This is its first show conceived specifically for arenas.
"Le Cirque likes to take risks, and that is even more true this time around," Cirque du Soleil president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in an interview earlier this week.
"Immortal is really taking us elsewhere. It's an interpretation of a rock show by Cirque du Soleil. In seeing the show this week, we decided, Guy (Laliberte) and I, that this would start a new type of show."
Arena shows comprise a big market already occupied by global music stars such as Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and others, whose tour profits are enormous.
"There is big potential there," Lamarre said. "For us, our big challenge is to offer this type of show, but without having the star (Michael Jackson) there. We had to deal with those obstacles.
"We don't take anything for granted here. We are going into it with a lot of humility. This is a very risk undertaking for us, because we are hitting a new market and a way of touring that is very different to what we have done until now. But if we don't want to become stagnant, it's important to do it this way."
Dedicated to the creative universe of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour will tour Canada and then the U.S. for a year before moving on to Europe and Asia.
"We hope to tour for four years," Lamarre said. "People may not be aware of it, but there will be many foreign promoters from Asia, Japan, South America and Europe that will be in Montreal on Sunday night to see what the Circus is doing in the context of a rock show. The reaction in Montreal will surely have an influence on the show's longevity."
In North America, the promoters were fairly easy to convince, Lamarre admitted.
"We had a card up our sleeve in Michael Jackson," he said. "Michael Jackson is still extremely contemporary. And all of this is done following (the planned) concert (This Is It) that would have had huge success in London. He sold thousands of seats in 24 hours for his shows in London. And we experienced something similar when we sold tickets in North America. We sold more than $40 million in tickets in 24 hours. This is unheard of."
Though familiar with moving from city to city with the equipment for its show under the tent, the Cirque du Soleil had to adapt to new logistics for the arena tour. A promoter at the Bell Centre told Lamarre that the previous biggest production ever staged at that arena required 26 trucks to move in all the equipment. "We have 38," Lamarre said.