Initially posted on 10 October 2011
A couple weeks ago, I blogged about two upcoming events that I was looking forward to attend: the Kid Sister show at Ritual and the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour at Scotiabank Place.
I promised I would write a review about these two events, so here goes.
The first event I was excited about was the Kid Sister show which took place at Ritual on Monday, September 26
Well, as expected, a Monday night show in Ottawa attracts a Monday night crowd. Doors opened at 10:00 pm so my man and I arrived around 11:00 pm, hoping to arrive during A Tribe Called Red’s set. When we got there, the DJs from ATCR were only getting warmed up and the place was practically empty. Typical Ottawa scene. Regardless, the beats were bangin’ so we got ourselves some Heinys to start the night. It wasn’t long until the boys got us moving and grooving.
Around 12:15, the club had finally reached a somewhat decent Monday crowd and the people had gathered around the stage area for the main performance of the night. DJ Willy Joy came out on stage to get things started as he shouted ” What up Ottawa!” to the 60 some people who yelled back shyly. Kid Sister then jumped on stage and kicked things off with her recent single “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss”. She followed by “Right Hand Hi” and continued with “Southside” putting tons of energy in each and every track she performed for the audience. She ended her gig after only 30 minutes with the song that put her on the radar “Pro Nails”. Understandably, the Ottawa crowd was too small and not crazy enough for this Chi-Town party girl to keep the show going. Altough Kid Sis left the stage, Willy Joy stayed on the decks to keep the crowd (or what was left of it) dancing. Nonetheless, Kid Sister gave a great performance worthy of a night out on the town.
The second event that I had been patiently waiting to attend for a year (!) was Le Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour, a spectacle that was amazing in ways yet also disappointing in others.
Ottawa was the second stop on the world tour. The show premiered last week in Montreal in front hundreds of international media, thousands of people from the industry and even Michael Jackson’s family. The critics and reviews were quite mixed, but I was going there full of hope and belief in the magic of Le Cirque du Soleil. I knew that Guy Laliberte could not let us down, especially with a tribute dedicated to THE Michael Jackson. Well, at least that’s what I thought, but sadly, he proved me wrong in some ways.
First off, how do you create a Michael Jackson show without Michael Jackson? As writer and artistic director of The Immortal, Jamie King paints a picture of Michael’s career primarily through choreography using various lighting effects and by showing us images of him on big screens, which create a larger than life portrait of the King of Pop. Regardless, several times throughout the show, there seemed to be an emptiness on stage like something was missing, weather it was Michael himself or the lack of visual stimulation and artistic creativity that is so unique to the Cirque du Soleil.
Undoubtedly, there were some fantastic moments like the kid in the flying hot air balloon during “Childhood”, the recreation of the scene for “Smooth Criminal”, the costumes and choreography in “Thriller”, the aerial act and visuals in “Human Nature”, the robots in “They Don’t Really Care About Us”, and the ‘glow-in-the-dark’ iconic items in “Beat It”. A couple of parts made me shed a few tears while several acts made me clap, dance in my seat and smile from ear to ear as I sang along to my favorite MJ songs.
Having said this, I don’t consider The Immortal to be completely worthy of a Cirque du Soleil show nor worthy of Michael Jackson himself. Le Cirque du Soleil would normally include more acrobatics, aerial acts and circus performances to a show like this considering Michael Jackson’s creativity and unique talent. On several occasions, King and Laliberte missed out on the opportunity to showcase visual brilliance as they offered the audience a somewhat boring picture that lacked sensorial stimulation. For example, during “Scream”, King could have played with the idea of breaking things (in reference to the video where MJ is seen wit his sister Janet) and could have taken advantage of audio-visual effects more. Also, where were “Remember the Time” and “Dirty Diana”? Two musts in my opinion.
Overall, the show was very good, but good is just not enough to truly honour the life and career of the one and only Michael Jackson. Perhaps the show will get better once it settles permanently in Vegas and increases its production budget to 80 million…