Haute Event: Blue Man Group Plays the Hollywood Bowl

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Blue Man Group at the Hollywood Bowl. Photos: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Blue Man Group at the Hollywood Bowl. Photos: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Blue Man Group, the worldwide entertainment phenomenon, transformed the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with the world premiere of a never-seen-before orchestral concert last Friday and Saturday. For two nights, Blue Man Group and the more than 80-piece Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by world-renowned Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins, excited and intrigued the packed house with a colorful display of electrifying music and over-the-top humor.

Taking fans on a luminescent-infused journey, Blue Man Group performed arrangements of their own melodies combined with the world’s most well-known pieces such as Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance,” Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero,” and many more. Blue Man Group continued to show their musical versatility when they physically transformed the amphitheater into an oversized instrument as they played the walls and the famous Hollywood Bowl shell with mallets and paddles. The fully-immersive experience featured the custom, cutting edge video mapping by Obscura Digital and lighting by Tony Award winner Kevin Adams. Guests also had the chance to see into the mad scientist minds of Blue Man Group with the debut of their new instrument, the Snorklebone.

During one of the top comedic moments, the Blue Men literally stole the show when they locked up Wilkins in a stage case and led the orchestra in a hilarious mash-up of theme songs from “Jaws,” “Chariots of Fire, “ “Indiana Jones,” “Superman,” “Rocky,”  and “Saturday Night Fever.” The blue trio echoed the conductor as they waved unconventional items through the air including an inflatable shark, torch, hat with whip, boxing gloves, cape and disco ball to initiate the changing of the song. Later, the comedy continued when Wilkins was blindfolded, guided by Blue Man Group backstage and sloshed with paint for an astonishing stunt where he was lifted hundreds of feet above the ground by a crane then dropped to create a one-of-a-kind painting.

Throughout the night, Blue Man Group was joined onstage by an array of special guests including two-time Grammy-nominee Tracy Bonham, multi-talented recording artist Butterscotch, famed Venice Beach Boardwalk performer/artist Harry Perry, and a list of internationally acclaimed master-musicians including Natsuki Tamura (didgeridoo), Brian Wolff (tuba), Janeen Rae Heller (musical saw), William Zeitler (glass armonica), Ronobir Lahiri (sitar), Sara Leib (scat singer), the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, and more.

The undeniable climax of the evening came when Grammy-nominated Brazilian band Monobloco had the audience up and dancing to their signature samba-rock sounds, transporting patrons to the streets of the world-famous Carnival. The infectious musical celebration featured the Hollywood Bowl’s dazzling, custom fireworks display, which unveiled three massive, glowing Blue Men high atop the venue’s arch.

Just when guests thought the evening was over, Blue Man Group had one more surprise up its sleeves. Joined by Bonham, the true finale of the evening came with an unforgettable, over-the-top encore featuring a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” As Bonham tickled the ivories, the Blue Men tore the piano apart and began playing it like massive drum. As the music began to build, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra’s concert violinist Katia Popov surprised the audience with an eye-popping costume quick change. As she played, the Blue Men threw confetti on her beautiful black ensemble magically revealing a fiery red and yellow dress.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

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