Cirque du Soleil’s show, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” features the late singer’s voice, his band and dozens of dancers.
Cirque du Soleil,
MICHAEL JACKSON: THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
What: Cirque du Soleil interprets the songs and dances of the King of Pop.
When: 8 p.m. Wed. 3/28
Where: Target Center, 600 1st Av. N., Mpls.
Tickets: $50-$250; www.ticketmaster.com
Jackson tribute is Cirque du So-so
- Article by: JON BREAM
- Star Tribune
- March 28, 2012 - 9:11 AM
Michael Jackson ascended with "Off the Wall." Michael Jackson eventually had a tragic fall. But all the King of Pop's musicians and all Cirque du Soleil's acrobats can't quite put Michael Jackson together again.
Still, they try ambitiously and vainly with "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour," which opened a two-night stand Tuesday at Target Center.
Michael Jackson's voice filled the arena, his image dominated the giant video screens and dancers replicated his moves onstage. In the end, though, the two-hour, 30-some song "Immortal," like the pop icon himself, is bizarre, beguiling and often bedazzling. Written and directed by Jamie King (Madonna's main man), choreographed by Travis Payne (Michael's longtime collaborator) and nine others, and costumed by Zaldy Goco (Lady Gaga's guy), "Immortal" has the makings of an exciting mashup of rock concert and musical theater. But there's not enough of what people expect from Cirque (those jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics), not enough of Jacko's big hits (where are "Rock with You" and "Bad"?) and no real visual focus to the performance.
How can you have a rock concert without a star? Where do you direct your eyes?
To the mime in white sequins? He could become a narrator, a role common to Cirque presentations, but his role and movements are too limited. How 'bout the pole dancer with 6-inch stiletto heels, the female cellist with more hair than clothes and the one-legged break dancer with two crutches? They're scene stealers but they're seldom onstage.
"Immortal" lacks not only a story arc but a true beginning. It opens with a series of vignettes that try to serve as an overture but only underwhelm the audience. In fact, the entire first act -- which officially starts with the sentimental song "Childhood," peaks with "Human Nature" and aerialists suspended in outfits covered with LED lights, and ends with an invigorating "Thriller" -- is underwhelming, disjointed and, most disappointingly, low on energy.
In a celebration of Michael's music and life, his fans want to dance. Those opportunities come in the second act, which is as smartly conceived as the opening act is misguided. The 10,000 concertgoers get to hear the power of the live band, which is terrific (five members have toured with Jackson, saxophonist Mike Phillips with Prince). "Beat It' raises the energy -- and the comedy, with a 6-foot-tall sequined glove dancing like a spastic sea creature from "Little Mermaid." Then Michael's white socks and black penny loafers suddenly come alive at the opposite end of the stage and two guys somersault out of the shoes.
Despite the irresistible beats, Michael comes with a message, which is delivered loud and clear in "They Don't Care About Us," an all-purpose protest song that addresses AIDS, hunger, racism and war.
Afterward, Michael's voice speaks about daring to seek comfort, to dream and to believe.
The hodge-podge that is "Immortal" likely won't win over any new believers, but it might comfort those who still dream about the King of Pop.
© 2013 Star Tribune