There’s some extreme ingenuity found in the instruments on Blue Man Group’s debut album. “TV Song” includes “airpoles,” which are flexible boat antenna rods that make a “swoosh” sound when swung like a sword. A giant percussive version of a trombone made of PVC pipes propels “Drumbone.” These are just a couple examples of the musical inventions of Blue Man Group, a troupe that’s turned a curious mix of performance art, instrumental rock and blue grease paint into an international theater-going phenomenon.
Capturing the sonic spectacle of that live show from inside a recording studio poses an enormous challenge, and 1999’s AUDIO at least comes close. First, it’s purely instrumental, as opposed to its bizarrely commercial 2003 follow-up, The Complex, which has the likes of Bush’s Gavin Rossdale and Dave Matthews singing over more traditional pop arrangements. (Unfortunately, this collaborative effort also inspired their current tour.) Secondly, AUDIO plays like a soundtrack, building from song-to-song in the sort of seamless, unspoken narrative of Blue Man’s theater shows.
Fully capturing their live performance is impossible, but for Adams Center attendees looking for the closest thing, opt for AUDIO. (Skylar Browning)
Blue Man Group performs at the Adams Center Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 PM. The show is sold out.