(16-9-2011) On September 15, the Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil invited MJFC and a few other select fan sites, out to Montreal to watch a rehearsal of the much anticpated Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. The purpose was to get our unedited reactions to the show and even to listen to our gripes and concerns. As MJFC's representative 'fly on the wall,' I can tell you that what you are about to witness is quite simply, the ultimate tribute to Michael Jackson.
Unfortunately, there were no cameras allowed inside the arena for the show or at the Cirque headquarters so I have no pictures to share with you but, belive me when the show opens in early October, not only will you see the most dynamic specticle of dance and acrobatic prowess the Cirque du Soleil is so known for, but you will also see, hear - and most importantly - you will feel Michael.
As you all know, this is the first time that Cirque has ever done a show with a live band. And boy, what a band it is! Michael's long-time band director, Greg Phillingaines and also his drummer, Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett head up the team. Along with them are a 19 year-old female guitar wizard that Phillingaines discovered on YouTube and an amazing electric cellist. Pair all that with the magic Kevin Antunes is working with Michael's original masters and, needless to say, the truly world-class band sounded phenomenal!
But as amazing as the music is, this show actually goes beyond the music and captures the essence of Michael. His genius, his imagination, his heart... it's all there. They get it. And, aside from a couple of small concerns that we (the fans present at this little 'think tank') voiced, they really nailed it! You will laugh and you will cry and you will be absolutely astounded at many of the visuals!
But I want to back up a little and make sure you understand what I just said. Cirque du Soleil and the Estate invited a small group of 15 fans, representatives from the fan club community, to a viewing of The Immortal World Tour in order to get our feedback and imput. They listened to what we had to say and they took our feelings and suggestions into consideration. And it wasn't just lip service. Changes were made to the show immediately based on our feedback. That's huge! And the passion for Michael that I witnessed from everyone involved - from the band members to the costume designer, from the dancers to the technicians, to members of the Estate and the entire Cirque du Soleil behind-the-scenes production team - was very real. Their love for Michael and their concern about upholding his legacy was evident. As I said, this show really is the ultimate Michael Jackson tribute and I, for one, can't wait for the curtain to go up!