Cirque du Soleil’s "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour"
Michael Jackson’s death came amid plans for what was to be the most ambitious concert series of his career. After his death, the Jackson estate released ’This Is It,’ a documentary of Jackson’s final days. But Cirque du Soleil’s "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" is the showstopping tribute fans have been awaiting since the King of Pop’s passing.
Tracing the complex elements of Jackson’s psyche through music, "Immortal" captured the heart and soul of the music in a breathtaking way. Fears that the show would amount to acrobatic routines set to a perfunctory series of greatest hits turned out to be entirely unfounded.
More Lewis Carol-style whimsy than straight-forward narrative, the audience journeys through scenes of joy, fear, sadness, and redemption in a manner surprisingly consistent with Jackson’s artistic output. Signature choreography is coupled with eye-popping acrobatic feats and inventive visuals to breathe life into songs awaiting such treatment.
"Human Nature" was a standout as aerial hoop artists performed in lighted costumes against a galaxial backdrop, perfectly encompassing the ambiance and ethereal qualities of the song. The little-known tour-de-force "Is It Scary" kicked off a stunning contortionist segment as the villain literally turned the pages of Jackson’s fear, leading to a Steven King inspired rendition of "Thriller." A world-class pole dancing number ending the film-noir scene proved a highlight to the show’s audience on May 17 at the DCU Center, who erupted into applause.
The most affecting moments came during Jackson’s political songs. The horrifying imagery used in "They Don’t Care about Us," along with a previously banned Jackson video segment, led into some of the show’s richest symbolic visuals. Coupled with a reverent "Earth Song," the heart of Jackson’s work has never been captured in tribute as effectively.
Audience members itching to stand up and dance were invited to do so as a final routine set to an overwhelming medley whizzed through the highlights of Jackson’s career before ending the evening on a triumphant note of homage. A glance around the arena found individuals in MJ apparel smiling, singing, and most importantly, dancing along to Jackson’s most loved tunes.