Blue to the bone 

Blue Man Group
Alltel Arena
Feb. 18

More Buster Keaton than Buster Poindexter, the Blue Man Group has an innocent, almost childlike approach to its version of rock ’n ’roll theatrics. The wide-eyed trio brought their gleaming cobalt complexions to Alltel Arena, displaying something of a multimedia mishmash that left some scratching their heads and others screaming for more.

Incorporating some of the more entertaining bits from the last tour, the boys in blue debuted their latest creation, “How To Be A Megastar Tour 2.0,” with all the clamor of full-fledged heavy metal heroes. Without ever speaking a word, the three — backed by a hard-rocking band of musicians — showed the audience of 6,147 the true power of percussion. Beating on everything from an upended piano and PVC pipes to something that resembled a mini-trampoline over the course of a 90-minute show, the group pounded out a performance that was equal parts comedy and chaos.

Borrowing an audience member’s credit card to purchase a rock star instruction manual, the trio proceeded to demonstrate a number of stereotypical concert movements before getting around to performing an actual song. Female vocalist Adrian Hartley powered through a chilling version of “Up to the Roof,” accompanied by the Blue Men on an instrument made up of varying lengths of plastic pipe. The musical segments were occasionally interrupted for video interludes, including a comedic infomercial starring Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” pitching his “How To Be A Megastar” training program. The crowd also learned, via video, the true meaning of the devil horns hand gesture; the symbolic salute to rock ’n’ roll is, in actuality, a tribute to a heretofore unknown musical icon, Floppie the Banjo Clown, whose spikey hairstyle inspired the hand sign.

Some of the songs, and their accompanying animated videos, verged on Pink Floyd-ish symbolism, but how serious can you take a band of musicians who paint themselves blue? Hartley, wearing an electric (literally) dress, took the forefront again for a cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” that matched her outfit in voltage. A video and light show, done in honor of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, proved subtle but stirring. Hartley returned to the stage for the finale, a version of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” that would have made even Roger Daltrey stand up and take notice.

DJ Mike Relm opened the show, as well as backing up the Blue crew during their set with his samplings of staples like Hendrix and Simon and Garfunkel. With his black suit, white shirt and skinny tie, he looked like something out of “Reservoir Dogs,” going so far as to play a clip of the movie he edited to include his own likeness. His freestyle scratching and video manipulations drew laughs and cheers, laying the groundwork for an evening of rock revelry.

— Tim Taylor



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