David Blaine held a Q & A last night at Dallas’ Winspear Opera House and in the process partially answered a question we’ve long asked: what does a David Blaine live show look like?

By the looks of the reviews, we got about 20% performance / 80% interview. But we did get a particularly robust explanation of Blaine’s opener, a nod to his successful World Record attempt for breath holding.

At precisely 8 p.m., the opera house curtain rose to reveal, center stage, a large tank, seemingly filled with water, in which Blaine, wearing a thick, dark suit, sat submerged. In front of him a small table held a plate of fruit, bottle of wine and other props. Breathing through a mask at first, Blaine finally tapped his watch, indicating that he’d take off the mask and commence holding his breath for 12 minutes.

That’s a pretty awesome way to greet your audience in our opinion. Although he breath holding attempts are normally pretty plain (beyond the drama of stunt of course) for this show he gussied it up a bit.

One minute, two without breathing. Then five. Blaine, always positioned in three-quarter view, lifted the lid on a silver bowl inside the tank, releasing goldfish that swam around him. He peeled and nibbled a banana. Occasionally, a few bubbles escaped his lips.

Sounds pretty awesome.

We do have a major bone to pick with writer of this Dallas Observer blog review, Elaine Liner. She peppers her post with snark about possible methods to Blaine’s tricks, insinuating a performer who has made a career of carefully mixing real physical stunts with magic trickery is only as interesting as a YouTube exposure clip might tell you he is.

This would all be totally valid if the audience seemed detached from Blaine or unsatisfied with the show. But by Liner’s own admission…

The crowd ate it up with a spoon, however. A bendy spoon.

So it wasn’t the paying audience who was underwhelmed, just the writer who desperately wants you to know she understands the term Hindu Shuffle. Even for magicians, Blaine has never been about the tricks he selected, but rather how he performed them. It’s a shame Liner couldn’t convey more of that.

  • HAL

    Well, the Masked Magician was under water for 17 minutes with  one way to do it.
    When Blaine did it on Oprah, it certainly appeared to be real.

    I don’t blame none magicians for giving opinions on youtube, we’re not sworn to secrecy.  The magician’s job is to fool people, if they don’t, whose fault is it. Should the audience just act amazed at an obvious trick? 

  • JustinRYoung

    I don’t blame YouTube exposure, I think the reviewer had a personal opinion that dominated her explaining how the audience reacted at that specific event.
    It’s selfish and doesn’t serve the reader.

  • HAL

     I look at Blaine in different ways. Some of his stunts are obviously for real, such as standing on the platform for days. However, when he did his TV specials, he was also guilty of edits, stooges and not doing the tricks as you would really see them.
    I don’t think he could have made it with a weekly show like Mindfreak, because so much of his act was card tricks. So much wasn’t magic, but challenges and beating records.

  • Doug McKenzie

    That review is amazing … funny how it doesn’t describe the standing ovation.

  • JustinRYoung

    Really selfish writing


    Agreed. That’s the difference between a journalist and a blogger. The internet better learn how to tell the difference. News or opinion.

  • HAL

     I just read the Liner Review, and also viewed the Oprah tape where he ‘supposedly’ holds his breath for 17 minutes. I think we have to admit, it certainly looks identical to the way the Masked Magician presented it. I could understand the 2 assistants being over him near the end of the stunt, but why when he starts?

     Liner seems to have a little magic knowledge, at least with card tricks. And, condemn me if you will, I believe in “HONEST” opinions.

  • JustinRYoung

    If its a fake, bring it up with Guinness. They certified it a world record.

  • HAL

     Guinness also certified Criss Angel for making the most people disappear (something like that). If you recall, the only witness was a girl from Guinness. I’m not saying it was fake, but if he can fool a whole audience, why not the Guinness people? If he could fool James Randi (though I’m sure Randi wouldn’t expose another magician), I’d be more convinced. Wonder if the Masked Magician could convince Guinness? When you consider all the people fooled by Psychics and Faith Healers, can we assume everything in the Guinness Book is totally accurate?

  • HAL

     Just had another brilliant thought: I believe you and Andrew worked with Randi. Recalling when Randi had Banachek and the other guy convincing the Psychic Institute that they had supernatural powers, bending spoons, etc., why not the Guinness people? Sometimes the smartest people turn out to be the dumbest.

    If you have the right people fooling the right people, anything is possible.

  • JustinRYoung

    Nope, I’m just saying that spotting frauds is theoretically their job.

  • HAL

     Guess I can’t argue with you about that. I do wonder what would happen if Guinness witnessed some of Angel’s other amazing ‘Demonstrations”? Might wind up in the comedy section of the book store.

  • Run

    The show was great, close up performances went very well. He had to change on the fly because the woman had macular degeneration. Doug McKenzie was DB’s wingman, assisting throughout the performances. David closed the show with mentalism. The trick ended with gasps from the audience. Even though there were skeptics there, everyone left highly entertained. It was funny when DB came out of the water a man behind me said, his hair isn’t even wet(untrue). People sometimes think they know the method but they’re wrong.