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Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour

June 28, 2012

Opening NIght Review - Only Two Performances Remain!

By: Michelle Sisco
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Tomorrow I'm going to have to dig through my storage room to find my record player and my albums. I know Thriller is in there somewhere. That, or I may just have to break down and get on iTunes and download some Michael Jackson music....

It's late Friday night, and I just got home from the Atlanta premiere of Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour (presented by Cirque du Soleil) at Philips Arena. Sadly, the show is only here for two more performances: Saturday (June 30) at 8pm and Sunday (July 1) at 4pm. What an amazing experience...

There's a reason "Cirque du Soleil" doesn't come IN FRONT of Michael Jackson's name in this show's official title. This isn't "the next Cirque du Soleil" show to come to town. Instead, it's a tribute to Jackson, a Michael Jackson concert of sorts, complete with videos of the man himself - with his voice as the centerpiece of the production. The stunning costumes, acrobatics and imagery all help to tell a story. So make no mistake: this one's for fans of Michael Jackson's music.

Per the website, "This once-in-a-lifetime electrifying production combines Michael Jackson music and choreography with Cirque du Soleil creativity to give fans worldwide a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of the artistic genius who forever transformed global pop culture. Written and directed by Jamie King, the show includes more than 60 international dancers, musicians and acrobats."

For fans of Cirque (aerials), you'll get your fix with ""Human Nature," a simply gorgeous interpretation of the song - While a 3D version of the Neverland logo (Michael as a boy sitting on the crescent of the moon) is suspended above the stage, artists representing the constellations wearing multicolored LED costumes soar and float through the air. It's breathtaking. And immediately after the intermission, in "Swans - I just Can't Stop Loving You," two artists, appearing as a black and a white swan, emerge from a lake to perform a graceful aerial straps duo as Michael's voice fills the venue.  

One of my favorite numbers was "Beat It" - Michael Jackson's famous glove and penny lovers come to life as costumed characters themselves, later joined by an awesome electric cello (never heard one of those before) and electric guitar.

You'll hear all your favorites interpreted in the most creative of ways - amazing choreography with a plethora of dancers performing Michael's iconic movies in Smooth Criminal; Acrobats and dancers dressed as mummies performing through coffins and tombstones for Thriller; artists dressed like soldiers wearing robot suits with LED breastplates evoke Michael's spirit in "Will You Be There/ I'll Be There." And more. The LED lights on the costumes are just SO cool....

Soundbites of Jackson speaking, and a full screen video of him singing "I'll Be There" as a child almost brought me to tears.

And then they brought in the flags, and stunning, bright, colorful costumes, with a Mega Mix number  of "Can You Feel It/ Don't Stop Till You Get Enough/ Billie Jean/ Black or White". Everyone was on their feet. The flags were a tribute to nations and dance styles of the world. Acrobats used swiss rings to move from stage to sky. Now we were at a concert....

But it had to end. Man in the Mirror. Images on the screen of children in Africa. Make a change. And the song that so represented Michael himself and so sadly, immortalized him. It was a celebration of Michael's life, with every performer on stage....and in the end, fireworks. 

I left feeling charged and wanting to hear more music, and at the same time incredibly sad that I never got to see Jackson perform live. Forget the rest and remember his music.

And if you want to get out of this blazing summer heat - go see this show before it's too late.

Additional Thoughts:

I brought Drew, who is seven. He actually loved it. That said, I probably wouldn't pay the high ticket price to bring a child, unless they are already Michael Jackson fans, or are really music/show lovers. There are a couple of PG-13 scenes (scantily clad women, one on a pole - though the moves really are Cirque acrobatics more than anything). There were kids of all ages at the show, but not a huge number. Bring friends, bring a significant other....probably preferable to bringing the kids - but again mainly that's because of the ticket prices (you just want to be sure they'll appreciate it!). 

Drew's favorite part of the show was a one-legged dancer - a 26-year-old named Jean Sok (on the screen we thought he was a teenager). What an amazing performer. Drew noticed him before I did, and was in complete awe of his skills. The audience absolutely roared for him during the encore. Inspirational......to say the least.

Tickets: We sat in section 108. Unlike most Cirque shows, this one's not in a tent, and it's not really in the round. It's more like a traditional concert set up, though the stage does jut out to the middle of the arena. That said, the video screens, live band, and major acrobatic stunts take place on the front stage - which is a good distance from our section if you look at the map. If you can, try to get seats on the side - not further back than sections 105/114 (second level okay too). Or REALLY splurge and be a part of the action on the floor - but only if you can get in the front sections. That's a pricey ticket. CLICK HERE for ticket info and an arena map.

(Goldstar.com/Atlanta WAS offering half price tickets on the good seats earlier, but the site seems to be down, so you might want to check to see if the offer is still valid.)

CLICK HERE to read up on the show and see video on the official website.

This is definitely a splurge...but if you're a fan, who knows when you'll get an opportunity to see a performance like this again.

I was provided with tickets in return for this review. Opinions, however, are entirely my own.

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