Men in blue captivate audience in colorful Saudi festival show

The Blue Man Group. (File photo)
Updated 16 July 2019

Men in blue captivate audience in colorful Saudi festival show

  • Group performing as part of the Jeddah Season of events for the third time

JEDDAH: The captivating Blue Man Group rocked a Saudi festival audience with a high-octane show that won a standing ovation.

Performing in the Kingdom for the third time, the three bald, blue men wowed fans by taking them on a spectacular, fun-filled, music-laced journey of discovery.

More than 35 million people of all ages, languages and cultures in 25 countries have experienced the unexpected, madcap antics of the Blue Man Group and the colorful entertainers had an awestruck Saudi audience clapping for more.

The show was organized by the General Entertainment Authority as part of the Jeddah Season.

Backed by other musicians, the trio’s powerful drum show began with two of the blue men competing to create a work of art by spraying paint from their mouths.

The interactive display saw the performers engaging with fans in a variety of fun, dynamic ways including eating Twinkies and painting on a canvas. They even shone a spotlight on late arrivals to the venue, singing: “You are late, you were supposed to be here 20 minutes ago.”

Part of the group’s “Speechless” tour, the family show’s mix of music, color and humor left the Jeddah Season audience buzzing.

“We loved it. It was unique and captivating,” Saudi student, Mariam Ahmed, 22, told Arab News. “This was my first time attending the show and honestly, if you haven’t seen them before nothing can prepare you for what you are going to see in the show.”

Father-of-two Yuzreza, from Brunei, said: “It is our first event and now, after seeing this, we are planning to see a few other events in the season. The children especially enjoyed it.”

The Blue Man Group has been running for 25 years, and according to its publicity its 70 performers around the world splash their way through 18,000 buckets of paint a year and have broken 23,000 drumsticks.

Pneumonia forces Elton John to cut short Auckland gig

Updated 17 February 2020

Pneumonia forces Elton John to cut short Auckland gig

  • Elton John struggled to sing while seated at a grand piano during a performance at Mount Smart Stadium
  • Singer is in New Zealand as part of his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ world tour

WELLINGTON: Elton John has tearfully apologized to fans after cutting short a concert in New Zealand due to illness, with the British superstar saying he was suffering from “walking pneumonia.”
The 72-year-old, who is in the midst of a grueling world tour, struggled to sing while seated at a grand piano during a performance at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday night.
After being checked by a medic with a stethoscope, he battled on through two more songs before calling a halt to proceedings barely halfway through his setlist.
“I can’t sing, I’ve just completely lost my voice,” he told concert-goers in a croaky rasp.
“I’ve got to go. I’m so sorry.”
Elton John’s illness comes as health authorities worldwide are on high alert for signs of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 70,000 and killed 1,770 in mainland China.
New Zealand has no reported cases of the virus.
Video footage showed Elton John, dressed in a powder-blue suit and wearing his trademark oversized glasses, standing at the piano and shrugging his shoulders at the crowd in a gesture of helplessness.

Elton John is seen on a jumbotron, as he reacts after prematurely ending his show, at the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland. (Reuters)

He then shuffled off the stage with his head bowed, helped by members of his road crew as the crowd cheered their support.
“I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier today, but I was determined to give you the best show humanly possible,” he later tweeted.
“I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more. I’m disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had.”
Walking pneumonia is an informal term for atypical pneumonia, which causes mild infections of the respiratory system, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
It said symptoms include tiredness, sore throat, fever and coughing, and the illness can sometimes lead to full pneumonia, a serious lung infection.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she briefly met the singer before Sunday’s concert and “you could tell he wasn’t feeling well.”
“Given he had what they call walking pneumonia, the fact that he spent roughly two hours on stage giving such a huge performance was incredible and very generous,” she told reporters, praising his commitment to fans.
Elton John is in New Zealand as part of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” world tour, which began in 2018 and is scheduled to end in late 2020 in London.
Featuring hundreds of concerts across the globe, it is billed as the last chance to see the star before he retires.
The septuagenarian has followed a punishing schedule in New Zealand, not only performing concerts but also slotting in a side trip to sing at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
At the Oscars, he took home the award for best original song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the musical biopic about his life, “Rocketman.”
Elton John has two more shows scheduled in Auckland before heading to Australia for a further seven gigs.
The tour’s Australasian promoter, Chugg Entertainment, said one of the Auckland shows had been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday so the star could get additional rest following medical advice.