I write this with only 11 days remaining until the big day when Alexandra and I get married. Sorry to all my readers about not posting anything the past several weeks, I’ve been extremely busy traveling for Blue Man Group and wedding planning. So, in 11 days, to some, the unthinkable will happen, Joe Burke will officially tie the knot and be married to the most wonderful woman on Earth. It’s been a long time coming, and I am so blessed to have such a great future wife who understands me and all my conditions that goes along me. The wedding will be small and intimate, with only about 50 guests on hand for the ceremony and reception, but deep down, I’m very thankful it is a small wedding cozy wedding and that Alex and I aren’t responsible for over a hundred guests. It’s been a long time coming, a lot of planning has led up to this very moment on October 10th, 2010. Our good friend from Kentucky Rev. Charlie F. Edmonds will be on hand to conduct the services with a host guests that I don’t just call friends, but rather, family. Each person coming to this wedding has played a key role in the success of me and Alexandra, or have been there for me in some special way. To have this gathering on hand, will be both humbling and noble. I share my life with just a handful of people, but those people actually get to see me for who I am. It’s hard opening up to people these days, I am just so thankful that each person at our wedding will be significant in their own way to both the lives of Joe and Alex.
I probably won’t have much time to post updates throughout the upcoming month, since I have a full schedule and honeymoon coming up. But once we get back and settled in, I’ll be sure to update you on all the details. It’s funny sometimes how weddings brings out the true nature or sides in people. I’ve really found how during this trying time who my family is, and who supports me and Alexandra. It’s been a painful road to walk, but finally I can see reward just around the corner, and that reward is a life dedicated to the one I love, my best friend and the angel sent from Heaven just for me, Alexandra. Nothing else matters, just the two of us and our beloved family that will be there at the wedding. Blessings to you all, and see you real soon!
It’s always hard to put into words what exactly it is we just witnessed whenever we’re attending any Blue Man Group venue. How do you explain it? What is ever more difficult is attempting to explain the National American Tour to new and older fans alike. Everything that we know, or have seen about Blue Man Group has been totally redone, re-imagined and brought to new life in a way that only the latest cutting edge technology can deliver. In other words, this show is unlike anything you’ve seen before, period!
Banner at the Walton Arts Center
Before I go any further, I have seen dozens of people assuming this production is like The Complex Tour, MegaStar Tour, brace yourselves folks, IT IS NOT! This is a traveling theatrical show of Blue Man Group’s current and most updated content, many of which the company itself had yet to see until the night of Sept. 3rd in Fayetteville. So there is no VIP backstage pass, or sticker to wear at the end of the show to go backstage. This is a theater style tour, so the lobby will be your main source of photography with the Blue Men and band. Same rules that apply to NYC, Boston, Chicago, Orlando & Las Vegas apply here. Lobby only! If you want pictures with the blue men, you’ll have plenty of time to roam the lobby, take as many photos as you want, and have ample time to interact with the performers. One more time, there is NO VIP treatment here, especially on this tour as different rules apply to different theaters and so on.
The show starts off with a new scrim, much like that of the older Luxor and MegaStar shows, but with dueling strobe effects that let you see two blue men at one time as the strobe effect switches. It’s kind of hard to describe, but this is a very new element, and the song is brand new. It combines fragmets of TV Song with elements of Above, and the new track just hits hard and rocks. Before the curtain goes up, and we see the stage for the first time, a strobe effect that is synced with the music adds to the heightened anticipation as the music builds, curtains fall, and then, bam we’re in the Blue Man’s world!
Merch Booth at the NAT
There are the tride and true skits that we Blue Man fans have come to know and love. Gumballs and Marshmallows, drumbone, Capn’ Crunch, Klein, Utne, PVC IV, Time to Start etc… But this particular new production, each skit has been totally re-imagined to fit the concept of this new cutting edge show. For example, not only is there Capn’ Crunch, but now, the stage illuminates and you see the live sound waves as each blue men chomp down on the cereal. I won’t spoil what happens with the louder Right Blue Man, you’ll just have to see it.
Signs has totally been redone, all new with digital screens that are crisp, clear and in HD. The sign’s wording is not the familiar “Naked Mermaid” material, but all new clichés with modern pop culture. For example there is a reference to Twilight on the left illuminated sign that pokes fun at teen vampires satire.
Rods and Cones is re-imagined, and with a new melody from the Zurich production that most of the US fan base has never heard. Even right down to the backpack tubulum has been paid close attention to as the tubes now illuminate in sync with the music as the Blue Men are playing them. It’s visually one of the most wildest things I’ve ever seen on a Blue Man Group stage. The wording has changed too, and new animations help convey the use of rods and cones in our eyes. A definite highlight.
Rods and Cones
A totally new concept with this new production stems from the idea of gifting people with something special, as a token of friendship and remembrance. The following quote is emphasized heavily within the whole body of the show from start to finish, and is even displayed on the big screen during seating.
Blue Man Group opening screen before the show starts.
“When you first meet people from a foreign culture, a great way to break the ice is to offer a few gifts as a gesture of friendship. It’s always good to choose items that reflect your personal interests, and it’s even better if it’s something you have created yourself. You also need to show a genuine curiosity in their interests and their culture. But ultimately, the very best way to forge a lasting friendship is to create something together: Whether it’s a meal, an art project or just a spontaneous dance party, when you create something with others, you build a connection that lasts a lifetime.” -International Diplomacy for Dummies
You’ll find this quote a lot on this tour, and referenced multiple times by The Insiders and Blue Man Group on stage. The act of giving away something is the Blue Man’s way of connecting with his audience. So one thing you’ll see after Paint Drumming, Gumballs and Marshmallows is the Blue Men physically walking off the stage and handing the spin art and paint art to audience members. It’s a home run and we know you’ll like this new element to the show.
On a quick note, the staple skits like Feast, Tributes and Time to Start have been re-imagined as well. Without giving too much detail away, just look for the subtle changes in the feast table, background scenery behind the table etc. Tributes also now features multiple revamps as PVC House is now partially played to introduce the Vibra Slap, which leads to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” Also, you’ll even hear Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Let that one soak in for a while, on PVC at that!
After Rods and Cones, the show switches pace to Utne Texting Man, I think that’s what they call it. But it shows two of the animated figures texting back and forth, saying various random and funny things. The underlying melody of Utne Wire Man is there, but the song is practically redone, and a sense of hype is built up going into “Stomp Your Feet, Clap Your Hands”. The visual aspect of this piece can be seen in our video footage from the Fayetteville, AR show, but sadly translates poorly to the real thing. What you don’t see in the video is the animated figures changing and rotating rainbow colors, and their wand-airpoles creating a rainbow wave effect as it swooshes through the air. It’s pretty clever.
Utne Wire Texting
Klein has always been the pre-finale staple the Blue Man Group experience, and the NAT production is no different. Typical scenario, Blue Man goes out, combs over the crowd in search for the perfect participant to invite on stage. From here, things switch up, The sound waves from the drums are now visible on the transparent LED’s on the band lofts and the massive backdrop screen. You visually see the drums which is a great addition. The Klein video is all new of course, and is very similar to that of the cruise ship Klein video on the NCL Epic. The newest addition is the pink spray paint that is used to outline the person’s body and form. It makes for a trippy effect, and a more colorful Klein canvas.
And now, the sensory overload moment of the night comes to a massive climactic ending as every part of your brain is triggered. The Zygote Finale is one of the most innovative new concepts we’ve ever seen. It’s also an eco-friendly gesture towards the removal of paper products since Blue Man Group do their best to support “Go Green” efforts. You’ll want to climb out of your seat and shake your “Money Maker” as this catchy new track encourages a lot of butt shaking going on. The highlight is the Ethereal moment when the music calms, and an enchanting, melodic sound is played as the Zygote Balls float and hover over the crowd in almost out of body surreal moment. You glance around, massive orb zygote balls floating around, people bouncing them around, paper flying everywhere, the band are doing some sort ritual dance, and the lights changing vibrant colors will make one feel surreal, and trust me, that’s a good thing!
It all ends with Paint Drum Finale, and same as the staple skit, but with an added video effect behind the blue men. It’s kind of a blurred visual effect that as the Blue Men are drumming, you see the colors of their drums as the paint splashes upward on the massive LED screen behind them. It’s an wonderful, subtle touch to something that all fans signify with a show finale. Then we cut to lighted stage, and the band members and crew come out for final stage bow. We are left the DNA image as the Blue Man’s silhouette is all you see behind the screen.
Insiders Joe & Alex now have the privilege to gift fans with all sorts of Blue Man Group love, including free show tickets. To show the world what this is all about, we met up with one of our Facebook fans and got his reaction live on camera of him getting free show tickets. Look for Joe & Alex, The Insiders at National American Tour stops all across the country starting this weekend for more Random Acts of Kindness. Special thanks to Blue Man Group Orlando and Universal Studios.
Sometimes, being able to spend time with family doing nothing is the best medicine for the soul. This was the idea for our trip this time to Cape Coral, FL to relax, don’t plan anything and just see where the trip took us. From the fun swimming in my in-laws brand new in-ground pool to Moonlit walks on Fort Myers Beach, the trip was calming, rejuvenating and most of all relaxing. Thanks to Danny & Mary for always being such wonderful hosts and great family. This video is dedicated to you both, and the love that Alexandra and I both share.
Sunset over Cape Coral, Florida
Swimming fun with Alexandra in the new pool
Me and Alexandra at her Grandfather’s house during sunset
Our family feast at Famous Dave’s BBQ in Fort Myers
Ten years ago when I started out on this path to follow the show, actors and performers, never did I dream my ambitions would land me the role of Insider. Attending countless tour stops of The Complex Tour, MegaStar Tours 2.0 and 2.1, I’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the show, mechanics, behind the scenes and more importantly, I’ve kept the mystique surrounding the Blue Man and the world he lives within intact. There really is nothing like Blue Man Group, and truth is, there never will be.
My involvement with Blue Man Group has completely changed my life in such an incredible way. Two years ago, at a Fan Meet gathering from the online community, an event that I planned and hosted at Universal Studios Sharp Aquos Theater, I met my future wife. Alexandra Irick came into my life sharing the same passion that I had for Blue Man Group, and together we became increasingly involved with the company. Little did we know, our love for the show and company would be put to proper use this year with the announcement of an exciting new era in the Blue Man World, The Insiders.
ABOUT THE INSIDERS
Our exciting new Blue Man Group Insiders will bring you first-hand news, buzz, and information from the front lines of the Blue Man experience. They’ll be traveling backstage at shows and events, roving through audiences to find the “Ultimate Blue Man Fan,” and providing audience members with a bunch of cool surprises along the way.
The Insiders are no strangers to Blue Man Group. Joe Burke, previously the head of the long running fan-site Blue Man Library and web entrepreneur along with Alex Irick, Blue Man fan since 2007, will be hitting the road to bring you behind-the-scenes action and access to exclusive content. It’s fresh, fantastic and an exciting new way to engage yourself in the realm of all things Blue Man Group!
Joe Burke was hosted by Norwegian Cruise Lines on board Norwegian Epic for a short two-night preview cruise. Follow @rotcav on Twitter for live reports, photos and videos and check here on Blue Man Group Insiders official Facebook for more details and answers to your questions for all things blue. For more photos from the NCL Epic, visit my flickr page.