On Friday night my 10-year-old son and I went to see David Blaine at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland. My son was so nervous and excited to see his favorite magician, and I don’t think he was disappointed.
Our tickets were in the back row of the balcony, to the right. Doesn’t sound that great, but there really isn’t a bad seat in the Merrill Auditorium. And best of all, the tickets were free. A friend won tickets from a radio station and, after finding out how much my son liked David Blaine, she transferred the tickets to us.
When we walked into the building there were signs stating that cameras were prohibited during the show. As we were seated the ushers told us that cameras were not allowed during show (in case we didn’t see all the signs, I guess). When I pulled out my phone and took a picture of my son with the stage in the background before the show, another usher ran over and said no pictures of anything, not even the stage. This guy was really dedicated to doing his job. So that’s why there are no photos of the show in this post.
About a half hour before the show, when the place was only about half full, my son said, “There he is!” I looked over to see David Blaine came out a side door leading to our section. He began doing a card tricks for kids in the front row of our section, about twenty feet away! We couldn’t take pictures, of course, although a camera crew was following him. Then he signed a few autographs but my son got there too late. He was disappointed, but happy to have seen him up close. Of all the places he could have gone, he came to our section.
As for the show, it was fantastic. For almost every trick Blaine performed, he had random audience members come up on stage to help. He started by putting pieces of string through his lips. After that was a puzzle trick, and then he did a trick with three cups on a table. Two had nothing under them, but one had an ice pick facing up. He had two audience members mix up the cups while he was blindfolded. Blaine then had the audience members put his hands over two of the cups, and one by one he slammed his hand down on the cups. As he said, if this goes wrong, the show’s over.
Then he put the ice pick through his arm. All the way through. Interesting, and the audience reaction was great.He then took a break – maybe to apply band-aids? – and the backup performer came out.
I wish I could remember the name of the supporting act, because he was really good. The coolest thing he did was solve two rubiks cubes, one in each hand, with his eyes closed. When this is the supporting act, you know it’s a good show.
David Blaine came back out, drank two large pitchers of water and topped it off with a large swig of kerosene. He spit on a flame, shot fire and lit up a sort of pyre. He then shot water from his stomach out his mouth like a fire hose to put out the fire. Amazing.
During this second act, he also swallowed a man’s wedding ring. To retrieve it, he bent a coat hanger into a loop and stuck it down his throat like a sword swallower. He had the man pull the hanger out, and when he did the ring was looped around it. To me, this was the best trick of the night.
To top it off, he also brought up a live frog from his stomach, and then swallowed it again.
After a 20 minute intermission, Blaine was submerged in a large tank of water and held his breath for ten minutes. Not exactly action packed, but pretty suspenseful. Then he took a few audience questions before the show was over.
The show was excellent. It was family friendly – he played a couple of videos where he swore, but they were bleeped out – and my son and I both absolutely loved it.