Back when we were but poor students/fledgling faculty in Chicago, The Admiral and I appreciated the many cultural opportunities of the area but rarely actually got to partake in them. One of the few live performances we attended was at a small theater on the fringes of Boys' Town, where this little underground troupe was putting on a combination concert/art installation/multimedia spectacle. They called themselves Blue Man Group.
Fast forward about ten years, three Pentium ads and a Vegas show later, and most of the country is familiar with the Blue Men. But I was still surprised to see that the country was familiar with them. As we headed into Southaven, Mississippi for the Blue Man Group's "How To Be A Megastar" arena show last night, the traffic was backed up for three exits. We were worried we were going to miss half the show until we realized that the entire traffic jam was caused by people trying to get to the DeSoto Civic Center, just like us. We got into the packed parking lot at 8:20, twenty minutes after the scheduled start time, and there was still a line of people behind us. After a quick rest stop (required by both pregnant woman and Guinness fan), we slid into our seats just as the show began.
I was definitely entertained by what was going on on-stage, but I have to admit, I was equally intrigued by the audience. I couldn't figure out where all of these surrealism-loving Southerners had come from. It seemed like a fairly even mix between yuppie couples (I guess that was us), young-tending-toward-hippieish families, high schoolers and late-middle-age art teachers. And yet, even Caucasianer than a Memphis hockey game.
I bought the tickets to the show as a birthday gift for The Admiral, who enjoyed himself immensely. Anytime you can combine Pink Floyd and physics, he's a happy man. I had fun as well, although I could have stood for more Blue Mannishness and fewer interludes involving the flesh-toned members of the band. I have to say, though, when I heard the opening bars of "Teenage Wasteland," I cringed thinking about the Tommy Tutone-ish male singer trying to tackle the job, but the vocal duties were instead given to the non-Blue woman of the group. And damn, she wailed. I firmly believe that only throaty alto chicks should tackle The Who covers from now on.
After "Rock Star Movement #383: The Fake Ending," "Rock Star Movement #278: A Quiet Moment Of Reflection," and "Rock Star Movement #37: Introducing The Band," the show wrapped up with a big, bright, strobey finale that had the entire audience on their feet (per "Rock Star Movement #18: Jumping Up And Down"). We left the show still feeling a little dazed, both by the performance and the idea that thousands of midsoutherners came to see it.