Sources: Jacksonville.com | All Things Michael
This is the review of one of the Jacksons’ Victory Tour shows that ran in the Jacksonville Journal:
You could call him the Prince of Prance.
You could call him the Earl of Twirl.
Or you could simple echo what Terbonda Coleman, 11, said last night, her face split with a smile: “I just feel like kissin’ him.”
By any description, he’s Michael Jackson, and he and his brother put on a little shindig last night in the Gator Bowl for a sellout crowd of 45,334 frenzied fans.
If any of the many skeptics who have been wondering over the last few weeks what all the fuss is about could have seen the show last night, they would have been enlightened.
They would have seen Michael and four of his brothers put on a show that was breathlessly exciting — choreographed with the precision of a Broadway musical, but with plenty of opportunities for Michael to bring the adoring audinece almost to tears with spontaneous spins and yelps of excitement.
Despite two solo numbers for brother Jermaine, and some slick moves from brothers Marlon, Tito and Randy, it was Michael’s show, as it has been throughout the tour. He strutted on “Billie Jean,” threatened to punch through the muggy night air on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and gave the ballad “She’s Out of My Life” his best ham-on-writhes performance.
On the Jacksons’ Victory Tour, everything is larger than life. The brothers don’t just make an entrance, they rise up from below the stage, then walk down some steps while sound effects create massive booms synchronized to each footfall.
They don’t just go in for the traditioanl concert trapping such as fake fog and colored lights. They incorporate an entire magic trick — Michael is levitated into the air by brother Randy, then disappears — and cap off each evening with fireworks. If none of that is big enough, there’s the video screen atop the stage that amplifies the visual presence the way the sound system amplifies the sound.
The importance of that screen was underscored last night when it did not appear until the second song and did not show the stage until the third. When the huge image of Michael’s face finally appeared atop the stage, the roar from the crowd was almost as great as when the Jacksons appeared in person at the beginning.
Sometimes the trimmings seem to get in the way of the music. The main problem — really, the only problem — with the show is that there is no coherence or unity to the non-musical gimmickry.
As it has in earlier shows, and as it will in the next 12 cities after Jacksonville, the show opened last night wih the appearance of the Kreetons, huge monsters that look like camels designed by the Muppets creators.
A narrator explained that whoever can pull a sword from a stone will be the one to conquer the Kreetons. Several people tried, then along came Randy (sorry, fans, it really was Randy, not Michael), who pulled out the sword and chased the Kreetons offstage.
That’s fine, if a bit hokey, except that we never heard about the Kreetons or the sword or the stone again. Instead, about an hour into the evening, the concert stops again so Michael could be attacked by some giant spiderlike mechanical thingies that descended from the scaffolding above the stage. One of them apparently killed Michael (it’s pretty hard to figure), and then Randy, wearing a large silver mask and a cape, levitated Michael and made him disappear.
Are the mechanical spiders cousins to the Kreetons? Is Randy playing the same character in both vignettes? Is all this being staged for any reason other than to give the musicians a little rest? There were no answers last night, nor have there been in previous shows.
Of course, when Michael immediately reappeared, any thirst for answers quickly vanished. There he was, atop the grand piano, while the pounding opening notes of “Beat It” echoed thorugh the Gator Bowl and the crowd went berserk. It was probably the most galvanizing moment of the concert.
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