The Blue Man Group
March 04, 2004
The Blue Man Group mixed music, street performance, crowd interaction, and comedy in their thoroughly modern sensory extravaganza.
Like Cirque Du Soleil, The Blue Man Group's music was as essential to the performance as the performers themselves Friday night at The Luxor Theatre. Spacey surf-guitar tones alive somewhere between California and Texas floated above driving tribal rhythms. Power chords and synthesizers existed beautifully with rave grooves, and this was just the work of the side musicians. The Blue Man Group were a percussive outfit, and they had a bunch of self-created instruments to make their concert/show a unique experience. Here's a cross section:
1. Fiberglass poles that created a satisfying "swoosh" as they sliced through the air.
2. PVC pipes arranged in low, mid and high octaves were struck with closed-cell foam rubber paddles. If Gary Numan and an alien had a drumming baby, the PVC sound is the soft, unimposing hum that he/she would eventually make.
3. The Drumbone was a spin-off of the trombone—its sliding tube-within-a-tube design allowed it to be lengthened and shortened, creating a variety of pitches. Playing the Drumbone was an elemental exercise, but that's why it was successful. When we watch a trumpeter or trombonist opening and closing valves, it's easy to get lost in their musicianship and forget how the different sounds get made in the first place. The Blue Man Group stripped away the pretense so the audience knew exactly how the music was made.
4. Most impressive was the drum wall, a two-story structure with seven percussion stations. Two drummers wore neon face paint and flanked the diagonally positioned blue men. One beat a very large drum with a mallet. Like all the music this night, the drum's sound was positioned between all the others so the music didn't become a throbbing mish-mash.
There's more elements to a Blue Man performance, but they'll have to give you the whole story. They don't really talk, though.