While Live is far from a complete disappointment, it is sort of sad that the sole representative of the original Jackson 5 (J5) lineup performing in front of an adoring audience doesn't even contain their earliest and biggest hits. With that in mind, what is included isn't all that bad and is more or less a reflection of what Michael, Jermaine, Jackie, Randy and Tito were concurrently singing in their sets. As the track list reveals, the program focuses as much (if not more) on Michael and Jermaine's non-J5 platters as it does the group's. By the spring of 1974 -- when this show was documented at the Koseinenkin Hall in Osaka, Japan -- the J5 had already issued Skywriter (1973) -- their seventh long-player -- although the most current band material comes in the form of an uneventful "Lookin' Through the Windows." They delve into the Motown archives for covers of Rare Earth's "We're Gonna Have a Good Time," Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and an incendiary workout of the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone." They don't entirely abandon their back catalog as "Never Can Say Goodbye" is given an assertive overhaul. Michael is at his best on "I Want to Be Where You Are," as well as "Got to Be There" and the rodent ode "Ben" -- which gets a phenomenal response. Jermaine likewise takes the spotlight, holding his own (so to speak) on "That's How Love Goes," the revamps of Shep the Limelites' classic "Daddy's Home" and Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar." Until recordings surface of the J5 in their youthful prime circa 1969 to 1971, Live will have to suffice for fans who want to experience the phenomenon from which Michael Jackson's unparalleled career was launched. In 2004, Hip-O Select released the contents as Live in Japan -- making them available domestically in North America for the first time, albeit in a limited edition of 5,000 copies. Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide
- Rock, R&B
- R&B/Soul, Dance, Hip-Hop/Urban
- Soul, Disco, Urban, Philly Soul, Smooth Soul
- February 1, 2008
- The Jacksons
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