This picture features Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie in action.
Other artists who performed that year at the Summerfest were: Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield and B.B. King. Tickets cost only 1 dollar.
Here’s an article through the eyes and ears of two young girls (Milwaukee Star, July 23rd 1971):
J5: ‘Rainbow lightning’
Brenda Birdwell and Diane Greenlee, aged 15 and 14, respectively, are juniors at Riverside high school and Jackson 5 fans. They volunteered to review for the Starthe top summer event for Black Milwaukee teens: The Jackson 5’s concert at Summerfest, July 22.
Brenda was one of the 20 inner city high school students selected to participate in the Urban Journalism Workshop at UWM from June 21 to July 16. Jointly funded by the Milwaukee Journal and the Newspaper Fund, inc., of the Wall Street Journal, the workshop gave the inner city teens journalism experience and contacts. One of those contacts, a tour of the Star, led to Brenda and Diane’s article.
The Star is pleased to print this teen review and invites news and opinions from other Black Milwaukee teens.
By BRENDA BIRDWELL and DIANA GREENLEE
The Time: Thursday, July 22, 8:45 p.m.
The Place: Summerfest, Milwaukee’s nationally known festival of Summer fun.
The People: An estimated 80,000, all waiting breathlessly, eyes glued to the stage.
Who would cause 80,000 people to be on the edge of near hysteria? Who could cause the day, July 22, to be burned forever smoking in the minds of all gathered here? Who could cause such carefree display of love, admiration and just plain fever in the eyes and hearts of thousands?
Only one group could do it. Pulling heart strings with their crooning romantic ballads. Sending legs moving and voices screaming with slick paced groovin’ steps and their youthful voices. The Jackson Five!
Stepping on stage like a flash of rainbow lightning! Allowing no one time to catch their breath, they exploded with all the zest and power of their youthfulness.
The flash of yellow, black, and orange that dashed across the stage was none other than Michael Jackson. Leading his brothers (only the way Michael could) as he dipped and dived into such favorites as “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” “I Want You Back,” and “Mama’s Pearl,” with a loud cheer supplied by the crowd. Jackie streaked across the stage in a spark of blue. His manliness visible in his blue shirt opened at chest level and his skin tight striped pants. Drawing screams of “RIGHT ON” with the phrase, “Fine Foxes In Milwaukee.” Though Jackie never sang the lead, you couldn’t miss him as he led Michael and Marlon in their fast paced dancing (one of the J5’s trademarks).
Marlon Jackson, just as alive as Michael, as he was told to “be himself,” captured every heart with his “Get Down, Right On Footwork.” His brown jumpsuit, jumping in your eye as he did “his thing” with special delight to the crowd.
Tito Jackson had you fingers popping and some sisters in a frenzy with a soul stirring solo on “Going Back to Indiana,” with his yellow outfit giving off the heat of the J5.
The J5 were like the calm after a storm when Jermaine Jackson got hold of the mike. His mellow rendering voice slipped through pleasers such as “She’s good,” “I Found That Girl,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” with the soothing power of sleep after hard work.
And baby I know no one missed the dude in the pink jumpsuit (Ronnie Rancifer, a cousin) who pimped from his organ, and showed the crown how funky his chicken really was during the number, “Funky Chicken.” His erratic steps sent voices high into the air with praise. While Johnnie Jackson supplied the rhythmic pounding beat which stirred the primitive nature in all.
Sisters and brothers, to tell all what happened that night would take the whole paper. You just had to be there to dig it! For words can’t explain the feeling that spread through the crown that super, soulful summer night. “Maybe Tomorrow” they sang, and maybe they’ll be back. “I’ll Be There,” said Michael softly and Milwaukee will too. “Never Can Say Goodbye” they harmonized so gently and neither could the crowd.