The show: Michael Jackson: THE IMMORTAL World Tour
First impressions: This Cirque du Soleil stadium tour is big and has to be to live up to the memory of Michael Jackson, his music and his iconic and often weird celebrity.
What works? The music, of course. Unlike other Cirque shows which use a odd melange of incidental music with nonsense syllables, this one depends on music and lyrics the audience already loves.
So that's good? Yes, as long as the trademark Cirque clowns, trapeze acts and flawless gymnastics make sense with the beat. And mostly it works. It's a tough challenge, but as the night progresses the audience and the fluidity of the performances heat up.
What's memorable? Don't try to make sense of it. At first Cirque tries for a linear story line with a mime dressed in a silver glam outfit as he wakes up in front of the gates of Neverland, Jackson's California ranch. For those who remember the strange reports about that place (kids sleeping over, a chimp and llamas) it's a little creepy. But we soon get beyond childhood into a killer number with a beat, "Wanna Be Starting Something" and the show kicks into a higher gear.
There's a lot to like here: "Dancing Machine" has some high tech welders flying around on cables, "This Place Hotel" sports aerialists doing a high off-the-ground tango, and "Dangerous" has the sexiest pole dancer ever.
A beautifully choreographed scene of winged bats swirling around during "Threatened" and a magnificent aeriel duet of a couple defying gravity to "I Just Can’t Stop Loving You" show great blends of Jackson music and Cirque sensibility.
The Cirque sense of humor is shown as an dancer manipulates a human size sparkly glove and two others jump out of giant black shoes with shiny white socks.
The Ninja dancers in "Scream" are so effortless and in sync that it looks like one brain controls them.
The show cranks up to a beat-driven end with a mix of "Can You Feel It/Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black or White" as dancers in mixing colors of neon on black clothing stomp out Jackson's trademark moves.
The evening ends with "Man In The Mirror" as the large cast comes out, act by act, for a final bow.
What doesn't work?: Jackson's message for world peace and harmony with nature was often drowned out by his bizarre behavior. Here there are some videos of destruction of the rain forest and sad looking kids. Heart tugging, but not as effective as the pop songs.
Also the sound is sometimes muddy and near the end of the first act the volume was turned up way too high and stayed that way the rest of the night. You may need ear plugs.
Who willl like it? Jackson fans who remember his terrific music and gorgeous dance moves.
Who won't: Anyone thinking they will see a Jackson concert. You do, but there's a giant hole in the middle of that notion.
Twitter review: Cirque du Soleil mostly succeeds in reminding us of Jackson's musical legacy.
Thoughts on leaving the parking lot: Loved the spectacle, the showmanship and the effort of Cirque du Soleil.
Running time: 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission.
The basics: The show repeats Thursday, 8 p.m., at the Xl Center in Hartford. Tickets are $50 to $175. Information: 860-727-8010 and www.xlcenter.com.
Re: The Legend Lives On - Official Cirque du Soleil 'Immortal World Tour' Discussion
That number Igor does in I Just can't stop loving you, when he's hanging only with his teeth is amazing! Wonder how long he can stand this I'll check the video of the Guinness record attempt if there is one
Only 12 days until the show comes back in my city yaaayyy!