Live Reviews — September 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

LIVE REVIEW: Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

by
©2011 Cirque-Jackson I.P., LLC

Photo: OSA Images | Costumes: Zaldy Goco | © 2011 Cirque-Jackson I.P., LLC

Cirque du Soleil: Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour
Asia-World Arena, Hong Kong
Reviewed by: Scott Murphy

 

It’s not quite Cirque du Soleil as you know it. Nor is it the best of Michael Jackson.

Instead, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour is a unique, surprising and at times, thrilling hybrid. But you also can’t help feeling this rendition is a bid for mass acceptance.

The start of the show was underwhelming with a solitary man front and center, which then gave way to an undeniably thrilling moment: the unveiling of a multi-screened extravaganza featuring visuals of Michael Jackson during all phases of his career.

From that moment onwards, the show never let up. Definitely creative, it’s a tribute to choreographer Jamie King’s imagination.

There were plenty of highlights. It can’t be emphasized enough that the multi-media images were a feast for the eyes and ears. Many of the songs appeared to have new mixes, as if rare studio tracks were remixed to give new context to the singer’s varied recordings from childhood right on up to his latter years.

There were several jaw-dropping sequences involving dancers sporting electronic lights which were dazzling in the dark. Zombie dancers during “Thriller” were impressive, even if one has already seen the numerous YouTube impressions. The appearance of dancers from a variety of racial backgrounds was also a nice touch, as was a one-legged Japanese dancer, who represented a triumph over adversity and Jackson’s love of all humanity: his appearance garnered one of the biggest rounds of applause during the evening.

But, for those used to Soleil’s trademark awe-inspiring trapeze theatrics, there wasn’t a lot to see. A few performers swung down from the rafters of the arena during “Human Nature” and made appearances during a couple other sequences, but that was about it.

And despite the claim that 70 percent of the set list consisted of Jackson’s number one hits, it seemed as though much of the material was made up of his sappier ballads. So the show—though impressive and mindblowing at times with its 60 performers and 26 scenes—seemed watered down in a bid to reach an all-ages mass audience.

It made one think that Soleil could give the treatment to a wide range of acts. Why not take on Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Black Sabbath or AC/DC?

It’s a creative experiment, and though this circus tribute to Jackson’s life and message hits home from time to time, it also seems gimmicky. It’s not Cirque du Soleil as people have come to know it, nor is it Jackson at his best. Instead, it’s a hybrid that amazes sometimes, misfires a lot and leaves one longing for Jackson’s artistry and Cirque doing what they do best.

Australian tour dates and details below.

 

AUSTRALIAN TOUR

Sydney
From September 26 to 29 
Allphones Arena
Tickets

Brisbane
From October 02 to 06
Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Tickets

Melbourne
From October 09 to 13
Rod Laver Arena
Tickets

Adelaide
From October 15 to 17
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Tickets