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By Iride Aparicio
Pictures Courtesy:  OSA IMAGES

SAN JOSÉ, CATo describe the opening night of  CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’s  “MICHAEL JACKSON  The  IMMORTAL World Tour,  presented at the HP Pavilion in S.J. is impossible. What words are capable  to give our readers a mental image of the sights and sounds  of the  fast-moving  multi-media spectacle that stretched our imagination? 

Who could  be able to imagine a group of fluorescent dancers moving their legs and arms rapidly in the dark as they dance, jump and fly in the air as their colors change from green to yellow to purple?

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How can we explain in words  the  many different projections?  The  walls exploding? The buildings falling?  The soldiers marching? The images of war?  The  faces of Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. mixed with MICHAEL’s message “Cause we’re all the same!”?

And who could believe the acrobatics?  The bodies twisting in mid air,  hanging from a rope by one hand?   Splitting their legs horizontally in a trapeze?  Running, jumping? Nobody can describe that.   All have to be experienced and seen.

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And there is so much to be seen so much music to hear, so many bits and pieces of memories to be remember as scenes and dancers change as rapidly as the costumes and lighting. It is too much for our senses to digest in two hours.

But at the heart of all that wonder is MICHAEL JACKSON. He is the narrator leading us though his lyrics and in his dance movements to bits and pieces of the story of his life.  As presented in the show, this story is not linear.  It is shown in short segments (scenes) that like the pieces of a Jigsaw puzzle the audience has to put together. At times, the allegories in the show are unclear and we are unable to guess their meaning.

The IMMORTAL World tour is a mixture of songs, dancing and music, some live and some pre-recorded.  It features 32 JACKSON”s songs, in addition to numerous bits and pieces of songs that were used for the sounds capes and transitions. It also uses three screen projections, smoke explosions, aerial acts, of  a series of  multi-colored lights imitating shooting stars, heavenly bodies, and in one magnificent visual effect, the audience is covered by hundredths of  straw-like vertical  beams of golden color  lights  parallel to each other that start at the roof of the arena and end  on the ground.

That IMMORTAL is and spectacle, cannot be denied. It is professional in every facet. From the singers, to the dancers to the Circus Acts which only be described as "superb".  The flexibility in the bodies of those contortionists performing in the aerial acts is  unbelievable. We wished CIRQUE had allowed the public to pay closer attention to those acts that night, because sadly the talent of the aerial performers could not be fully appreciated by the audience because the projections distracted their attention.

Put together by the Estate of  MICHAEL JACKSON and CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, the IMMORTAL world tour  also represents, in songs, different eras of life. From his youth singing with his brothers as one of the JACKSON FIVE, to his adulthood.

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Repeating the words of  show’s Director JAMIE KING, “It starts with the music, and it is MICHAEL'S voice (singing) what drives the show.

The  components,  (the short scenes) are woven perfectly together by Musical Designer KEVIN ANTUNES, who mastered the recordings, and by Musical Director GREG PHILLINGANES, who having  worked with JACKSON for over 25 years provided an unparallel depth of knowledge to his music.

The integration of  several of MICHAEL’S songs in the 100-minute production, however, was not easy. It involved mash-ups, remixes and new arrangements and the weaving of songs together in new ways to make the music “feel” fresh. The result is that in this show, the public hears MICHAEL JACKSON's voice like they never had heard it before. 

When asking for opinions of the spectacle, to  people  in the arena, they were mixed:  Those  old enough to remember JACKSON as a child loved the number showing him as a little boy singing with “THE JACKSON FIVE, in fact their  favorite part was the projection of  the “real MICHAEL” singing as a child.

All enjoyed the different JACKSON’s look alike's dancers, which were great and the singing numbers. Yet what  moved many people to tears were the projections showing  of the “real” Michael singing.  Apparently  that’s what they came to see. As JACKSON sang,  one could hear applause, laughter, and see tears in some people’s eyes. It was marvelous  to see how the music and the imagery used by the IMMORTAL brought  JACKSON back to life. As he danced, and he sang we became aware that MICHAEL JACKSON is not gone, he keeps on living in the melodies and lyrics of his songs.

For information please visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/michaeljackson

Highlights of Michael Jackson The Immortal Tour

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B-Roll courtesy of Cirque du Solei ©2011 Cirque-Jackson I.P., LLC

Highlights of World Premiere of Michael Jackson The Immortal Tour

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B-Roll courtesy of Cirque du Solei ©2011 Cirque-Jackson I.P., LLC