I arrived to The Immortal World Tour with my adorable wife and some shifting expectations of something “Michael.” Cirque Du Soleil surpassed all of my assumptions, painting a decadent depiction of Michael Jackson’s life, from The Jackson Five to Neverland. The show employed fantastical props, costumes and acrobatic dancers from around the world. The stage itself was near sentient, moving, morphing and surprising the audience in every scene. Even Bubbles, Michael’s chimp, made several appearances.
There were many notable players in the Cirque’s display of aberrations and anomalies. A bikini-clad cellist, a snake-skinned contortionist crawling from the pages of a gigantic book, zombie brides shaking bones to “Thriller” and winged-bat dancers with crimson-electric eyes were present, to name a few. Most importantly was a silver-sequined mime, whose pop-and-lock, free-flowing style lead us through the production’s progression. One player even began break dancing on crutches, showing pride in his talented body in spite of a missing leg; this crutch-break spectacle inspired the audience to turbulent applause, winning everyone’s affection with his display of courage and fortitude.
The music itself was a vivid composition, blending over 20 of Michael’s best tracks, from “Billy Jean” to “Man in the Mirror,” into one homogeneous archive. Predictably, several “backward slides” were performed. This technique, more famously dubbed “the Moonwalk” by MJ fans, achieved that eye-bending sense of drifting without effort that Michael was so notorious for.
My favorite scenes were “Smooth Criminal,” which portrayed Film Noir style with over a dozen pseudo ‘40s gangsters. Trench coats flared and top hats tilted in this jive-like depiction of one of my favorite Jackson songs. In its culmination, a line of men holding massive prop newspapers dangled from solemn lamp posts 10 feet above the stage. The star of this scene was a ruby-haired belle with a Tommy gun. As the song shifted to the seductive “Dangerous,” she was stripped of her MJ suit, leaving her in a glittering-near-nothing costume to display the most athletic and dazzling pole dance I’ve witnessed this side of Vegas.
The show reached its emotional apogee during an intense and disturbing rendition of “They Don’t Care About Us.” Shoulder pad-clad soldiers marched through this song, as it tackled the violence and selfishness that plagues our world. The culminating theme of the show is parallel to Michael’s lifelong expressions of equality, unity, love for mankind and non-violence. The King of Pop was truly the Gandhi of the lyrical world.
I left the Honda Center in an introspective reverie, contemplating the things that only true art have the ability to bestir. This article would be fruitless, however, if I did not have the pleasure to tell the reader that The Immortal World Tour is returning to the area. Its next showing will be in Los Angeles Aug. 14, this year. Tickets can be purchased now at http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/michael-jackson-tour/default.aspx. Do not miss this awe-filled accolade to one of history’s finest musicians, “The Gloved One,” “The King of Pop,” “Wacko Jacko,” the great Michael Joseph Jackson!