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Antunes, a longtime musical director and digital audio programmer who has worked in various capacities for artists ranging from Madonna and Justin Timberlake to Aerosmith and Jackson’s sister, Janet, was given unique access to the pop legend’s original multi-track master recordings and charged by King to create the musical backdrop for the show.

He spent a year re-designing and re-imagining dozens of Jackson’s greatest original recordings. The result is Jackson’s remixed vocals set to the music of a live band.

Epic Records on Nov. 21 will release “Immortal,” which comes as both a double CD version or as a single disc. The double-disc offering features 37 tracks in all, condensing more than 40 of Jackson’s greatest original recordings into a compilation that allows listeners to experience his music in a new way.

The album’s music consists of remixed/remastered studio recordings, not live, and contains newly discovered outtakes such as alternate take on the Jackson 5’s “ABC” and a vocals from a choir that Jackson recorded for “They Don’t Really Care About Us.”

And just as the Beatles and Elvis shows found a home in Vegas, so will “Immortal,” which is to stop for several weeks in December at the Mandalay Bay Arena as part of the tour schedule. It will be accompanied by a special “Fan Fest” experience. Eventually, a new and different Michael Jackson-themed show will be created by Cirque du Soleil and take up permanent residence at the Mandalay Bay Theatre in Las Vegas. That show is being created now and is to open in 2013.

The tour will be in London, Ontario, and Toronto later this week. The next U.S. date is in Seattle next month. The show has performances scheduled through July 2012 with additional dates to be added. Following the North American leg, the tour will move to Europe.

Antunes said Jackson fans won’t be disappointed.

“There’s majestic, joyous moments, and then there’s moments that make you remember when Michael was a kid and he was singing with his brothers and it brings tears to your eyes,” he said. “You’re filled with so much wonder and enjoyment with the theatrics that Cirque brings to the table.

“It’s really incredible.”




AP Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody in New York contributed to this report. Follow Mike Householder at