Three little men immerse us in a big world of sight and sound
MGM Resorts International
There is no show like the Blue Man Group, in long-term residency at the Luxor Hotel and Casino. It would be hard to make one like it now because somebody already made the Blue Man Group. Unless their origin story (springing from the minds of founding Blue Men Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton) is a cover-up. The Blue Men could just as easily have landed here in a flying saucer, or been conjured from our collective subconscious through a mix of science and magic.
The Blue Men are three earless, hairless humanoids with bright blue skin, dressed in black turtlenecks. Their eyes are wide and expressive, but they never crack a smile. They exist in a state of intense curiosity as they explore the wonderland of pipes, gears, screens, lights, and noises that they find themselves in. It’s no surprise that the Blue Man Group is a great show to bring children to – in addition to the captivating lights and colors, the Blue Men themselves are perpetual children at play.
These Blue Men are the luckiest kids in the world, because what child doesn’t like to bang things and be loud? Their world is full of Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions for making noise. Spider-like cymbal kits. Drums that emit smoke rings or splash neon liquid. Organ chimes that dangle from the ceiling. Xylophones made from a labyrinth of PVC pipes, either table-mounted or on giant backpacks, that the Blue Men hit with paddles.
The music is deep and tribal, full of low-toned percussion and catchy melodies. This is not math-rock or prog-rock bloviating. A lot of effort has been made to determine what rhythms echo the heartbeat, and what harmonies speak to something universal. The Blue Men perform with a backing band dressed from head-to-toe in neon-painted body suits, like “Mad Max” meets “Tron.” Screens behind them broadcast words and instructions, from meditations on the function of the eye, to a litany of euphemisms for the buttocks. “Bounce House,” “Juggle Twins,” “Sit Biscuit,” “Subwoofer,” “Horn Section,” “Life’s Work” … that must have been a fun brainstorming session.
One particularly fun bit involves the “Drumbone” – large-bore PVC pipes that one Blue Man hits rhythmically with drum sticks, while the other two adjust the length of the PVC along slides, like a trombone. It takes all three Blue Men working together to make a song out of this limited instrument with a four-note range. Part of the fun is watching the gears turn in their heads as they figure it out. Once they do lock it in, the simple melody explodes into a riotous rock song with an infectious tribal beat.
Like children, they are also hysterical. Consider their storied ability to catch marshmallows in their mouths, fired from a special marshmallow gun. Mostly, though, the humor derives from their own inquisitiveness and awkward attempts to cooperate, like Three Mute Stooges minus the violence. If you have a particularly strong verbal reaction to a gag, or if God forbid your cell phone goes off, expect the Blue Men to notice, and to focus their penetrating curiosity on you. There is no fourth wall; the audience is as much a part of the Blue Men’s environment as the gizmos and LED breastplates.
Celebration is also key to the Blue Man Group. They never smile, but they do throw their arms in the air as if to say “Touchdown!” at big applause moments. The crowd-interaction coup de grace comes when the confetti starts firing, and streamers are tossed into the audience from the stage to be pulled from the front of the house to the back, until the audience is all connected in a tangle of crepe paper, as if tied together under a giant brain. Hey, that’s just how you do, when you’re Blue.
Verdict: Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel and Casino is a unique, family-friendly audio-visual extravaganza. They don’t crack a smile; you will crack many.