Friday, March 10, 2017 | 1 a.m.
It’s been around since 2000 but I’ve seen the Blue Man Group perform in Las Vegas only twice. The first was one of the opening productions of Blue Man Group Live at Luxor some 18 years ago, and everyone in that big theater—now home to Criss Angel Mindfreak—walked away wowed, perhaps not fully understanding the whimsical oddball antics of those three blue, bald, Twinkie-loving weirdos.
More than 2 million people worldwide visit a Blue Man show each year, either in a city with a permanent installation like Boston, Chicago, New York, Orlando or Las Vegas or as part of a touring production. The company celebrated its 25th anniversary in November by turning the Empire State Building blue for a night and partying at the Highline Ballroom.
On the Strip, the show has relocated from Luxor to Venetian to Monte Carlo and now back to Luxor, where it has lived since 2015 in the smallest Vegas venue it’s seen thus far, an 820-seat Atrium Level theater surrounded by restaurants and the Bodies and Titanic exhibition attractions. Blue Man has become an institution in Las Vegas, and so it was time to return to show to see if could still pack the creative wallop it hammered us with almost 20 years ago.
BMG has always been about combining music, comedy and technology in a thoughtful, energetic way, and that hasn’t changed. The driving, tribal soundtrack, performed live, is still the engine that keeps the show running, and you really feel it when the music kicks in within this smaller space. It’s the quieter moments that struggle a bit, when the theater’s intimacy allows you to hear other audience noises besides laughter and applause and that can take you out of the experience.
The humor also hasn’t changed, which is generally a good thing. The somewhat icky Twinkie gag is still a fan favorite, even if it’s not as clever as new segments that play on our utter dependency on mobile phones and compare us to insects following marching orders. Custom-made percussion instruments that blow giant smoke rings are super-cool, and the grand finale now stretches out through several powerful segments that feel more dramatic than I remember from my first BMG experience. The performers’ interaction with the audience seems amped up as well, and you still get to help close the show with a tissue-paper rave-up.
Blue Man Group’s longevity in Las Vegas is a testament to the show’s ability to change just enough to keep things fresh and keep visitors coming back, even if, like me, they’ve had this fun before. It plays nightly at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at Luxor and you can find tickets at 702-262-4400 or luxor.com.