really registered with me. I had to grow older and expand my musical taste to discover all that. :)

And I’m very grateful to be able to read things like Mikky’s concert experience to get at least a glimpse of what it was like to live this at the time. :)
 

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Sadly this comes from a a lack of interest. I have a feeling there is a divide between Jackson Motown fans and fans that started following since thriller.
What the fans from thriller onwards don't realize though is that MJ was already a fantastic live act in the 70s. I was the same 20 years ago, I'm sure many will turn their attention to the 70s if they'd get the chance to see proper footage of this era

I'm a fan since Bad and I LOVE the J5. :D

The lack of footage is indeed a problem, but I don't think the situation is as tragic as you see it. All my fellow MJ fans are at least familiar with The Legend Continues and Moonwalker, both were great showcases for the J5 era as well. I remember watching snippets of the Goin' Back To Indiana concert and it was so energetic and so on fire like a rock concert, we were hooked immediately.

It's amazing to read first hand stories about these concerts from someone who was actually there. :)
 
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