Cirque du Soleil brings Jacko back
Michael Jackson’s musos are still playing his songs, writes Darren Cartwright
IRQUE du Soleil went on a recruiting mission that any AFL or NRL club would be proud of when it put together an orchestra for its Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour.
Without having to worry about salary cap rules, the organisers drew up a hit list of musicians who had worked extensively with Jackson and began cold-calling them.
Among the five former Jackson musicians who signed on for the Cirque du Soleil production was accomplished and well-travelled bass player Don Boyette.
Jonathan Moffett, Jackson’s drummer for 30 years, also joined the tour.
Boyette played close to 200 shows as part of Jackson’s band on the Bad and Dangerous world tours in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
The US musician has also played with or behind The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and Joe Walsh among others.
Boyette had all but given up his nomadic lifestyle as a touring musician until the day Cirque du Soleil put forward its proposal to honour Jackson’s music.
‘‘They were very aggressive about getting us involved,’’ Boyette says.
‘‘When I got the call to say they were putting it together, it was an honour and it was a way of giving thanks to Michael.
‘‘This is pretty extraordinary and an amazing opportunity and they’ve done well putting the musicians together.
‘‘I am just one out of five musicians who played with him and it brings a lot of depth and integrity to the show.’’
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour opened its Brisbane run last night.
The show brings to life 35 memorable Jackson tunes. The orchestra syncs their The musicians (above) who perform live for Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson The Immortal World Tour. Right: Guitarist Desiree Bartlett. performance to Jackson’s raw vocals, which have been stripped from original multi-track master recordings from his albums.
Boyette says the musicians who played with Jackson and are on The Immortal Tour were more than just part of his entourage. He says Jackson was very personable; the musicians shared not just the stage with the singersongwriter, but also a close friendship.
‘‘It’s pretty special to be involved,’’ Boyette says.
‘‘We were not only Michael’s band members, we were also his friends and it brings a special element to the show.’’
Last night’s show was also the second anniversary of The Immortal Tour.
Boyette has been with the tour since day one and says this is the musicians’ way of paying their respects to Jackson and keeping his music alive.
‘‘It will be a sad day whenever we stop playing this show,’’ Boyette says.
‘‘He always said he wanted to do something with Cirque du Soleil, but unfortunately he never got around to it.’’
Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour plays the Brisbane Entertainment Centre tonight and tomorrow at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 4pm and 8pm.