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Story by Andy Argyrakis
In the first of two packed shows at Chicago's United Center (where it returns on Saturday, July 21), no less than 63 musicians, dancers, acrobats and specialty artists (including five actual MJ band members) took an impassioned two hour trip through Jackson's celebrated catalogue. Add in 35 trucks worth of production that switched grandly every few performance pieces, and it's surely the largest operation on the road right now.
While the show was certainly sizeable enough to reach even those in the furthest of rafters, there was still plenty of warmth thanks a soundtrack ripe with full or snippet renditions of more than 35 tunes that traced The Jackson 5 through solo superstardom. Writer/director Jamie King (Jackson, Prince and 12 years with Madonna) did a remarkable job sculpting the set list to evoke a concert environment, which coupled with the cast's intricate dances, acrobatics and contortions, made for an evening that was just as musical as it was visual.
After blasting off with a megamix of hits, fans were given a flashback to the star's formative years with a mime arousing the audience's curiosity to the ever so appropriate sounds of "Childhood." From there, the dance party revved up to the throbbing beats of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and the colorfully choreographed "Dancing Machine," which took the thrills to the next level thanks to a little help from some motorized, robot-like cables.
Another major highlight in the first act was a J5 medley of "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "The Love You Save," followed by some breathtaking aerial stunts throughout "Human Nature," accented with synchronized blinking lights on each of the dancer's suits. Live action scenes inspired by the ghoulish "Thriller" video also delighted just prior to intermission, though the second half is when Jackson's songwriting genius, along with his humanitarian spirit, really leapt to life.
"Earth Song" served as a socially conscious scene that urged everyone to preserve the planet's natural resources, reinforced even more poignantly when introduced by the star's self-penned "Planet Earth" poem. In the wake of his untimely passing, "I'll Be There" came across as the bittersweet moment of the night, especially as a video of a youthful Michael performing the song melded gorgeously with simply live keyboard accompaniment.
Even so, "Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour" ended on several celebratory notes with the crowd grooving to an elaborate, circus-styled rings act centered around bits of "Can You Feel It" and "Don't Stop ÔTil You Get Enough," alongside plenty of moonwalking during "Billie Jean" and flag-waving throughout "Black Or White." Add in a jubilant finale of "Man In The Mirror" where the entire entourage gallantly sang and bowed their way through a moving salute, and there was simply no better way to celebrate the legacy of possibly the world's greatest all around entertainer.
Upcoming tour dates for Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour" are as follows with full details and ticket information at www.cirquedusoleil.com/michaeljackson.
|"Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour"|
Chicago, IL US Opens on July 20, 2012
Ottawa, ON CA Opens on July 24, 2012
Toronto, ON CA Opens on July 27, 2012
Buffalo, NY US Opens on July 31, 2012
Boston, MA US Opens on August 03, 2012
Vancouver, BC CA Opens on August 10, 2012
Los Angeles, CA US Opens on August 14, 2012
Salt Lake City, UT US Cancelled
Mexico City MX Opens on August 24, 2012
London UK Opens on October 12, 2012
Herning DK Opens on October 24, 2012
Copenhagen DK Opens on October 27, 2012
Stockholm SE Opens on November 02, 2012
Helsinki FI Opens on November 05, 2012
St-Petersburg RU Opens on November 09, 2012 |
Frankfurt DE Opens on November 16, 2012
Oberhausen DE Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Munich DE Opens on November 24, 2012
Hanover DE Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Vienna AT Opens on December 01, 2012
Mannheim DE Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Leipzig DE Opens on December 08, 2012
Hamburg DE Opens on December 11, 2012
Cologne DE Opens on December 15, 2012
Berlin DE Opens on December 19, 2012
Madrid DE Opens on December 26, 2012
Moscow RU Opens on January 22, 2013
Prague CZ Opens on February 08, 2013
Barcelona ES Opens on April 17, 2013
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