Thanks to a slew of successful television specials, he is the biggest name in magic today, but David Blaine rarely performs live and almost never tours. That is just part of why his Friday, June 2, appearance at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara was so special — special enough to attract a capacity crowd and a number of his magical peers, such as author and acclaimed illusionist Ricky Jay. Blaine took his time coming out to start his 8 p.m. show, but he more than made up for it with two-plus hours of performance. Apart from an excellent 10-minute segment with New York mentalist Asi Wind that climaxed with some amazing Rubik’s cube manipulation, the night was all Blaine, all the time.
Although his daredevilry keeps evolving and is thus hard to categorize, Blaine’s style is rooted in street and “geek” magic, which is the art of doing gross things with your body. Like what? Like throwing up a frog, seeming to sew your lips together with a needle and thread, or piercing your hand with an ice pick. In the finale, Blaine held his breath in a human fish tank for 10 minutes. Although the show meandered at times and could use some editing, Blaine’s star power remains undimmed and will only increase as more people get a chance to witness the incredible feats he is stringing together on this tour.