Friday, October 14, 2011

Two Shows - Highs & Lows

On Monday night I went to see Portishead in Toronto at the Sound Academy.  I went alone because after eating an extra ticket fee on two separate occasions, I've learned to buy only one ticket.  I also figured it was the kind of show where it'd be fine to be on your own.  In fact, I'm beginning to think that it really shouldn't be an issue at all (but more on that in another post). (Full disclosure - this was also the first time that anyone's ever given me their phone number unsolicited.  Thanks!)

Anyway, the show was fantastic.  They sounded as good live as they do on CD, and their stage show/presence was right on target.  I really appreciate Beth Gibbons, as well as the band's, understated demeanor - it lets me focus on her singing and the music overall (rather than trying to follow along with some convoluted narrative enacted via costumes and dancers that essentially diverts attention from some of the less-than-interesting/original music performed by others).  Know what I mean?

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson The Immortal Tour show in Hamilton on Wednesday night.

Quite honestly, this show was really disappointing.  It was a good thing we'd paid for (the rather expensive) ticket last year because I would've been more than disappointed had I just parted with that money.  In a nutshell - there was very little "cirque."  The best bits were the contortionists, the musicians (cellist & guitarist in particular), and the flying acrobats.  We were amused by what we called the gay gymnasts (guys in studded pseudo-Roman gear "helping" each other with the rings).  The rest of it felt more like sub-par dance interpretations of Michael Jackson songs.  In fact, we wondered whether Hamilton had gotten the "B" troupe.  The dancers weren't synchronized, there were costume malfunctions, and it felt hokey overall.  Plus, the animatronic children and the performer dressed as Bubbles the chimp were just plain creepy.

Has Cirque du Soleil jumped the shark?

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