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DVD Review: Blue Man Group Shows You How To Be A Megastar

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The Blue Man Group return to their rock concert experience in their latest DVD, captured during their "How To Be A Megastar 2.0" tour. If you already own The Complex, Blue Man Group's previous DVD release from 2004, much of this material will be familiar as it's nearly the same concert from that tour. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Like The Complex, How To Be A Megastar opens with "Above," which you know is simply an amazing song if you've seen or heard it from their previous work. The concert presentation is exciting, with a screen obscuring the stage and only shadows of the Blue Men projected on the screen as, one by one, each takes to their PVC instruments to begin the melody, with a swirl of images of the band and the Blue Men as the song launches into guitar, drums, keyboards, bass, and percussion in an explosive crescendo. Awesome.

The remainder of How To Be A Megastar essentially follows the same progression as The Complex with some new material and new rock concert movements. The premise of the tour is the Blue Men have purchased an "updated" rock concert experience manual from an infomercial and are incorporating the new material into the show. The band is amazing, as it was before in The Complex. I miss the guest vocals of Venus Hum's Annette Strean and musician Tracy Bonham. Annette was gorgeous and belted out an exciting cover of "I Feel Love" in her unique style. She and Bonham are replaced on the current tour with a new vocalist, Adrian Hartley. She's fine, but it's hard to follow in the footsteps of Strean and Bonham. Peter Moore, the male vocalist from The Complex, returns for How To Be A Megastar.

How To Be A Megastar is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.  Audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0.  Colors are rich and vibrant for the most part (this is a concert, after all) and the contrast between the blue paint on the faces of the Blue Men and their black clothing is sharp.  The transfer does suffer from some compression artifacts (most noticeable in long shots of the stage that include the audience) and some slight edge enhancement.  

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is good, but not great, although I'm at a slight disadvantage in having to use 5.1 headphones instead of a proper surround sound environment, so your mileage may very.  The mix does make good use of all channels, particularly the left/right rear channels and center channel, as you are enveloped in Blue Man's signature percussion.

Bonus material includes a music video for "I Feel Love"; a piece of comedy called "Mono Makes a Plea — Save the TVs" campaign (bemoaning the switch to digital signals which will affect us all) and finally, and perhaps most importantly, a documentary called "Inside the Tube." It features the founders of Blue Man (Phil Stanton, Chris Wink, and Matt Goldman) as they discuss the group, the philosophy of the Blue Man, and the evolution of Blue Man from a theatrical presentation to the rock concert experience of The Complex.  It's a fascinating insight; Stanton, Wink, and Goldman are extremely intelligent and creative individuals with a lot of passion for what they do. As far as I know the documentary aired only on PBS during a fund raising drive, with the documentary being sold as an incentive gift for new PBS members. If my memory is correct, the documentary was being sold for a $75 contribution; now you can watch it for free!

If you already own The Complex and are on the fence about purchasing How to Be a Megastar, I would suggest it primarily for the documentary included in the DVD extras. The DVD also includes a CD version of the concert, so for less than $20 you're getting a DVD and audio CD — a great deal. If you are new to Blue Man I would recommend starting with The Complex to see what you think. I think you will enjoy it.

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