FORT WORTH -- What just happened?
The Blue Man Group, which opened a six-day, eight-performance run at Bass Hall on Tuesday night, puts on a unique show that is difficult to explain, even after having experienced it.
Let's see, there was drumming. Lots of drumming. But it was no ordinary pounding of the skins. Most of the time the trio struck these odd tangles of white plastic tubing that were sometimes stationary, and other times worn like percussive armor.
And when they did play something resembling a traditional drum an additional element was involved. Like the bits at the beginning and end of the show when the Blues struck drumheads awash in colorful liquids, producing sprays of hues that looked like volcanoes erupting a rainbow.
There was also multimedia in this show presented by Performing Arts Fort Worth. A series of screens, one that covered the entire stage backdrop and several that moved in and out, as needed, provided an amazing series of razor-sharp, breathtakingly colorful images. Everything -- including the four-piece, onstage band's costumes -- glowed and throbbed like the biggest, brightest black-light poster you have ever seen.
Audience participation was part of it. Victims -- I mean, volunteers -- were chosen to take part in the rhythmic lunacy transpiring on stage. Most survived, and all were great sports about little high jinks like being painted blue, hoisted into the air and then swung into a canvas (a number of spontaneous, abstract art works were created in the course of the 95-minute show).
Comedy was definitely part of the plan. Except for a couple of purely musical moments, it was all funny. Even the pre-show announcements (displayed on an electronic text crawl above the stage) cracked jokes -- such as explaining that photographing the show was prohibited, but drawing sketches of it was OK.
So, yeah. It was all of that and then some.
But what this show was really about, oddly enough, was relationships.
There were the uneasy relationships within the trio of wordless performers. They were brothers in drumsticks, but each one also had a wariness of his two companions -- fearing (like us) what they might do next -- that had to be overcome in each interaction.
There was the relationship with the audience and the performers. The brave patrons who accepted an extended Blue hand and walked to the stage had to trust the maniac mime who was pulling them into God-knows-what. And the sellout crowd of about 2,000 believed fully in the Blue Men, playing its part to the hilt Tuesday.
And, finally, there was the relationship between us and our technology. Several of the comedic bits had to do with smart phones and other trappings of life in the Digital Age. The Blue Men are surrounded by all sorts of noisy, garish artifacts of modern technology that threaten to overwhelm them, just as they threaten to wash us all away in a sea of ones and zeros. But their response to these 21st century innovations is to beat on them until they make music.
It is a simple, direct and effective answer to a complicated question.
And it was fun.
Come to think of it, that is what just happened. Fun happened. Loud, messy, neon-hued fun.