Saturday Snap – Michael Jackson – The Immortal World Tour

[Edit: this post got linked to by a MJ Fan Community.  Visit that page for more news & reviews of the Saskatoon and other shows.]

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Saskatoon having just watched “Cirque Du Soleil Presents: Michael Jackson – THE IMMORTAL World Tour” show.

This is my third Cirque show (I saw a freebie traveling show – maybe Allegria? – in Calgary since the Writers Guild of Alberta where I worked sometimes got free “media” passes to movies and events that had a literary/arts connection) and we also went to The Beatles “Love” show in Vegas a couple years back.

And even though I’m a HUGE Beatles fan and don’t really consider myself a huge Michael Jackson fan (at least compared to my Beatle fandom), I’d have to say this was the best Cirque show I’ve seen.

Why?

– Since I love the Beatles so much, I had huge expectations for Love.  They were met for the most part but the gap between expectations and experience was much smaller.  I had lower expectations for this show – “yeah, all Cirque shows are good but…meh” so I was more probably more open to being blown away.

– I think another big factor in why I enjoyed this show so much compared to Love is that I’m a Beatles fan but that wasn’t music I grew up with.  I grew up listening to Michael Jackson (in fact, I think Thriller might have been the first real LP I ever owned, not counting crap like the Mini-Pops and K-Tel stuff.)  Plus Michael Jackson’s was one of the first heroes of the music video era so they could translate routines and moments from his videos to the stage more directly than they could with the Beatles show which was much more impressionistic.  Ultimately the Beatles music doesn’t occupy a special place in my heart directly connected to so many memories of my youth like MJ’s does – staying up late to watch the Thriller premiere (on Good Rockin’ Tonight) and being scared shitless so I could only watch about five minutes of it, trying to learn the moon walk with a neighbour down the street, immediately knowing that the MJ performance at the Motown 25th was like watching magic.

– I mean, I pretty much had a smile glued to my face the entire show but when they did a segment featuring “I Want You Back” with part of the cast playing the role of the Jackson Five, I found myself with tears streaming down my face.  I was still smiling but also feeling that weird mix of emotions when you feel joy and sadness at the same time – thinking of such an icon of my childhood being gone, of his lost childhood, of my own childhood (much less problematic) but also long gone.  A powerful moment.  And exactly the kind of thing you have all the time when you’re a kid but which I think we lose as we grow older.

– the technology in this one was amazing, even compared to the Beatles Love show which is only a couple years older than this one.  But seeing things like four human beings turn into stars right in front of a crowd of thousands or people dancing in suits made of multi-colored LED lights was unreal.

– at the heart of every Cirque show (and the opposite of the technological achievements) are the amazing performers and this show featured many of the usual acrobats, contortionists and so on.  But there was an amazing one-legged break dancer who was integrated into the show so well, you frequently forgot that he was disabled.

– this show was like a mix of a rock concert and a theatrical production (whereas Love was definitely more theatrical) so you got the best of both worlds.

– we didn’t even think of this when we bought the tickets a year ago but going to a Michael Jackson show on the Saturday before Halloween plays in perfectly to some of MJ’s songs – “Thriller” obviously but they also did a segment set to a song called “Ghost Story” (?)

…and my dad had warned me how hard it can bet to get out of the Credit Union Centre parking lot after a big event (he’d been to a pre-season NHL game earlier this year) but we got out in relatively painless fashion after I spotted a line I could join a couple rows of cars over that seemed to be moving faster than the others…and it was – pretty much right out of the parking lot, ahead of cars that were two or three cars ahead of us in our original spot but ended up five cars behind us!

If you grew up in the 80’s, go see this show!

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