Toronto – As Uncle Frank drove us in his minivan towards the barren wasteland that is known as the Sound Academy, we casually glanced to our left to see yellow tents pointing skywards with the sign “Cirque De Soleil” prominently featured all over the grounds. Dancers dressed in odd costumes frolicking around all night long? “That would be interesting to see, I thought”.
After witnessing Empire of the Sun‘s mind blowing audio/visual spectacular on Tuesday night, its fair to say I may have just gotten my own theatrical thrill.
One of my favorite shows, The Mighty Boosh, starts off with the line “Come with us on a journey through time and space” and that is exactly how I felt when Luke Steele took to the the smoked filled stage dressed as a lovechild of Ziggy Stardust, some random characters from the movie Stargate and an ancient African tribe. With video projections showing images of worlds away, Steele and his troupe of dancers spent the next eighty minutes barraging all our senses with color, movement and of course, music. Both the singer and the dancers went through multiple costume changes ranging from the weird (space aged geishas?) to the absurd (some kind of horse-dolphin hybrid? yes..)
Now all of these visuals probably wouldn’t of worked if the music of band was not up to par. Despite a rather small catalog consisting of one whole album, the band was able to construct a rather long show by creating highly dance-able extended versions of their hit songs such as Standing on the Shores and Half Mast. Some of the filler tracks on the album did make it’s way into the show, but whenever the music didn’t do it for you, all you had to do was just watch everything going on. Time passes quickly. Luke Steele proved himself to be a rather entertaining lead, nailing a lovely guitar solo, having some nice banter (even bringing out his child at one point) and generally keeping things interesting on stage when he wasn’t play acting or dancing.
Our journey with the band ended with the track Walking on a Dream and just like that, they were gone. It was all over and we were back to reality where the colors suddenly don’t seem so bright and vivid.
Don’t let the high ticket price scare you away, Empire of the Sun is a show well worth experiencing. I can’t wait until they come back with another album and more material.