Instead of writing a review about this album, I decided that it might be a bit too dry, so instead I will talk about how i got it and the show I saw.
Yes, I know this was 14 years ago, but some things get etched in one’s mind and one of these shows will do that.
I was gifted tickets to the Blue Man Group show in Vegas back in 2003 I think and to my surprise, they were not the cheap seats. I’m a percussionist, well, a non-active one now. Anyway, I love me some drums and I have my mentors. This is a bit different, this is also about invention and I love what these guys come up with. Anyway, this show was when they were at the Luxor and for me the show started before we even got to the theater doors because we had to walk down a hall full of big statues of Anubis lining both sides and I’m into Egyptology too, so I knew this was going to be a party, I just didn’t know how intense a party.
So we were escorted down to our seats, further down and further down we went until we reached the fourth row from the front, (oh dear)! Hey, don’t these guys use a lot of paint and other wet stuff in their shows that ends up flying all over the place? I started to question if the fourth row was such a hot thing or not. (Turned out fine).
Before the show even started, they had some joke games, like announcing birthdays that weren’t true and some silly trivia. Then the show started, there were fascinating moments, plenty of humor and ok, there was one kind of dull moment, but every show has one, right?
Some of the unique instruments used throughout the show were: Air Poles – there are three different types all making a different effect or sound. These are played by waving them harshly in the air.
The PVC Instrument – this is a three person contraption. the sound is achieved by striking the PVC pipes with closed cell foam rubber paddles. The pitch is determined by the length of the tube. Here is a clip from the show I attended:
Tubulum – This is similar to the PVC Instrument, but is more in the bass range and struck with sticks.
Backpack Tubulum – This is the wearable version and allows for launching rockets of confetti while playing.
Drumbone – This is the device we have seen in the commercials. It is a percussive spin-off of the Trombone, but takes 3 people to operate.
Cimbalom – This is one of the non-invention instruments used. It is a traditional instrument from Hungry that is similar to the hammer dulcimer, but larger and with thicker strings. It is normally played gently with soft mallets, but Blue Man Group uses drum sticks for an edgier sound.
In the show I saw of course there was also a wall of rock drummers which is a two-story structure with 7 percussion stations, guitarists, keyboards, vocalists, etc.
There are a few interactive moments in the show as well, one involved pulling a member from the audience and having her come on stage to a table and sit with the Blue Men for a skit that was really funny. (It’s too much to go into the whole thing here and very visual anyway). Another moment was getting the audience to sing, by this time everyone was well involved in party mode. They started doing some covers to get the audience charged up, such as “Crazy Train by Ozzy Osborne” (with some comedy), a couple of other tunes I can’t recall exactly and then they did “Somebody To Love by the Jefferson Airplane” in its entirety for the main sing along which I was not expecting and was delighted because it’s one of my favorites. So those of us familiar with it were singing it at the top of our ability as the words were flashed up on a screen for the whole audience and it was rocked up a notch too. A couple more original numbers were done and then they came out wearing these different instruments:
I don’t know what these are called, but they fire lots of confetti and streamers. This is where they played “Baba O’Riley by The Who” and of course the crowd goes wild and sings along.
There was a point in the show where they use a tiny video camera to look down the throat of an audience member (not my favorite part) and this is where I realized the seats we had were a bit uncomfortable. Uh oh, they are coming into the audience towards my area! Slowly closer and closer until…..yup, the one with the camera is on me! (Thankfully, he had the forethought to block the visual feed until he had permission from whomever would choose to participate, so there was no overt pressure). Still, I would not permit to be part of such a thing because I am squeamish and as politely as possible, refused. They found someone else 2 rows behind me.
There is a DVD I have of a combination of their shows which also comes with a CD, which I still need to listen to, how did I miss that? Anyway, there are many sections on the DVD that were also part of the show I saw except for the guest star Tracey Bonham and the Venus Hum bit, that would have been cool. However, bits of the “How to be a rock star” were in it as well as the marshmallow act, etc.
At the end of the show it turns into a, as they used to say in the sixties, “a real freak-out” of a party. They really cut loose with lights and hard party rock type music and get the audience whipped up into a dance frenzy and then from every angle front and back during this they bury, and I do mean “bury” the audience in streamers! That only ads to the fun! Now you are groovin to the music and digging your way out of the streamers and then along with everyone else you find yourself taking what you dug out of and throwing it around at others as they are doing the same just having the time of our lives.
So I can say that hands down, it was one of the best shows, if not the best show I have ever been to in Vegas or anywhere else.
Naturally, one exits out afterwords (actually after the entire audience spends at least 10 minutes over what we should, shouting and demanding more as if we were not already exhausted) one passes by a strategically placed table full of merchandise, but also the “stars of the show” are hanging about for folks to meet them even though still in character (they don’t speak and they look at you funny). Naturally, I could not fight the urge to purchase something after a show like that and that is how I got this CD.
Now I’ll show you some clips of the show I attended:
Want to see what ends up happening towards end of the Blue Man Group show I was at? None of these videos here or above were taken by me.
Remember I mentioned being buried? Watch this whole video you’ll see it about 2 or 3 minutes in.