It'll be a celebration of all things Jackson on Friday when Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon descend on Northwest Indiana.
The long-awaited homecoming will feature the Jackson brothers performing the second show of their 16-city Unity Tour at 8 p.m. Friday at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. They'll receive keys to the city of Gary from Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson at 12:30 p.m. at 2300 Jackson St., their Gary boyhood home.
"We're really looking forward to coming back there," Jackie Jackson said during a Thursday interview with The Times from The Jacksons' first tour stop in Rama, Ontario, Canada. "We'll say hi to the mayor and see all the fans and our friends, and we just hope to have a great celebration there.
"That's where it all started, from working in that small house at 2300 Jackson St. and just performing every single day doing something that we love to do. We were playing at so many different talent shows and rehearsing while (other) kids were watching from outside the window of our little house. So, to come back and do a show for everyone back there, I can't wait."
The last time The Jacksons performed in the Chicago area was during The Victory Tour in 1984 at Comiskey Park, where the four and brother Michael delivered Jackson 5 hits, family tunes and some of Michael's solo work.
"That Victory Tour was a stadium tour. This tour is more like a theater tour. We haven't done that in a long time," he said, adding this is just a warm-up to another extensive tour.
"After that we come home and finish recording the new album and then go out on a major tour around the world."
Jackson said the album will feature five new original songs. "And the rest are going to be remixes of our old songs."
Jackson said the brothers felt this was the perfect time to take a show on the road.
"All of our fans around the world wanted us to do it first of all," he said, adding the shows are dedicated to Michael, who died June 25, 2009.
"He was part of our legacy and the history of our music. We wanted to dedicate this show to him. He's in spirit every night. It means a lot to us. When you lose a sibling, for anyone, it's always very sad. And Michael wasn't just our brother. He was everybody's brother around the world. They loved him around the world. There's not a day that goes by that we don't think of him. Especially when we're doing these songs on stage."
Jackie Jackson had great praise for the family's longtime admirers.
"I'd like to thank all the fans around the world and in Gary because without them, this wouldn't be possible."