On a recent Friday night, I sat patiently in a dark gray seat in the Altria Theater alongside my parents as I awaited the start of the 8 p.m. show. My father whispered into my mom’s ear: “I’m surprised there aren’t more people here,” as he noted the surprising number of vacant seats. Still, the building was filled with energy and anticipation that radiated from the crowd.
Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson is the self-proclaimed number one Michael Jackson impersonation show in the world. As a lifelong Michael Jackson aficionado, I was quite skeptical that any one show could fully capture the spectrum of Michael Jackson’s seemingly endless musical talents. However, my doubts were immediately forgotten as the show opened up with an electrifying reenactment of Michael Jackson’s famous 1995 MTV Awards performance, which captivated everyone.
Following the opening act, the show effortlessly continued to amaze the crowd, playing hit after hit of Michael Jackson’s wide-ranging arsenal of musical works. With the Motown flair of “Billie Jean,” the pop-rock crossover influences of “Bad” and “Dirty Diana,” along with heartfelt emotional performances of “Human Nature” and “Man in the Mirror,” all aspects of Jackson’s solo career were put on display. There were moments where you had to restrain yourself from getting up and dancing along and other times where you could do nothing but sit back and admire the performance being given on stage. Everett Patterson thought, “It was really entertaining and unexpectedly realistic.” Vanessa Patterson also added, “It was excellent… It was almost like if they studied his [Michael Jackson’s] moves and mannerisms to the point where I thought I was really watching him.”
On ticketmaster.com, Invincible received an impressive 4.4 out of 5 stars. “[It] was a great show. Really had all the moves down. Anyone that liked Michael should see this show,” says one viewer who saw the show in Charlotte, North Carolina. Another review says, “The dancers were amazing and the show was wonderful. MJ would be proud of his fan base and this tribute if he were still alive.”
While the vast majority of the reviews were positive, there were a few people who were not very impressed, “The dancing and performers were great, but sound was terrible and there was way too much down time in between songs.” Another unsatisfied viewer commented: “Besides the performers, it was horrible… They would play about 2 or 3 Michael Jackson songs then the band would play some jazz sounding song or the drummer would do some rapping. I paid to see a Michael Jackson tribute, not some band playing other stuff.”
While I did not have any complaints about the sound quality, I do believe that there were times where the breaks in between action lagged on for too long. The show just did not provide a consistent flow. The band in the background would go on and play music while the next impersonator was getting prepared for the next scene (the show rotated three impersonators throughout the performance). What made this unappealing is that an intense performance given by one of the performers would be followed up by a four-minute interlude by the band. I thought that the most glaring flaw in the production though, was the failed attempt to recreate the Jackson 5 era. In my opinion, none of the impersonators had the resemblance of Michael during his teenage years. However, the worst part of it was the other background dancers that were supposed to represent the other members of the Jackson 5 all sported tacky afro wigs which looked to be straight out of Party City.
It seemed as if they squeezed in the Jackson 5 scenes at the last minute, and it was the one part of the production that did not feel authentic. I will say that the Jackson 5 segments were a very minor part of the show, and much more casual Michael Jackson fans will most likely not be as critical as I on this part of the production.
With all that said, I thought the show did an outstanding job with its performances that highlighted Michael Jackson’s solo career. The choreography was impeccable, and performers were precise and absolutely incredible. There were moments in the show where I was blown away by the accuracy of the impersonators in both their singing and dancing. One impersonator especially, Pete Carter, immediately won over the crowd with his energetic dance moves during songs such as “Billie Jean,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Thriller.”
He had many people in their audience up on their feet and grooving along and exchanged high fives with the people in the front row. I never before had seen someone impersonate the King of Pop with such effortlessness. Nothing ever seemed to be scripted, and at times it appeared that he was almost improvising his dance moves to further impress the audience. My favorite moment of the night was delivered by the vocals of another impersonator, Jeffrey Perez, during his performance of “Man in the Mirror.” I remember getting goosebumps while he dropped to the floor in dramatic fashion as he proceeded to sing the chorus. Everybody was on their feet by the end of the song.
Overall, I would give this show a 4.5 out of five stars. The performances were truly spectacular, and the only thing preventing it from receiving a perfect rating was the lack of flow in between performances and the small part where they did their Jackson 5 segment. This show is great for all ages. I recommend Invincible for any occasion, whether it is time with the family or a date night out. Even if you consider yourself to only be a slight fan of Michael Jackson, you would be foolish to miss it.
All photos credited to the Facebook page of Invincible.