Wow, what did I see? Experiencing the Blue Man Group's new touring show at the Fox Theatre is a singular sensation. I've never seen anything like it, nor could I imagine anyone else duplicating it!
Their mix of music, technology, showmanship and humor is a harmonious combo platter that will amaze and delight all ages. It's a feel-good show that shuts out the world for an hour and 35 minutes -- leave your woes at the door, forget your troubles and get happy.
Three bald and blue men -- humanoids from space maybe? -- entertain with such skill and create a party atmosphere that doesn't leave anyone out. They really did have the audience at hello (of course it was on a screen because they don't talk!).
The group's founders wanted to celebrate the human spirit through music, science, art and theater, and for the past 25 years, their concept has grown into a full-fledged phenomenon. Various sanctioned groups around the country have pleased millions. And St. Louis embraced them like the fun relatives who make any family event memorable -- the opening night crowd Tuesday left grinning ear-to-ear.
This touring show, which runs until Dec. 2, has new content but also features classic Blue Man favorites, with a spectacular new high-impact video design. The eye-popping multimedia dazzles, and is well integrated into the production -- but the human interaction doesn't take a back seat.
Accomplished musicians blend tribal rhythms with some popular music riffs, and the crowd easily gets into the groove. The Blue Man Group's penchant for making music out of such objects as tubes, plumbing and futuristic-looking instruments is what sets them apart, creating their signature sound.
The fact that they don't speak a word --- using their expressive eyes to communicate feelings and reactions -- is another hallmark. But how funny they are took me by surprise. As silly as the Three Stooges and with smart, topical humor as cutting-edge as "The Daily Show," they drew laughs from the scrolled opening, and took off from there.
Audience participation is also integral to their schtick, and the unsuspecting people pulled from the aisles were good sports, particularly a sweet mom whose bit involved Twinkies. I spoke briefly with her after the show, and she was not a plant -- they handed her a Polaroid snapped when she reacted to her selection.
The Blue Men on the road includes Chris Smith, Russell Rinker, James Marlowe, Shane Andries, Patrick Newton and Kalen Allmandinger, so you don't know which three you actually see on stage. Six musicians in neon are on raised platforms backing them up, and there is a crackerjack crew off and on stage helping them out.
They save the best for last, for the finale is indescribable bliss. It's Fourth of July and New Year's Eve in one -- the ultimate dance party. We were like little kids on a playground, pushing around giant glowing balls over our heads as paper streams showered the theater.
You just have to be there to absorb the positive vibe these merry men bring to every performance.
At a glance
What: The Blue Man Group
When: through Dec. 2 -- Tuesday- Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; Sunday evenings at 7:30; matinee Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. There is no performance on Thanksgiving.
Tickets: $15-$75; visit www.metrotix.com or call 314-534-1111 or visit the Fox box office.