(Disclaimer – I was provided complimentary tickets to Blue Man Group by Des Moines Performing Arts)
People are awesome.
Seriously, though. Watch the Winter Olympics. People around the world are doing some of the coolest things that nature probably never intended for us to do with our bodies and minds. That thought kept coming to me on Tuesday night when I saw the opening night of the Blue Man Group‘s stay in Des Moines.
For those unfamiliar with Blue Man Group, they’re a trio of “humanoid” creatures with bald heads and blue skin. They have musical and comedic tendencies with special attention paid to percussion. The trio are backed by a band who while talented, are relegated to the shadows.
“BMG” has been a fixture in places like Las Vegas and New York City for years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had opportunities to see them only to pass on the offer. After last night’s performance, I won’t be making that mistake again.
BMG is well known for taking random items and turning them into beautiful pieces of percussion, most notably, PVC piping (the famous “drumbone” makes an appearance). This was well on display from the beginning of the show, straight to the end. In between, I laughed about as hard as I’ve ever laughed at a show at the Civic Center.
The best part of the BMG show is that it’s very interactive with the audience. On two occasions, audience members are brought on stage to take part in the fun, one of which included an awkward, yet hilarious triple date with the men in blue.
BMG doesn’t speak a word during the show or at any point while in character. There are a few interludes where there’s spoken instructions and scene setting, but otherwise, the music and the physical comedy does the talking. If you were to ever ask a Blue Man for his autograph, instead of getting a name, he would wipe his thumb somewhere on his head and give you a blue smudge.
It’s hard to choose a favorite aspect of a BMG show. On one hand, the comedy is physical in nature, but also funny in its subtlety. The Blue Men are sometimes fascinated by technology, but in the charming way that your grandfather would look at an iPhone. On the other hand, the musicality of the BMG is incredible. The thought process of figuring out how to make things like PVC pipe into instruments alone is genius, but the execution is what is truly mind-boggling.
The show runs more than 90 minutes with no intermission and you don’t realize how quickly the time flies. You’re being continually stimulated visually and audibly. The music makes you want to dance and the comedy makes you wish the show were three-hours longer. There’s a great finale that will have the entire audience on their feet participating. Also, if you’re in the first two rows for the performance, you’re considered to be in the “splash zone” and you’ll receive a complimentary poncho. Seriously.
Blue Man Group is easily one of the funniest and most engaging shows I’ve ever seen at the Civic Center. It is great fun for all ages and there’s truly something for everyone. I actually encourage you to bring your kids, especially if they’re in their early years of discovering music. If they haven’t fallen in love with music yet, this will set them on their way. Plus, they’ll get to see some of the great things that their creativity can bring out. They may even learn a valuable lesson very early:
People are awesome.