Tuesday, 13 December 2011

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Blue Man Group in Las Vegas

I'll confess that I don't really understand the Blue Man Group subculture. There's a network of people out there who can look at a Blue Man and tell you who he is, how long he's been playing a Blue Man, and what his characteristics are when he's in character. To me they're just kind of Avatar meets the Smurfs, and I couldn't tell you a single difference between them. I can tell you that the Vegas version of their show is a blast, and that my kids had a fantastic time at the show.

There's an oddity with the seating in the Blue Man Group theater. For most shows, the closer you want to sit to the front, the more your tickets are going to cost. As a general rule, this is true with the Blue Men, but for some reason the first five rows, also known as the Poncho Zone, are considered second tier. I was concerned that perhaps these seats were below stage level, and thus didn't give a good view of the stage, but we sat in the front row and had a perfect view. The only thing that was a little hard to see were the electric message boards up at the top of the theater. I wish they had been harder to see.

Prior to the show, they run the name of special guests attending the show on the message boards. We all spoke (no singing) Happy Birthday to somebody who was celebrating a milestone birthday, then we applauded for the winner of the gold medal in curling from the 1988 Olympics. Then...my name was on the board. Oh crap, these things are made up! I was introduced as the man who had solved the last remaining mystery to creating cold fusion and asked to stand up and wave to the crowd. I did so, but all of my kids were looking at me for an explanation. Why couldn't I have been introduced as the Olympic curler? That I could have faked. "Well kids, it was the 10th end and we were lying two in the house against the evil Norwegians who held the hammer..."

As I mentioned before, the first five rows of the theater are called the poncho zone. When you arrive at your seat, there is a plastic poncho waiting on it for you to put on. These things are not all that comfortable, and they make you really hot, so unless you are sitting in the very front row, towards the middle part, I wouldn't bother with it. Of course, that's exactly where we were sitting, so we dutifully put ours on, but even in the prime spray zone, I probably wouldn't bother wearing it again. Please keep in mind though that this advice is coming from someone whose normal attire wouldn't really be worsened by a complete dousing. If you normally wear Armani suits or Gucci dresses, and you still bought tickets in something called The Poncho Zone, then you're on your own.

The show itself is unique, but the good news is that it's broad enough to appeal to all ages. The basic part of the show is full of visual effects and comedy bits that are easy to grasp, and entertaining enough to hold the interest of the younger generation. As an example, my kids can tell you that at one point, a Blue Man caught and held 41 marshmallows in his mouth. That's plenty entertaining for the youngsters, but the adults would have seen the deeper meaning in...ummm....well to be honest I was counting marshmallows with my kids. I'm sure there was lots of symbolism and underlying meaning though. Maybe go ask the people in the Armani suits and the Gucci dresses.

Trying out the BMG pipes in the gift shop
Without spoiling the entire show for you, I can tell you that I loved it, my wife loved it, and my kids had a great time. As a fun, family night out I highly recommend it, although I also recommend that you don't pay full price for it. One of the benefits of Vegas is that there are so many shows competing for your entertainment budget that it's almost impossible to find a show that isn't discounted in some way or another. I'll suggest you head over to SmarterVegas (No, I'm not on commission there. I'm not on commission anywhere. I really want to add a paid link to somewhere just once so that I can write one of those annoying disclaimers about earning a small bit of money if you clink on my link. I'd feel so professional!) as they usually have a discount code for Blue Man Group worth about 35-40% off. Since you want the poncho zone, which is the second tier of pricing, the discount should put your ticket cost at around $60-$70 each. Not a cheap night out, but worth it, and a lot cheaper than the $147 full price tickets the Armani/Gucci crowd are buying.

If you can though, I highly suggest the front row. Not only will your kids be able to see, but for the grand finale of the show, the front is exactly where you want to be.