http://www.examiner.com/business-insight-in-phoenix/michael-jackson-s-appeal-seems-to-be-immortal-phoenix-reviewMichael Jackson's appeal seems to be immortal in Phoenix
Denise Meridith, Phoenix Business Insight Examiner
December 31, 2011
Michael Jackson will probably, ultimately, be the highest-grossing celebrity of all time. Forbes listed the $170 million earned by his estate as first on the list of top-earning, deceased celebrities in 2011. His influence definitely helped inspire Arizonans on December 30. Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour resuscitated what would have been a dead night in downtown Phoenix (the main draw in town was the Insight Bowl going on at the same time in Tempe).
Phoenix was lucky to be near the start of a tour that will visit about 50 major cities by August—a feat, which would have not been possible by a live, aging superstar.
The show was, yet another Cirque du Soleil creation. Though some people were disappointed there was not more of the usual jugglers and plate twirlers, most were pleasantly surprised to see the emphasis placed on what Jackson did best—dance. Everyone’s favorite Jackson dance tunes (from Dancing Machine to Thriller to his latest They Don’t Really Care About Us) were presented as energetic ensemble numbers, punctuated by spectacular, pyrotechnics. Audience favorites included a break-dancer with one leg and psychedelic crutches, others in America’s-Got-Talent-inspired LED-lighted costumes, and a sparkled-encrusted emcee, seemingly without bones in his body.
n addition to the hip-hop dancers, which solicited screams from teen fans, there were enough other styles to provide something for everyone. There were clown-like Jackson 5 imitators for kids, which were not even a glint in their parents’ eyes when Jackson was at his height. There were aerial ballets to ballads (Just Can’t Stop Loving You), for Moms and, the best pole dance (Dangerous) anyone had ever seen, for Dads.
The most poignant moments were the video clips of the real Michael Jackson, especially as a beautiful, young child, singing songs like ABC. It was sad to think about the loss of innocence, and, eventually, of life for a uniquely talented individual.
The show attracted the most diverse audience—all ages, races, nationalities, and gender identities—imaginable for Phoenix. In a state still racked by racial consternation and controversy over illegal immigration, it was refreshing to see such harmony. In 2012, it would be great if the nostalgia, fun and happiness inspired by one of history’s greatest entertainers and experienced by the sold-out crowd flowing out of US Airways Center after the wonderful two-hour show, could be recreated all night every night in Phoenix.