Blue Man Group without the mystery
The Blue Man has a rock band and a concert tour, and at times during the show featuring the three Blue Man characters Wednesday at the Wiltern, he seemed as surprised about it all as anyone.
But that’s the point of the Blue Man (the collective name for the three azure-dipped figures).
He/it/they is an eternal innocent to whom everything is new, everything a discovery. These PVC pipes make sounds when you bang on them? Wow! Let’s rock!
That sense of wonder is the essence of the permanent Blue Man Group shows, and it translates well to rock concert setting, often a battleground pitting innocence against cynicism, even without the non-musical Dada performance art of the regular shows.
The tuned PVC tubes, big bass drum and even a propped-up baby grand piano body banged on with large mallets anchored and colored the music in front of the accomplished rock band’s more conventional (but also percussion-heavy) sound. Songs from “The Complex,” the Blue Man Group’s recent album exploring themes of isolation and identity with guest singers providing the vocals, gave a loose thread to the evening.
The presence of singers, though, didn’t really click Wednesday.
Tracy Bonham, Venus Hum’s Annette Strean (both opening acts on the tour) and band member Peter Moore handled the duties, ostensibly voicing the inner thoughts of the silent Blue Man as well as leading celebratory versions of such numbers as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”
But there was no real context or narrative to integrate the singers. It was all entertaining, but a show like this calls for magic and mystery.