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Princes Revolution, and the Jacksons with no Michael, soldier on despite fallen stars

A quantum of sympathy for the headless bands, please.The Revolution returns to Toronto for the first time in 30 years, sadly sans Prince, with a gig at the Phoenix on Sunday, May 21, one year and one month after its founder and frontman died of an opiate overdose at home in his fabled Paisley Park complex in Minneapolis in 2016. The Jacksons, a “4” rather than a “5” since the passing of youngest brother Michael in 2009, turn up at Rebel on June 9 on a 50th-anniversary tour that undoubtedly would have been an international sensation had Michael stuck around long enough to opt in, yet equally undoubtedly would not be even the object of mild, nostalgic curiosity it is today had Thriller never happened.Both tours invite a smirk of cynicism. Both tours are tinged with sadness. Both tours have a whiff of money changing hands for vaguely untoward reasons. And yet, both tours will meet with an appreciative audience in every city they visit and make a lot of people happy so . . . well . . . why wouldn’t a Prince-less Revolution or a Michael-less Jackson (4) do them? Could it be money is changing hands for some right reasons, too?Before we go on: yes, obviously both of these acts are in very different situations. The Revolution, officially co-credited with Prince on the covers of four albums — 1982’s 1999, 1984’s epochal Purple Rain, 1985’s Around the World in a Day and 1986’s Parade — but around in one form or another since 1979, disbanded in 1986 after one last “Hit ‘n’ Run” tour with the departed Purple One, who would go on to record and tour until his death with such slightly less tightly affiliated ensembles as the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl.Article Continued BelowThe eldest Jackson brothers, meanwhile, already had a family band going in 1964 when they coaxed a certain cherubic 6-year-old into joining what would soon after firm up into the original Jackson 5 lineup, and the Jacksons have remained an on-again/off-again family band, in a couple of fraternal permutations with or without Michael’s (or Marlon’s) participation, ever since. The remainder of the Jackson 5 — from left, Tito, Jackie, Marlon and Jermaine — play REBEL in Toronto next month.  (supplied photo)  In this handout provided by Paisley Park Studios, The Revolution performs in the Paisley Park Soundstage in Chanhassen, Minn., on April 20, 2017.  (Getty Images / GETTY IMAGES)  And before you say “Yes, but the Revolution going out on tour a year after Prince’s death 31 years after he broke up the band is way more crass than the Jacksons simply doing what they’ve always done together,” dig up an episode or two of the mercifully short-lived, unwatchably desperate “reality”-TV series The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty that popped up six months after Michael Jackson died. Everyone’s rollin’ about even on the “cash-in” front here, and the Revolution ain’t Prince’s family. Anyway, who is or isn’t “cashing in” in instances such as these will always be up for debate. Has AC/DC been “cashing in” on Bon Scott’s legacy on Back in Black and the 10 albums issued since? I would argue not. Has Queen been “cashing in” since it reformed and started touring again as Queen with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert filling in for Freddie Mercury on the mike? I would argue yes. Was Black Sabbath “cashing in” for all those years when Ronnie James Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne? Most would argue not, but the jury’s out on everything that happened when Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin were up in front.

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