Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
The Blue Man Group were recently at the Marina Civic Center – doing their wonderfully weird show for Panama City area fans. Friend of 850ME, Andy, made it to one of the shows and was nice enough to send a show review our way….
I want to start this review by making an odd comparison between two bands that have absolutely nothing in common. By the end of the review though, the comparison will make sense, at least I hope it will.
In 2005, I got to see Velvet Revolver two times in two days. I didn’t know I was going to see them twice, because the second show they were a last minute substitution for another band on Ozzfest. The day before, my best friend Austin and I drove to Jacksonville and saw them in a small theater. We watched them play a two hour set, then went back to our hotel and awoke early the next day. We drove down to West Palm Beach to go to Ozzfest.
There were a myriad of bands on the bill for Ozzfest. Velvet Revolver was tapped to replace Iron Maiden – due to the backbiting going on between the management of the Iron Maiden and Sharon Osbourne. So, Velvet Revolver now was the first headliner. They came out before Ozzy and did the EXACT SAME SHOW they had done the day before in Jacksonville. They wore the same outfits, the set list was the same, and Scott Weiland even “improvised” the same dialogue with the band members between songs. This is something that a band like Velvet Revolver could do.
Blue Man Group, I don’t think, could ever replicate the same show twice. I am sure they have a planned set list, and a certain way that they would like things to go throughout the show. However, their show is interactive and they have to make concessions as to how the crowd responds. The flickering lights, the sign telling the audience what to do (and whether or not it’s being done), and most importantly the audience members reaction when they’ve been honored to be included within the show itself.
There were two intervals where an audience member was taken onstage to be part of the show. (One of whom was a friend’s sister.) Both times, said audience member got a souvenir, which unlike a t-shirt you could get at a typical rock and roll show, is unique to a show like Blue Man Group.
Another incident involved an audience member showing up late, during an intense percussive interval. The Civic Center lights were turned back on, shone upon them, as was a camera with a really bright light. Their face was shown on a big screen on stage.
The Blue Man Group puts a lot of thought into their show. You can tell. If you ever get a chance, if they’re ever in your area, go see them. There’s music, there’s comedy, and there’s art – but most importantly, there’s pure entertainment.
P.S. I am sure, if anyone has ever watched any BMG clips on YouTube, that there is always someone in the crowd that yells “Freebird” for which they are always prepared. In all actuality, this tends to happen at all rock concerts. Well, BMG is no different. I am sure it started as a joke when the group formed, before someone realized that it’s not just three men covered in blue paint. They actually do have a backing band.
Well, this show did not disappoint. Some yokel did yell “Freebird” and the guitarist started playing. Within the first three or four notes, one of the men held up a lighter, as is the custom when any band does play “Freebird.” Well, about 2 seconds after he held the lighter aloft, one of his fellow Blue Men squashed that idea with a fire extinguisher.