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SHOW REVIEW: Blue Man Group
Saturday, October 4, 2003 - Memorial Coliseum (Portland, Oregon)

By: Alex Steininger

With openers Tracy Bonham and Venus Hum along for the ride (both of who also perform with the headliner during their set), the idiosyncratic theater troupe-turned-musicians the Blue Man Group hit Portland, Oregon on October 4, 2003.

Playing the Memorial Coliseum this time around (a few months prior they played at the Keller Auditorium to 2,000 people, compared to the 7,000 or so at the Memorial Coliseum), the band put on what few musicians do these days -- a show.

Lights, cameras, and plenty of action, Blue Man Group really do take the show on the road, with a revolving cast of 30 comprising the core 3 Blue Men who perform each show.

With this show being the 5th show, and the first week of a 37-city, 8-week tour, the crew had the show down pat.

Playing the material off of their sophomore full-length, The Complex (Lava/Atlantic), which Bonham and Venus Hum also perform on, the band blew through each track with renewed vigor, a real appreciation and excitement for both the crowd's enthusiasm and the thrill of performing live. Something that amazed me at the Keller show earlier this year, but, with relentless touring wearing on anyone, it was something I didn't think they could continue to do. At least not at the energy level they exhibited at the Keller show.

I was wrong.

The Memorial Coliseum, with three times as many people, was even more electrifying, more on fire, and even more of a show.

Actors, musicians, a combination of the both, or simply guys that enjoy attention - it doesn't matter, 'cause they pull it off.

With Bonham and Venus Hum performing their parts from the record (Venus Hum lead singer Annette Strean and Bonham singing, and the rest of the Venus Hum band playing their respective instruments), the songs came to life as the play unfolded.

Loud pops, plenty of percussion and drums booming like thunder through the arena, and a nearly seizure-causing light show, and Blue Man Group established themselves as the best live SHOW on the planet.

Whether you love their music or not, it doesn't matter, because the show is so engaging, the eye-candy so mesmerizing, and, well, the music so heart-stopping and exciting, so unpredictable (even though it is predictable), you WILL learn to love the music and the show after seeing one performance.

I have seen two. I am a fan. I am sold. I even listen to their record for pleasure -- sometimes. That is, if there is one downfall to this band, to this play, to this performance, to it all, it is the fact that after one live show the CD seems unimportant, lacking, and flat. Taking things to the next level, they change your perspective of it all and the show becomes the music, and the music becomes the soundtrack to the play.

If you go in not liking the music, you'll come out loving the music, and be disappointed in the show. But, you will still love the show and listen to the CD in anxious anticipation to see the show again. I can guarantee you this.

I'll give the show an A. It really is incredible.

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