So, I recently was able to go and see the Michael Jackson Immortal show by Cirque du Soleil. Being a HUGE fan of the Love show in Las Vegas, and somewhat of a Michael Jackson fan, I was excited. Unfortunately, unless you are a BIG MJ fan, I can’t necessarily recommend the show. It could have been the fact that instead of a smaller, 1,500 seat theater constructed specifically for the show (i.e. Las Vegas), it was at a cavernous basketball arena. But that was only part of it.

The show opened with some truly stunning video imagery, which turned out to be the best part of the show throughout. Kudos to the visual people. It weaved in and out of Jackson 5 and Michael solo stuff, with reworkings and tweaks, none of which worked anywhere near as well as the Beatles Love stuff. The biggest issue I think is that the songs were simply cut down too much. “Smooth Criminal” for instance was cut to about two minutes, not long enough for the performers to establish their act. The big gun, “Thriller,” which one might think would be the highlight of the show, was just about cut in half. And “Beat It” was mashed up with “State Of Shock” and “Bad” when it should have been featured, same with “Billie Jean.” The five “clowns” that were there at the opening and appearing throughout were supposed to be fanatic fans who were making a pilgrimage to Neverland. I had no idea until I read a review of it. And, all the references to Neverland just made me feel ooky.  There were a lot, including Bubbles the Chimp, and it just seemed to take away from Jackson’s artistic legacy.

Perhaps the luster has worn off Cirque du Soleil? After a recent announcement that the Viva Elvis show was being run out of Vegas, that might be true. The thing about the Love show, when compared to Immortal and Viva Elvis, is that it is as theatrical and artistic as any Cirque show, while paying tribute to the artist. The other two were more dancing, less emotion, and less of the Cirque art and acrobatics that make their shows entertaining.

One note though – there was a dancer, with only one leg, that was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff he was doing, even for someone with two legs.

As for the impending album from the show, unless you are a dyed in the wool MJ fan and need to have everything he’s ever done, pass.

– Submitted by Joel Oltyan, Music Design