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THIS MORTAL’S VIEW OF “THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR”

June Smith
I was a guest at the “Michael Jackson THE IMMORTALWORLD TOUR” by Cirque Du Soleil” at the “1st Mariner Arena+$2 FAFE”—wording taken directly from the ticket—in Baltimore last night.

 
IMO, it was like watching the Opening Ceremony of the Democratic National Convention.
 

I like Michael Jackson’s music and dancing and many of Cirque’s shows, so my expectations were high for Cirque and the Estate of Michael Jackson “joining forces” and legal teams for this production.

And I’m down with MJ’s peace, love, and global unity message, even though after the Rodney King beating and riots in LA lo those many years ago, we still can’t “all get along”.
 
Seeing the show made me realize even more so the music world’s loss of MJ’s remarkable talent that no circus performer, acrobat, contortionist, or choreographer could ever replicate under the soleil.
 
The opening video montage with footage of The King of Pop singing and dancing, the great graphics and the fabulous on-stage band set up the beginning of the show nicely, but that didn’t last as long as a $4 bottle of chilled bottle of water on sale at the drab, dreary Arena.

When you buy a bottle of water there, it is opened and handed to you. You can’t have the top. It’s a 1st Mariner Arena edict, issued not in concert with the peace and love thing, but because it can be used as a weapon, decreed so after too many disturbances and lawsuits resulting from the hurling of water bomb missiles. I wanted to buy a cap and let them keep the bottle of water, but I digress…

 
Despite the efforts of the bedazzled dancing mime in a $50K white—like Michael’s “milk”— rhinestone costume guiding us through the show, it never really went anywhere after the gates of Neverland glided on stage and opened to a world of cartoon fantasy with Michael’s “Have You Seen My Childhood?” playing in the background.
 
That was a sad but accurate portrayal of his early years, spent singing and dancing for fame and fortune whether he liked it or not, his declaration of a lost childhood, and an explanation of his overwhelming desire for the happy place he never had as a child.
 
The storyline, and what a story it was, was lost in what was more of a production than a tribute.
 
MJ’s “message” came through loud and clear on the stage and large video screens as the performers did a tribal dance to “Working Day & Night”, along with a UN-style montage of world- wide poverty, war, and crime.
 
Mother Theresa was in it, along with starving children, members of the KKK, and MLK.

Following more cast members jumping and tumbling and whooping and hollering in wild and wildly expensive costumes, there was a twenty-minute intermission and the opportunity to stand in line for a funnel cake, an $8.50 light beer, and/or a $50 “I ‘Gold Heart’ MJ” tee shirt, probably made by children in some global village.
 
Five dollar silver gloves were being sold out of the inside of the jacket of a fellow concert-goer.

The hallways were a breath of fresh air compared to the hot and hazy crowded arena. Throughout the show, a number of people were hauled out after passing out from the heat.

 
Then it was back to the show with the chiming of Big Ben leading to MJ’s “Ben” and the clarion call from the performers on stage:  “Can You Feel It?” “Can You Feel It?”
 
I couldn’t feel it, even with the high flying men in LED-lit ghetto tuxedos, the all-white Jackson 5 dancers, the freaky creepy green-clad contortionist depicting a creeping vine crawling out of a huge storybook, and the smoky pyrotechnics.
 
A “living” glove, dancing white socks and black shoes the size of Shaq, and a cargo load of Chinese acrobats didn’t do it for me, either, but the crowd felt it as they clapped along, sang, danced and cried. True MJ fans love all things MJ.
 
I overheard someone remark about all the “Donkey Booty” but I chose not to “Google” it for this piece.
 
Cheers went up for the dancer dressed as MJ’s beloved chimpanzee, Bubbles, who appeared throughout the show. I didn’t know Bubbles but I knew that wasn’t the real Bubbles.

The flags of the world, held high by the performers, swirling around to “Your Daddy is White”, the nearly naked lady pole dancing—an unusual take on MJ’s global love theme— and the interpretation of “Thriller” didn’t thrill me either.

 
By that time, I was wishing I was dangling from a hotel balcony like Prince Michael II and questioning the judgment of my gracious hosts in spending after tax dollars on row H, seats 1, 2 and 3, but they were feeling the same way.
 
“Human Nature”, sung by Jackson, featured illuminated aerialists floating in the air for a glimpse of MJ’s view of the cosmos in reverse.
 
But there was one thing that held my circus ADD in check: the one-legged dancer, Jean Sok, dancing with two crutches, even made to resemble bones in the “Thriller” number. He was sensational, the likes of which I’ve never seen.

The renowned amputee’s movements were the closest representation of MJ in the whole show.
Sok’s dancing has gone viral and it is worth watching. U-Tube it.

 
We left before the show was over so I don’t know how it ended, but I know Jackson’s music and dance moves were his and his alone, and ended with him.
 
To me, this was more of a money-maker set to his music than a fitting homage to the King of Pop.
 
I’m glad you are finally in a peaceful Neverland, Michael.
 
You would have hated it.

June Smith is the founder of  www.FriendsofRonSmith.com ,her tribute website honoring the legacy of her late husband, Ron Smith, who was a media titan in the central Maryland area and beyond for almost forty years. She is dedicated to raising 1,000,000 for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Hopkins. Mrs. Smith, a/k/a Mrs. Reason, is a Red Maryland contributor and her email is june@friendsofronsmith.com.





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