On Friday, I went to see “Immortal – the Michael Jackson Thing With Some Cirque Du Soleil Stuff In It“. I was pretty excited. Before I go into details, let’s just look at this picture:
Although I know that some of my friends who were there really enjoyed it (sorry Kels), I did not. I found it very:
- Poorly Planned;
- Creepy; and
Let me explain. Although the video in the link above would lead you to believe that the content of the show is all explosive, high-energy representations of his smash-rock hits, it fails to let you know about the super-duper cheesy and creepy elements of the show. And when I say “creepy”, I don’t mean, like, super-cool Thriller creepy, with like zombies and blood and shit. That’s “Awesome Creepy” I mean “creepy” as in the following examples:
- Starting the show with “Have You Seen my Childhood”, and wheeling a 40-foot doll-version of young Michael onto the stage, where he proceeds to creepiliy two-hand-wave through a 50-foot window, “Chuckie-from-Child’s-Play“-esque. It also had children laughing in the background, and a hot-air balloon holding ANOTHER doll-version of Michael in it that bobbed around awkwardly for some reason.
- Trying to infuse some kind of philosophical and social message into every single slow song (about 6), such as “having all of the dancers walk PAINFULLY slowly to the center of the stage holding glowing hearts”. Then walk to the back of the stage. Then spread out in the center of the stage. Then the song slowly fades out, and the hearts stop glowing. THIS WAS THE ONLY THING THAT HAPPENED DURING THAT ENTIRE SIX MINUTE SONG. There was also a “Save our environment” song, that had horrible CGI butterflies flying in the background, a “We’re all the same” song that had weird old-timey pictures floating across the screen in weird gilded CGI picture frames, and a “look at all the flags from around the world!” song, where people ran around with flags.
- Deciding to have all the skinny chicks wear sparkle-y bikinis for no reason. Like the main cellist. She happened to have a good body, so they decided to bring her out to the center of the stage and play the CELLO in her bikini. Fucking weird.
- Having sequences that make no sense. Like this one song, they brought out huge wire heads of animals on stage, with people sitting inside. A wire head of a giraffe, a lion, an elephant and a tiger. Then some guy ran around the stage and gently swung them back and forth. That was it. Why did this occur? What purpose did it serve? How is this interesting at all? The song wasn’t about animals or anything like that. I kept thinking that the people were going to do some kind of cool acrobatic thing within the wire-heads. But no. They just swung.
- Busting out the “MJ” stereotypes SO HARD in the STUPIDEST ways. For example…
They also had a cameo from “Bubbles the Chimp“, Michael’s pet chimp who he treated as a child. It was a human in a chimp costume with overalls on. He danced around “chimp-styles” for a bit, then later came on to an elevated saucer-type DJ station over the main stage and STARTED DJ-ING. YES. Bubbles the chimp came on to DJ. So totally not weird.
Finally, the decision to show it in a huge amphitheater like Air Canada Centre was stupid. It’s way too big. I couldn’t see any of the acrobatics, and the stupid HUGE screen (with horrible, horrible, horrible graphics on it. Like horrible) was really, really distracting.
I think the poor dancers expected everyone to be all rocking-out and dancing, and clapping along to the music. I saw no evidence of that, and it made things even more awkward. Except this one woman was losing her shit:
The only two parts of the whole show that were actually effective were when they had a bunch of guys come on to do “Billie Jean” wearing suits that has these lights down the side. It looked really cool. The thriller sequence was ok. Only ok.