The Jacksons, Sister Sledge and The Real Thing – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax

The Jacksons Sister Sledge The Real Thing Feat

By Steve Crabtree, June 2023

When people talk about the time The Jackson 5 came to Halifax in 1979, they think it’s crazy that a global phenomena of the music world could pick this little town as a stage to perform their hits and their dance routines on.

Well, fast forward 44 years, and they were back.  This time is was The Piece Hall welcoming The Jacksons to West Yorkshire, alongside two more legends of the disco scene.

With The Real Thing and Sister Sledge in tow, the legacy of disco and pop was about to be reignited in an 18th Century cloth hall courtyard. And us lucky enough to be there in our dancing shoes were about to be treated to an evening of hits, disco, and plenty to smile about.

The Real Thing The Piece Hall

“One huge disco”

As the gates opened and the crowd flocked in, it was 70s soul sensations The Real Thing who got the night going. The Liverpool band are often mistaken as American because of how strong their music was at a time when black soul and disco was only truly respected if it came across from the States and made it into the UK charts.  One of my favourite groups, it was a good job people came to Halifax with their dancing shoes on. Because as soon as they stepped on stage, we were transported back to a time when disco ruled the airwaves.

‘Can’t Get By Without You’ and ‘Whenever You Want My Love’ were real mood setters for the night. And they followed that up with ‘You To Me Are Everything’. The entire Piece Hall couldn’t help singing along to that one, before ‘Can You Feel The Force’ launched everyone into a dancing frenzy. The surviving members of The Real Thing are just as talented now as they always were. And I think there were a few people around who didn’t realise how much of their back catalogue they knew.

For me, it was feeling a bit like it did when Nile Rodgers performed here last year. The Piece Hall had become one huge disco on this warm, sunny Saturday night.

Sister Sledge The Piece Hall

“Lively vibe”

Philadelphia’s Sister Sledge were next to take to the stage. Featuring original sister Debbie Sledge, and flanked with other family members they emerged dressed in tight, red PVC cat suits. And they certainly kept the lively vibe going. Launching in to ‘We Are Family’ and ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’, the crowd loved their performance. And for me, for a few minutes, I believed I was the greatest dancer. However, the video I watched back later proved that, indeed, I’m not.

Sister Sledge gave us one disco anthem after another. ’Lost in Music’ and ‘Thinking of You’ made sure we were fully immersed in the nostalgia. Sadly for me, they only played a very scaled down and shortened version of ‘Frankie’ – a song I loved as a 7 year old on its release, and the first time I’d heard of Sister Sledge. But when they pulled out ‘All American Girls’ and ‘Pretty Baby’ I’d soon forgotten about that.

What a great couple of acts so far, still giving audiences the best enjoyment over 50 years on.

But many people had bought tickets for the headline act. The Jacksons, and their timeless hits and infectious energy were about to be unleashed onto an already thrilled audience. We were about to find out that the spirit of disco and pop was still alive and thriving.

The Jacksons Sister Sledge The Real Thing 2

“Synchronicity and stage presence”

As the sun began to set, the mood in the air reached its peak. And the crowd erupted into cheers as the legendary Jacksons took to the stage. Tito, Marlon, and Jackie Jackson. Three of the iconic siblings of The Jacksons who revolutionised the music industry, wasted no time in launching into the evergreen classic ‘Can You Feel It,’ Halifax was further transported back through that golden era of disco.

They may have toned down their outfits, but the brothers’ synchronicity and stage presence were as remarkable as ever. They reminded us why The Jacksons are considered one of the greatest acts in music history. Hits such as ‘Blame It on the Boogie’, ‘Shake Your Body’, and ‘I Want You Back’ had the entire crowd dancing and singing along throughout the whole show.

‘Show You The Way To Go’ slowed the dancing down a little. The funky bass of ‘Lovely One’ got us going again. Then boom! They hit us with a medley of huge ones. We got ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, and ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’. ‘I’ll Be There’ went down well, and I can tell you that if you weren’t there on Saturday night, you missed out.

The feel-good factor of this one was so high. And every inch of that courtyard in The Piece Hall had energy and smiles all over it.

The Jacksons Sister Sledge The Real Thing 4

“Still as cool, and still as infectious”

Yet again, Halifax had been given another sensational show. We’d been served up a triple treat of soul, disco and Motown tonight, by three of the best that there is.

There was a reason these bands used to get people up, dancing, enjoying life and enjoying music when they were in their pomp. And tonight, they were doing it again in front of our very eyes.  Still as exciting, still as cool, and still as infectious. The combination of legendary artists, electrifying performances, and an enthusiastic crowd created another memorable night in the Live At The Piece Hall season.

Me? I went home and added a few more songs to the playlist for the night-do of my wedding.

Images: Cuffe & Taylor/The Piece Hall


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