Triumph Tour

The Triumph Tour was a concert tour by the Jacksons, covering the United States and Canada from July 8 to September 26, 1981. The tour grossed a total of $5.5 million, setting a record breaking four sold out concerts in Los Angeles.[2]

Triumph Tour
Tour by the Jacksons
Associated albumTriumph (1980)
Off the Wall (1979)
Start dateJuly 8, 1981
End dateSeptember 26, 1981
No. of shows44
Box officeUS $5.5 million
($15.47 million in 2019 dollars)[1]
the Jacksons concert chronology


By 1981, the Jacksons had regained success as a platinum-selling recording group with two albums, Destiny (1978) and Triumph (1980). Additionally, lead singer Michael Jackson was in the final stages of promoting his 1979 multi-platinum album, Off the Wall. This tour allowed Michael to bring in new show production ideas more to his liking. Inspired by Earth, Wind & Fire's live shows, Michael created the costumes and designed the stage. He and his brothers also collaborated on an intro that signaled similarities to their "Can You Feel It" music video. As it had been for many years, the choreography was done by Michael, Jackie and Marlon Jackson. The shows included magical elements designed by Doug Henning—for example, Michael disappearing in smoke during "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough".[3][4][5]

Touring tenureEdit

The Triumph Tour began in Memphis, Tennessee and ended with a sold-out week of shows in Los Angeles. Each show earned highly positive reviews, in part due to Michael's leadership and showmanship. His brothers also earned praise, particularly for Randy's and Tito's musicality, and Marlon's dance ability. The tour marked the last truly integrated group effort, as Michael's solo career would soon eclipse his success with his brothers. The tour was so well-received and popular that Epic had the brothers record a variety of shows, and compile them for an upcoming live release. It's rumored that the tracks were recorded during stops in Memphis, New York City, Buffalo and Providence. The live album, The Jacksons Live!, came out in the winter of 1981, and went gold in its initial run. Current sales are two million.

After the tour ended, Michael went back to record Thriller, his follow-up to Off the Wall (1979). It would be three years before the Jacksons would go back on the road again. Rolling Stone later named the Triumph Tour one of the best 25 tours between 1967 and 1987. To showcase the success of the Triumph Tour, Michael Jackson commented that it was their first show without any marginal material. After the Triumph tour, Michael patterned the Victory Tour (1984) and his Bad World Tour (1987–1989).


The stage was dark and had three groups of strobe lights, all of them containing different colors of lights, facing the stage diagonally. The stage also had a spotlight that followed the main performers. In addition to the lighting, the musicians played their instruments on fixtures (the horn section to the left of the stage, the drums to the center, and keyboards to the right; with the exception of the guitarists and Randy Jackson who played the piano, keyboards, and assorted percussion).

Opening actEdit

Set listEdit


  • The intro to "Can You Feel It" was inspired by the music video for the song.
  • The song "Walk Right Now" was removed from the setlist around August, making it one of the rarest songs to track down.
  • In early shows, "This Place Hotel" didn't have an explosion and was instead used in "Walk Right Now"

Tour datesEdit

Date City Country Venue Revenue
North America[8][9][10]
July 8, 1981 Memphis United States Mid-South Coliseum $118,528
July 10, 1981 Oklahoma City MCC Arena
July 11, 1981 Dallas Reunion Arena $153,252
July 12, 1981 Houston The Summit
July 15, 1981 San Antonio HemisFair Arena
July 17, 1981 Baton Rouge Riverside Centroplex Arena
July 18, 1981 Mobile Mobile Municipal Auditorium
July 24, 1981 Greensboro Greensboro Coliseum
July 25, 1981 Charlotte Charlotte Coliseum
July 26, 1981 Hampton Hampton Coliseum
July 28, 1981 Lakeland Lakeland Civic Center $107,000
July 31, 1981 Landover Capital Centre
August 1, 1981
August 2, 1981 Buffalo Buffalo Memorial Auditorium $115,000
August 4, 1981 Montreal Canada Montreal Forum
August 5, 1981 Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens
August 7, 1981 Uniondale United States Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
August 8, 1981 Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum $166,038
August 9, 1981 Richfield Township The Coliseum at Richfield
August 12, 1981 Atlanta Omni Coliseum $163,773
August 13, 1981 Pittsburgh Civic Arena
August 14, 1981 Philadelphia Spectrum $224,881
August 15, 1981 Hartford Hartford Civic Center $121,490
August 16, 1981 Providence Providence Civic Center $146,000
August 18, 1981 New York City Madison Square Garden
August 19, 1981
August 21, 1981 Detroit Joe Louis Arena
August 22, 1981 Indianapolis Market Square Arena
August 23, 1981 Dayton UD Arena
August 26, 1981 Milwaukee MECCA Arena
August 28, 1981 Chicago Chicago Stadium
August 29, 1981 Lexington Rupp Arena
September 1, 1981 Kansas City Kemper Arena
September 2, 1981 St. Louis Checkerdome
September 3, 1981 Denver McNichols Sports Arena
September 6, 1981 Winchester Las Vegas Convention Center
September 8, 1981 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
September 10, 1981 Daly City Cow Palace
September 15, 1981 Tempe ASU Activity Center
September 18, 1981 Inglewood The Forum
September 19, 1981
September 22, 1981 Oakland Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena $149,633
September 25, 1981 Inglewood The Forum $633,029
September 26, 1981
TOTAL $2,098,624


The Jackson 5
  • David Williams – guitar
  • Bill Wolfer – synthesizer
  • Mike McKinney – bass
  • Jonathan Moffett – drums
  • Wesley Phillips, Cloris Grimes, Alan (Funt) Prater, Roderick (Mac) McMorris – horns (East Coast Horns)


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "Triumph Tour (1981)". Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Doug Henning Michael Jackson -wind Triumph
  4. ^ Michael Jackson - Off the Wall[dead link]
  5. ^ Michael Jackson biography: The Jacksons years[dead link]
  6. ^ Searl, Hanford (September 5, 1981). "Concert Review: Jackson Sellout". Billboard. p. 44.
  7. ^ Eder, Bruce (November 1981). "The Jacksons Live: All Music Review".
  8. ^ "It's a Jacksons' Summer! They're taking off again". Billboard. New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. 93: 28–29. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Jacksons - Triumph Tour (1981)". The Michael Jackson Fan Club. June 2013. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  10. ^ Ralston, Jeannie (July 29, 1981). "The Jacksons: All Eyes Were on Michael Last Night". Evening Independent. 74 (230). St. Petersburg, Florida: Times Publishing Company. p. 8B. Retrieved September 3, 2016.