Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour opened in Las Vegas this past weekend, where it will run through December 27th before traveling the world. In conjunction with the premiere of the Cirque show, a memorabilia exhibit called Michael Jackson Fan Fest opened at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort (now through December 14th).
To celebrate the fanfare, Jackson brothers Tito and Jackie attended both openings, along with their mother, Katherine, Michael’s children, and family friends including producer Berry Gordy and “Thriller” director John Landis. Rolling Stone caught up with the Jackson brothers to get their take on the celebrity-filled affair.
What’s been the most emotional part of all of this for you?
Tito: It’s all emotional, I must say to you, because my brother’s my brother. I don’t look at him through a fan’s eye. I look at him through a brother’s eye. At Fan Fest, just being around his clothing and all that – it’s emotional. I mean, they’re beautiful costumes and some of them I’ve seen him wear before. Just to know that he actually wore these things and these were his belongings but he’s not in them anymore – it’s emotional.
They were playing “I Want You Back” on the intercom and all of the sudden here’s Mr. Berry Gordy standing next door to me, right there, and it’s like full circle. We both looked at each other and got a little teary eyed and I said, “Boss, do you remember those days?” He said, “How could I forget? Thank you for reminding me.”
Those were beautiful times in our life. We were young, we were kids, we were full of energy, everything was polished, we were ready to go and we did it like that – five boys from Gary, Indiana.
Jackie: Hearing “ABC” and “I Want You Back” and all those songs that we did together as a group – it was so emotional then.
The wonderful thing about the Immortal show is that Cirque didn’t try to find someone to impersonate Michael; they just try to recreate his essence. Is this it, in terms of large scale productions, for Michael Jackson?
Jackie: I wouldn’t say no – you never know what’s going to happen next. But Cirque is an icon; so is Michael Jackson. So you put the two together like this, people expect to see something fantastic. And it is. It’s such a great show. It’s very entertaining.
Tito: I feel that as far as Michael’s legend, there will be even greater things coming in the future for Michael. Because I feel that he was more than just a performer – he was a humanitarian. And that part of his life was most important for me, because he really cared about our world and our society and feeding hunger and making this world a better place. So with that being said, I feel that that overrides…I would like for him to be remembered in those aspects as well as his music.
What about the Jackson brothers? Do you guys ever plan on doing something new, again?
Jackie: Oh, there’s going to be a lot of great things in the future. We’re working on some things right now. I can’t say what though, just now.
How involved were you with the Immortal production?
Jackie: From the very beginning, I was there helping them put things together and they brought me down before the show came out and they did a whole run through for me and I was with the whole team. I was just so happy to help them and they were so excited just to meet me; it brought back tears in my eyes.
To everybody else, Michael is an icon and a legend. But, to you two, he’s your brother. So what do you think about something like Fan Fest, where they display some of his personal belongings?
Tito: Well, you know, first of all, to come here and to see how many people love my brother, and to be around his fans – which are Jacksons fans as well – it makes you feel good. It makes you feel that you’re part of Michael and that you’re being around what he loved. So I actually get a good feeling when I’m around Michael’s belongings and his fans and that whole thing. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel like my brother’s still alive – it’s a good feeling.