Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Feeling Blue

This evening we went to see the Blue Man Group in concert, a traveling show for their new CD 'The Complex'. As we've come to expect from these guys, the show was incredible.

Tracey Bonham opened the show... I hadn't really heard any of her stuff before, other than the one single the star-maker machinery pasted across every radio station and eMpTyVee a few years ago. It turns out she is very talented... she has an amazing dynamic range, and really put on a good show. I picked up a CD after the show, and I'm going to look up her older stuff.

Venus Hum was second, and other than their contribution to 'The Complex' (a cover of the old disco classic 'I feel love'), I'd never heard of them. They aren't really music that I would choose to listen to, but they put on a very good show... they were clearly having alot of fun, and the lead singer (a small woman with a very big voice) was great... she is from the Portland area, and her family was in the audience, and she sang a song about/for her grandmother; I'm always impressed when I see performers who are still human, instead of thinking they are fucking rock stars who are somehow above it all (which shows a clear lack of perspective, since most 'rock stars' du jour end up playing the county fair a few years later. Fame is usually a side effect of advertising, not of talent).

The Blue Men put on a show that lived up to the standards of their other performances... as usual they incorporated alot of intelligent humor, technology, and visual presentations with their music. Tracey Bonham sang a number of the songs, and some bloke I didn't recognize sang the rest. They had a pretty big band; 3 Blue Men, 3 other percussionists, 2 guitars, 1 bass, and the nameless singing bloke on keyboards. The Blue Men had an instrument I hadn't seen before, a modified bass version of their tubulum... this one looked like the ends of the tubes were closed, and it was played with normal drum sticks (the tubuli I've seen before have open-ended tubes, and are played with a paddle of sorts).

I've always enjoyed the presentations they project behind them as they are playing, and tonight was no exception... some of the songs essentially had music videos to accompany them, while others had visuals that complemented the music without explicitly following it.

I was a bit worried about how accessible this show would be to people who hadn't already experienced a Blue Man show; after seeing it, I don't think there is a problem. 'The Complex' is basically a traveling version of their stationary shows, with more energy and more rock... their signature ethos and joy are clearly maintained.

We try to get to Vegas once a year to see Cirque du Soleil (always 'O' and sometimes 'Mystere') and the Blue Man Group and whatever else we happen to luck into, and it's always a blast, and it's always worth it. This was true of tonight's show as well, which makes it A Good Thing that they are traveling... bringing the show to people who might otherwise never see them. Go see it if you get the chance.