Sunday, 9 June 2013

JP and the Blue Man Group

JP and the Blue Man Group
9 June 2013

I have a really good friend.  A friend I have known for many, many years.  He is a very charismatic man, and is able to charm anybody and commands instant attention, simply by walking into a room.  He is an intellectual giant and manages to lower himself to the level of us mere mortals, when communicating with us lesser cognitively gifted people.  And somehow he doesn't make this seem like much of a challenge either.  Due to his charismatic personality, people tend to generally like him.  They gravitate towards him and he has good people skills.  Furthermore, he is a natural leader and manages to excel in any job he tackles.  He is passionate about life and is continually on the strive for the next big thing.  He gets enamoured with something and then goes all out with it.  He has a fantastic sense of humour and delights in taking centre stage.  And combining that with his love of shocking people on occasion, it makes for a marvellous combo.  Life is simply never dull around him.  And he tends to leave those around him, always just ever so slightly perched on the edge of their seats.  Just waiting for the next conversational bomb to spring forth from his mouth.  Something he delights in doing.  Setting the cat amongst the pigeons, and then sitting back and enjoying the show that inevitably follows.

He’s your classic Alpha Male type A personality.  The one the books were written about.  An adrenaline junkie of note.  He's done fast motor bikes.  Then he goes on an exercise mission and it becomes his complete focus.  To be followed by a stint of obsession with his mountain bike.  Then it's cooking.  No, photography.  He was determined to learn the guitar and through sheer force of will, he has knuckled down and done just that.  Practicing daily for hours on end.  It is amazing watching him from the side lines.  And I suspect that he does not really have intimate knowledge of failure as a concept.  No experience of it.  Because everything he tackles, he seems to conquer through his sheer grit and determination.  And then he usually does exceptionally well in whatever he undertakes too.  He is able to dissect something down to the bare bones.  Identify that which he must focus on, and simply gets on with it.  And one can practically hear the cogs of his brain turning over.  He has a near photographic memory and has a huge capacity for taking in vast amounts of information.  Complicated information, which he is then able to understand and file away in his cavernous brain.  To recall again, whenever he so wishes.

It stands to reason that he is a technology junkie and that he has all the hip new electronic gadgets and gimmicks.  And no, he doesn't just get them.  He finds out exactly how best to use him and harness their full capabilities too.

He has been exceptionally successful career wise and has done remarkably well from a relatively young age.  He has held incredible positions of power in different companies.  High positions, CEO’s, managerial positions, with many subordinates underneath him, etc.  Dealing with billions of rands, not just measly millions.  No sirree, that would be too average.  Companies with investors and that are listed on the stock exchange.  Where he’s accountable for the vast sums of money he seems to play with, Monopoly style.  Huge amounts of pressure.  I think he has the ability and vision to turn a sinking ship of a company around into a profitable concern and has done so many times over.  And I truly marvel at that ability.  This is once more due in turn to his ability to analyse exactly where the weak links are.  To eradicate the problems and set systems in to place to avoid future similar pitfalls too.  Can you just imagine being able to do that?  To have that vision?

But for me, he will simply always just be JP.  A very good friend of mine’s husband.  A real nutter.  I have known him since I was a teenager and worked at the local pub.  And though we didn’t strike up an immediate friendship then, as I was too much in awe of his intelligence, and felt slightly intimidated by it, I did always like him.  And nothing has changed since then.

Now JP is an exceptionally well-travelled man.  He has traversed the globe many times over, and has visited the most interesting places ever.  Mostly for work, but for leisure too.  And so, at the end of last year, JP, his wife Rinette as well as their daughter and a friend of their daughter’s went touring again.  They do so each year.  And this year, apart from a stint in Europe, they also went to America.  And of what intrinsic value and worth is a trip to America without a few days stop over at Disney?  One simply has to.  It’s like a law or something.

Apart from his numerous other pursuits, JP has a deep love for music.  In fact, I’d say he’s passionate about music.  And a few years ago, he introduced all of us to the marvels of the Blue Man Group.  Now if you don’t know the Blue Man Group, then you are missing out.  They are heap loads of fun.  Basically it consists out of three guys, dressed from head to toe in what appears to be a blue rubber type suit.  Even their heads and faces are covered in blue.  Just their eyes stick out.  They are meant to represent general humanoid characters, and they do a music show focusing on percussion and humour.  And for instruments?  Well they are always accompanied by an awesome backing band with a virtual mountainous supply of proper instruments.  A whole percussion section, with a few guys on drums and various percussion instruments.  Not to mention the ludicrous amount of guitarists.  And as for them?  Well, they make music on plumbing down pipes, swimming pool pipes, irrigation pipes, huge big bongo style drums, and upside down piano’s on which they hit the strings with a giant big hammer.  Very, very unconventional.  They don’t speak at all.  Not a single word.  They rely solely on body language and a disconnected voice, speaking for them, over the sound system.  It is so wacky and out there, it is incredible.  And as for the music?  Well, it is truly phenomenal.  Different, catchy, edgy, unique.  In fact, addictive.  The humour is sharp.  The songs clever.  The narrative even more so.  We all got the DVD of one of their live shows from JP, and watched it over and over.  It was really hard to resist.  The images and songs of that concert have been indelibly printed upon my mind.  It just made such an impression.

And so, while walking around in Disney on their holiday, JP and Rinette happened to spot a poster advertising the fact that the Blue Man Group was doing one single performance that very same night.  In Disney of all places.  It was karma.  They simply had to make a plan and go.  How could they resist?  It would be sinful not to go.  But upon enquiring as to getting tickets, they were informed that sadly the show was sold out already.  I would imagine that they begged.  How could they not watch the Blue Man Group?  What were the odds of them being in the same place as the same time?  And so they were informed that there were two tickets left, in the disabled section.  And that they had had no requests for disabled tickets from the public and that at a huge increased ticket cost, they could purchase these tickets.  They were going to remain empty for the remainder of the show after all, and if they were willing to pay the more expensive fee, they could buy them.  Naturally, they did.  I can’t imagine it being a tough decision for them to make.  Or a hard sell for the ticket vendor either.

Apparently the show was incredible.  Electric.  And well worth the extra expense.  Even more so, as one of the guys from the Blue Man Group walked over to where JP and Rinette were sitting, leaned down and kissed JP on his bald head.  I think JP was truly blown away.  How perfect!!!  The cherry on the cake of an utterly perfect evening.

Rinette said that the blue lip marks stayed on JP’s dome, long after the show.  And that JP practically glowed.  What an amazing experience.  Probably never to be repeated.  I suspect that JP must have been in seventh heaven.  Not only did he get to see one of the most amazing and different live performances ever, he actually managed to interact with these guys.  Which in itself is pretty remarkable, as I don’t really think they do bodily interaction with the audience as such.  They are humanoids after all.  Representative of any human being out there.  Devoid of emotion and personality.  Blank canvasses so to speak.

JP was eagerly telling me of his experience a few weeks later once they got home.  Raving about how incredible it was.  How worthwhile.  How exhilarating.  How special he felt to have been singled out.

Until I pointed out that in all likelihood, the guys from the Blue Man Group probably figured out that he was a cancer survivor or fighter with his bald head, sitting in the disabled area.  And that he was probably receiving a kiss of empathy and encouragement to fight the good fight.

I’m probably not very far off.  It has caused much laughter and debate.  Something in which I think JP delights even more.

I include two clips from one of their shows.  The first gives you a basic idea of some of their skills on the pipes, their interaction with the audience and their backing band too.

And as for the second clip, they occasionally get guest artists to join them on stage.  And for this particularly catchy tune, they are joined by the magnificently quirky, Venus Hum.  A delight!  Enjoy!


Even when cycling, he's a nutter

JP and one of his much beloved bikes - he has a few

JP in repose - not a familiar sight
A while ago, I posted a pic of myself on Facebook in my Superman T

And within minutes, JP posted a reply pic - too funny!
Pic taken by JP at Disney advertising the Blue Man Group concert that night

They look like aliens! For this particular song, one of them hits the strings on the piano with a hammer like object, while another one of them wears a complicated looking suit, made up of irrigation pipes? Very, very wacky!



These are awesome!  They fill the skins of their drums with paint (usually lumo paint) and when they hit them, the paint sprays up. Sooo cool!

More drum pics

This is classic Blue Man Group stuff

It is amazing what sounds they can make

Blue Man Group with full band in the back



  1. Just the most fantastic show to watch. Saw it in 1997 or 1998 when I was living in Manhattan. The absolute thrill of watching humans do 'stuff'. One of the most memorable was the paint on drum skins (with light) Just plain "WOW"

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  3. You have incredibly interesting friends! I remember the first time you introduced us to the Blue Men - who are fascinating! Funny story, H!