Jackson 5 – Keep On Dancing (Apocalypse Sound AS181)

Keep On Dancing (Apocalypse Sound AS181)

Rainbow Theatre, London, England – February 6th, 1979

Dancing Machine, Things I Do For You, Ben, Keep On Dancing, I Want You Back / ABC / The Love You Save, I’ll Be There, Enjoy Yourself, Destiny, Show You The Way To Go, All Night Dancin’, Blame It On The Boogie

“The Jacksons” TV Show, 1977

Opening Credits, The Jacksons – Dance, Michael Jackson – Come On Get Happy, Sonny And Cher parody, The Jacksons – coconut, The Jacksons & Carol O’Connor – Ellington medley (Run For Your Lives!), Ad for Sonny and Cher Show, The Jacksons – Show You The Way To Go

Keep On Dancing produces two interesting documents from the waning days of the Jackson Five.  In the late seventies they were called the Jacksons for contractual purposes and were trying to hang on to their popularity they had in the early part of the decade.

While this may be a look at their decline for many artists, this was a good time for them.  The first half of the disc contains the television broadcast of the February 1979 Rainbow Theatre performance.  This is near the beginning of their Destiny tour.  The album was a hit along with the single “Blame It On The Boogie.”

The Rainbow contains the complete set performed that evening with the emphasis upon the new material.  It is a multi-camera pro-shot affair with close ups and dramatic slow motion shots meant to emphasize the excitement of the performance.  And for that it does convey just how potent an entertaining group the Jacksons were.  Their engagement with the audience is unparalleled as the copious shots of audience reaction show. 

This footage also serves as a fitting close to their work in the seventies.  Although the Jacksons would continue and even tour with Michael on the Victory tour, they would soon be overshadowed by Michael’s solo career.  Off The Wall, his first solo hit, had already been recorded and songs from that album would be incorporated into the live set on the second leg.  

The second half of the disc produces an episode of “The Jacksons,” their very own variety show.  This episode aired on CBS on January 16th, 1977 with Carroll O’Connor, famous for his role of Archie Bunker on “All In The Family.” 

The songs and dance routines are great, but watching it is like seeing a relic from another time.  Even by the late seventies the half hour variety show was a dated format.  This episode follows the same cliches established by “The Osmonds” et al:  musical routines with intermittent lame comedy skits ending with a big song and dance number with the guest star.  Apocalypse Sound have produced several great Michael Jackson related DVDs since his passing this past June and Keep On Dancing is an excellent glimpse into some fascinating performances.   

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