Blue Man Group Tour Profile

Aug 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly

ROCK CONCERT IN A THEATER SETTING

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You’re never really quite sure what to expect from a Blue Man Group performance. It’s a visual experience, with numerous antics onstage to draw the eye—tickers displaying political messages; commentary on social media and human interactions; directions for the audience; flashing-lights costumes; very large inflated balls bouncing around the hall. And for those seeing their current tour—which is happening simultaneously in a number of cities—you get the best of all “Blue Man” worlds, a “greatest hits,” if you will. From their iconic “three guys pounding on bottom-lit oil cans” splashing colored paint on every down stroke, to booty-shaking hits from their album The Complex, to striking their mallets on instruments created from PVC piping, the Blue Men enthrall their audience.

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And while it is heavily visual, music creates the coherency from section to section. It’s a theatrical performance, though front-of-house engineer David Fleet creates a more club-like vibe for the Blue Men and a four-piece band. Rounding out his mix is a sound design created by Matt Koenig. “The sound design is to always have the Blue Men on top of the mix, with the band supporting them,” Fleet says. “The show goes through a lot of dynamics to try and avoid tiring out the audience members’ ears. There are some very loud pieces, as well as some pieces that are meant to sound almost acoustic with very little in the P.A.”

From left: front-of-house engineer David Fleet, a couple of Blue Men and A2 Harry Platt

From left: front-of-house engineer David Fleet, a couple of Blue Men and A2 Harry Platt

At San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theater (where Mix caught the current run), the d&b system includes amps and speakers using a single channel of amplification per box. Towers for the left and right proscenium each contain 16 Q1s, two B4 subs and a Q7 for in-fill. “Offstage of the towers,” Fleet says, “we stack two B2 subs per side with another Q7 offstage of that as an outfill. For the front rows, we use six T10s for stereo front-fills. Above that is a 24-foot truss in which we hang three line arrays. The center array is eight Q1s and the side two arrays are four Q1s per side. There is also a pair of Q10s upstage under the band lofts that double as effects speakers and stage monitors during a few songs.”






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