David Blaine is a magician and a self-proclaimed endurance artist. His feats included a bullet catch, drowned alive, electrification, frozen in time, vertigo and more. Now for the first time David has embarked on a 40 city tour that started at the end of May 2017 in San Diego, California and will conclude later in July. The show is an evolving experiment that tests Blaine’s ability to present difficult stunts night after night. David was up to the task on July 14, 2017 when he performed to a full house at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Blaine was twenty-three when the program Street Magic first aired on ABC. His unique approach of turning the camera on the audience allowed spectators at home to feel the visceral reaction of folks being astonished. From there David devised shocking stunts. His earliest live event was Buried Alive a trick that even Houdini was unable to do in his lifetime. Entombed in an underground plastic box beneath a three ton water tank for seven days with no food and little water, Blaine would draw strength from the 75,000 visitors who came to the event beside the Hudson River, topping foot traffic at both the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty combined. Upon emerging Blaine remarked, “I saw a vision of every race, religion, and age group banding together.”
David is not your run of the mill magician pulling rabbits out of a hat although he is able to cough up live frogs. His act was amusing, astonishing and at times might have frightened younger members of the audience although those were the people he sought out to assist with a number of card tricks. After engaging with fans in their seats Blaine took the stage to loud applause. Behind David was a big screen that featured a short video sharing his vision to overcome the impossible. The screens were also used to full effect for close-ups. Throughout the night David chose fans to perform with him which right there makes each show unique as one cannot predict how another person is going to react. Still, Blaine implied that he was planting ideas in his participant’s heads. He demonstrated this skill by engaging two women in a mirror/mind game experiment.
During his act, David invited fellow magician Asi Wind to perform. Blaine stated that Asi was a major influence on him. Asi presented a number of mind boggling tricks including our favorite which involved the iconic Rubix Cube. Wind chose a young audience member to twist and turn the toy. After quickly solving a second cube he told the girl he had memorized every move she had made. Asi proceeded to twist and turn the cube to match her mix up square to square. Wind was not done yet. With a cube in each hand and without looking he asked the audience to remain quite as he concentrated and within a minute both cubes were completely solved! David returned to demonstrate a “simple” sleight of hand trick before taking a brief break to prepare for the big stunt of the night.
As the curtain rose David was sitting on top of a rectangular tank filled with water. As he breathed in oxygen a video explained his goal to control his body and go beyond what people say is possible. With that he slipped into the water and the clock started ticking. For the first minute David completely relaxed. Then his announcer asked the audience to raise their hands for as long as they could hold their breath in a sign of support for Blaine. People were also invited to come up and touch the tank and we were advised that David could hear us so as each minute passed we cheered although we found ourselves getting more concerned as David passed the five, seven and even nine minute mark. During the stunt he did a head stand before returning to an upright position. At that point he was shaking before surfacing at ten minutes and twelve seconds! Apparently this was his best time yet on the tour.
David’s personal record is 17:04. Fans can watch a TED talk video about this feat. Blaine was not aiming to beat that time as the goal is to see if he can do this stunt nightly. So far he has. Soon David looking a bit pained took his place at the front of the stage to answer questions. He mentioned that the first time that he held his breath he trained for that event exclusively for years, thus reminding people how dangerous these tricks are. David explained the process mentioning that although the head stand requires precious energy it forces air to go down in the lungs thus allowing David more time. When asked about his interest in magic, Blaine credited his Mom a single mother for buying him a deck of cards along with a librarian who taught him a simple illusion and the rest is history. He concluded the show by inviting an aspiring magician to join him on stage for one last card trick.
In addition to the many millions who have seen David on television, Blaine has also performed in arenas around the world along with intimate shows for American presidents including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as a number of international leaders and prominent figures such as Henry Kissinger, Michael Bloomberg, Stephen Hawking, Muhammad Ali, among others. His TED talk became one of Bill Gates’ personal favorites, and is widely considered the most revealing testimony Blaine has ever given on the topic of his remarkable career.
David Blaine strives to keep topping himself. The David Blaine Live 2017 tour is another feat of endurance that was entertaining, exciting plus inspiring proving that anything is possible and the world is a more magical place because of people like David Blaine. The Ryman Auditorium aka the Mother Church of Country Music continues to top herself by showcasing diverse artists such as David Blaine. Upcoming shows at the Ryman include Ted Nugent, Bluegrass Nights, Steve Earle, The Moody Blues, Little Big Town and more.