Michael’s death rocked our world. The trial still continues on but, the legend of a man who became a world wide phenomenon, who asked us to think more about the world we live in, who seemed to capture every stroke of musical genius, still lives on in this magical and electrifying performance. Last night, I was fortunate enough to check out Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. I have to preface this article by saying that I had two friends in the show and I played very proud papa in the audience all night long. But, let’s talk about the show!
When the show first began, five “Fanatics” were introduced to us. All dressed in various MJ garb, the crew was on their way to try and find Neverland. Their opening routine with a screen that depicted them running along rooftops and subway cars was quite extraordinary. And then, a mime was revealed. Played by Salah Benlemqawanssa, the mime took us to the gates of Neverland, awaking the bronze statues outside and beginning the journey we were all about to explore. As the song “Childhood” rings out through the area, a hot air balloon rises above the crowd with a mechanical MJ child inside the basket. What amazed me the most was a giant window that was formed with a child peering through the glass.
Behind the gates of Neverland, we see Michael’s Giving Tree which “is the wellspring of his creativity.” Suddenly, creatures came from out of the tree and began doing amazing tribal-like dances to “Wanna Be Starting Something.” The costume detail was amazing and the percussionist on congas was also great! The acrobatics of hanging off the tree in different formations was stunning and really showed off the tip of the iceberg on what Cirque Du Soleil was about to hand the entire arena.
Writer and director Jamie King along with the rest of the Cirque team really pulled out all the stops to make this production an imagination run wild. In traditional stage concert Jamie King fashion, the set itself told it’s own story. From moving screens to set pieces that had images projected on them to make them feel 3D, nothing was left out. One of my favorite moments was when the original opening for “Smooth Criminal” played over the multiple screens while four dancers were swaying back and forth, perched on lamp posts and reading the newspaper, all the calm before the storm that was the impecable dance routine.
The dancing was obviously a major highlight which paid enormous homage to the King of Pop but the show wasn’t lacking in the usual Cirque acrobatics either. Anna Melnikova performed a stunning pole dance routine to “Dangerous” which literally had my jaw on the floor. I couldn’t believe some of the tricks she pulled. As well, the lizard contortionist, performed by Baaska Enkhbaatar was outstanding. There were some hoop artists that were also all lit up like constellations as a giant Michael as a young boy was suspended behind them on a crescent moon (seen above.) Absolutely brilliant. But, my two favorite acrobatic acts were by far the black and white swan aerial act performed by Luba Kazantseva and Igor Zaripov and the amazing six men on rings which kicked off the Immortal Megamix.
From the lights, to the music and the everything in between, this show is sure to please Michael Jackson fans new and old. We may not have been able to experience the This Is It tour to its capacity, but this show is a great alternative, allowing MJ’s legacy to live on for years to come. I would highly recommend checking this show out when it comes through your city or prepare to make the trek to Las Vegas to see the show when it begins it’s residence there. Well worth it indeed. Check out some footage of the show in the video below. Trust me though, it doesn’t do the show justice.