Even if a toddler's bedtime kept us from seeing the end of Cirque du Soleil's opening performance of "Saltimbanco" last night, we saw enough to be amazed by the eye-popping, mind-blowing talent on offer.
The show -- one of numerous that Cirque du Soleil has on tour at any given time -- is glitzy and illuminated with colorful bursts of light and the performers are costumed with a similar explosion of hues. Anyone familiar with Pablo Picasso's painting of saltimbanques will think it feels familiar, but with the saturation boosted.
At first, the performers' energy alone is enough to amaze. But as each new solo performer appears, the audience can hardly believe its eyes.
Don't get me started on mimes, but even I couldn't help but laugh out loud at Amo Gulinello, who drew audience members into his act, too, with a baseball skit perfectly times for a city stricken with championship fever.
Then cyclist Ivan Do-Duc came out on what appeared to be a stock 10-speed and did some of the most amazing stuff you've ever seen on a bike, especially a bike like the one your older brother rode! Going beyond the standard trick bike stuff we see these days, Do-Duc twisted himself into positions on the two-wheeler that seemed unimaginable.
Next Terry Velasquez juggled balls so quickly that when he juggled them downward, bouncing them off the floor, the effect was something like a rapid-fire hailstorm in reverse.
Just before intermission, we got what we all agreed was the most amazing performance of the evening. Adriana Pegueroles started out playing a large Japanese-style drum, which she then set aside.
Her flamenco-style dancing was soon elevated by the appearance of two Argentinian boleadoras -- a percussion instrument that consists of a weight attached to a cord -- which she spun above her head, at her sides and in complex patterns that created a beat so thumping and so perfectly rhythmic that I expected Ice Cube to emerge and begin rhyming.
And so went the entire performance. Act after act appeared and robbed the audience -- which appeared to fill the entire lower level and a good portion of the second tier of the Bradley Center -- of its breath.
The show runs at the Bradley Center through Sunday, Oct. 5 with shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and at 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $40 to $95 for adults and $32 to $76 for children and are available at www.cirquedusoleil.com and by phone at (866) 448-7849.
The show is not recommended for children under 5 years old and having brought a toddler, I now concur with that suggestion. Although mine loved the acts, his enjoyment was marred by the loud volume of the live band that performs throughout the show.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.