Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blue Man Group: How To Be A Megastar Tour

Last Sunday night we went to see the Blue Man Group in Dayton and it was a fabulous show. I have always been intrigued by how wildly creative they are and especially fascinated with their unusual musical instruments.

This particular tour features a large live rock and roll band and a lot of music, inclusive of both classic rock and some fine original music. Their version of The Who's "Teenage Wasteland" is especially great.

There are two primary themes to the show. The most visceral is the unfolding parody of the cult of celebrity, specifically in the music biz, which they launch off of the concept of the three blue men sending off for and receiving a mailorder manual and video with instructions on how to become a megastar. Very, very funny stuff.

The secondary theme, more subtle and thoughtful, unfolds in the original music and video segments, exploring the postmodern idea of feeling alienated and dehumanized by mounting contemporary societal pressures and the pace of technological advancements. These themes include the emotional and spiritual aspects of being overwhelmed by the amount of information, feeling alone in crowds, searching for love, the fear of reaching out to others in meaningful ways, and the pressure to suppress individuality for the sake of conforming to social conventions.

Artistically, some of these ideas succeed better than others, but the juxtaposition of these ideas with outrageous humor and bold artistic gestures and images was loads of fun.

It is a smallish venue, the Nutter Center in Dayton, and we had excellent seats some 32 rows from the stage, next to the sound board The show was mixed on a Yamaha PM1D with minimal outboard gear employed. Audio Analysts, one of the best companies in the industry, provided all of the tour support on the audio side. The volume was completely adequate but even at its most exuberant never approached the sound pressure levels usually heard at a live rock show. And the mix was quite good, very listenable, especially for a show in an athletic arena. Sorry to say, I'm not sure who the lighting company was, but the lighting design work was great.

Other show highlights included great performances by the band and extensive utilization of some of their unique self-designed musical instruments such as the tubulum and the drumbone made from PVC and the airpoles, which are made of various sizes of steel whip antennae. Very cool. Also, I especially enjoyed the boisterous use of the suspended concert bass drum and the open grand piano soundboard, both of which were pummelled mercilessly with giant sized mallets. Great video and animation, as well. There also had confetti cannons, TV headgear, and some crazy live video shennigans with microcameras inserted into various objects and orifices. Wild fun. It was a very enjoyable evening.

I found this pick underneath one of the seats in the row behind us as we were leaving.


Natala said...

A friend of mine got to work with the Blue Man group for a while, he loved every second, they are amazing artists on and off the stage :)

Heather said...

We saw Blue Man Group in Vegas and LOVED them.