Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour

Please be seated for the celebration of the life of Michael Jackson, The Late King of Pop.

It’s the most sensational wake. If you can get a ticket – it’s the number one concert in the world. A two-hour warm-up tribute for a superstar who will never appear on stage again. The opening, each set, every song had a space, a moment when, stage-left, stage-right, centre, Michael would have been lifted, propelled or lowered in. But he was teasing us into ever more adulation and applause underlining that we’d never see his like again.  

But we’ve seen Michael Jackson resurrected, Immortal and in Vegas!

Michael Jackson: The Immortal is a game-changer for Cirque du Soleil

Here’s the travel blog of Alan Greenhalgh and his long weekend in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas by Alan Greenhalgh

Las Vegas by Alan Greenhalgh

Ushered out of cocktails at the divine Wynn Las Vegas  into the longest black limo for the four-mile-ride down the brightest street in the world – the ‘Strip’,  Las Vegas Boulevard sets the scene for the greatest show on earth –  Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. 

Alan Greenhalgh Limo in Las Vegas

Alan Greenhalgh ‘arriving in style’

Purring past the Palazzo, The Venetian, the pink birds of the Flamingo, billboards for Celine’s back at Caesars Palace, the thundering fountains of the Bellagio and the comic cut-outs of New York New York opposite the lion of the MGM Grand and up to The Mix on the 54th floor of the Mandalay Bay for a full on view of the glittering landscape. A breath taken before being flung into a glass elevator hurling down into the carpark-like space that is the basement events centre at the Mandalay. Is this where Michael is interred? Not for long.

Immortal will travel the world for at least three years but won’t return to Las Vegas. A completely different Michael Jackson production will be created and presented at the Mandalay Bay Theater starting in 2013.

Check Immortal show dates here.

I’d completely forgotten that it’s Cirque du Soleil presenting Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour and thankfully they keep the acrobatics to a minimum and focus on the music – over 30 of his songs – the dance and iconic moments in the remarkably humane life of a musical genius. Michael was a fan of Cirque du Soleil and had brought his family to several of the shows – and sometimes it felt his spirit was hovering in the wings. But when the five ‘clowns’ come on in various MJ guises I held my breath, please don’t be the pegs on which this show is hung out to dry. It’s quickly clear they are the Fanatics, fans just like us, and bent on paying tribute at the gates of Neverland in the shadow of the 12-metre-high Giving Tree. It’s inside those gates that the magic happens. Hit after hit, tear after tear, the beats keep on coming. This is a show that manages to tap into and trigger memories. The central character Mime, played by Salah, a child-like man in a sequinned silver tracksuit, dances us through the life of the musical star.

MJ Immortal Ticket

MJ Immortal Ticket

Highlights of the show are the gravity-defying dancers of Smooth Criminal,  aerial artists hung together mid air by only their teeth, a Thriller performance refreshed with white bandaged mummies, giant white-socked penny loafers from which the dancers emerge and his trademark sequined glove in Beat It. It’s there you think you’ve reached the finale but there is even more to come. The led-lit hip hop dancers are cosmic wrenching more emotion as the Giving Tree gets battered in The Earth Song with Gone Too Soon bringing back memories of the gold casket funeral at Staples Center in July 2009. Heal The World literally breaks our hearts as they are lowered glowing and red into the audience. Stand out performers from the 65 artists are  Tina Guo on electric cello and the show-stealing one-legged break dancer Jean Sok.

Watched over by the young boy MJ in a soaring balloon every note is hit – even the unsympathetic ones about Michael’s erratic life and controversies. There’s even Bubbles the DJ monkeying on Ben and huge puppets inspired by elephants Baba and Gypsy, given to Michael by Elizabeth Taylor.

The total projection surface in the show is 500 m2 and the versatile stage is highly technical with multiple lifts and LED screen backdrop that starts flat on the stage, stands up to act as a projection surface and turns into a ramp. There’s a runway into the auditorium which is equipped with a conveyor belt and a lift.  It’s a spectacle unlike any other.

Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour Las Vegas

MJ Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour Las Vegas

Notable names in the $60m production are Writer and Director Jamie King, dubbed “Variety’s Billion Dollar Tour Director”, who was a dancer on the 1992-3 Dangerous World Tour and has been Madonna’s Creative Director for the last 14 years. Director of Creation Chantal Tremblay put in different styles of dance from pop, hip hop, b-boy and, of course, moonwalk. The legendary, twice Emmy-nominated choreographer, Travis Payne heads a team of ten choreographersGreg Phillinganeswho worked on the Bad and Dangerous concert tours, is the show’s Musical Director and he’s visible on an upper stage with the band and backing singers. Musical designer Kevin Antunes delicately rearranges and strips away the orchestrations making the vocal mastery of the man himself transparent enough for the emotion to come through. The talented Zaldy Goco is the Costume Designer, who’d been chosen as the exclusive designer for the ill-fated This Is It tour, and created the 252 outfits with gold epaulettes, moulded gun glove fingers that shoot pyrotechnics and the light-up break dance costumes.  His soldiers’ costumes in They Don’t Care About Us are made of mytex foil transfer on a padded, polyester frame; the sylph bat costumes with gold wings create a stunning ethereal effect.

Working on a rock show without a live artist can be challenging,” says set designer Mark Fisher. “In this case, the set design takes on a whole new meaning. Its role is to fill the shadows and to evoke the artist’s presence.

A flash of pyrotechnics closes the production with Man in The Mirror and Michael’s giant image on the closing curtains whirls, swirls and is blown away. Gone to dust but never forgotten.

Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour

Cirque du Soleil – Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

Here’s the show’s running order listing from wikipedia

You can follow Cirque du Soleil @Cirque on Twitter. Tickets for London in October 12

The European Tour of Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour has just kicked off in London and there are additional stops of this electrifying production at:

National Indoor Arena — Birmingham, UK
March 26, 2013
> Buy pre-sale tickets

Manchester Arena — Manchester, UK
March 29, 2013
    > Buy pre-sale ticketshere.


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  2. […] The stage set was designed by  Mark Fisher who passed away recently. Robbie paid tribute to him by calling him ‘music’s greatest architect.’ Mr Fisher was also, among other stage triumphs,  behind the spectacular Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal, Read our review here. […]

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