has no illusions about what she should do when she gets on stage at the Trump Plaza Casino Hotel tomorrow night.
"The audience wants to hear Pointer Sisters hits and that is what we give them," said Anita, the second-eldest of the four sisters who, as solo acts or in various group configurations, were dance-song icons of the late 1970s and early 1980s. "I like singing our hits, the familiar songs people react to." Pointer was speaking from her home in Los Angeles, where she settled when the sisters reached the peak of their fame. Her older sister, Ruth, and Ruth's daughter, Issa, from Ruth's first marriage to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards, live in Massachusetts. The three are today's Pointer Sisters.
"We never miss a concert together, just that we choose to live on opposite coasts," said Anita. "We each like the weather where we are, so everyone is happy."
Like every singing group, family or not, the Pointers have had their traumas over the years. Younger sisters Bonnie and June started performing together in the late 1960s. Then Anita and Ruth joined them, with Bonnie peeling off as a solo act in the late 1970s, and June wanting to raise a family.
June returned in 1978, just in time for the Pointers' first Top 10 hit, "Fire," a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song. Issa replaced June in the trio in 2004. June died last year of lung cancer.
"I think it was actually easier working with family in a way," said Anita, reflecting on the group's history.
"There are so many compromises you have to make in music that it is important that we loved each other and cared for each other. If you just have band members, you get rid of them. Here, we had to face our disputes and our problems and learn how to get over them."
The Pointers grew up in Oakland, Calif., the daughters - they also have two older brothers - of a minister and his strict religious wife. When one of the girls brought home an Elvis Presley record, they feared their mom would throw it out.
But she loved "Crying in the Chapel" and ended up encouraging their musical careers.
"I definitely wanted to be Aretha [Franklin], or Dionne [Warwick], or someone from Motown," said Anita.
"I would cry to the songs and sing them in my bedroom. I wanted to do it so bad, but I never thought it would happen. It is still a dream."
The Pointers still do a big tour of Europe every year, along with their U.S. dates.
They have twice played the Night of the Proms mega festival in Europe, where classical acts team with pop groups and singers, and also with the Dallas Symphony.
"We like everything. We do country songs and R&B. We were raised on gospel music and classical," said Anita. "Now performing is just fun."
Anita will be 60 next month and is pleased with the amount of work she does. Mostly, though, she can't believe how fast the time has gone.
"We do this and we take a break until February, then there are a few shows every month. It is plenty for me," she said. "I am very, very blessed that I became what I wanted to be. It seems like not so long ago we were really hot, but I'm glad we are able to continue just as we are. My parents would love that we are still together." *
Trump Plaza, Boardwalk and Mississippi Avenue, 9 p.m. tomorrow, $50, 609-441-6000, www.trumpplaza.com.