Sunday, 28 November 2010

Top Gear Live

You may have heard that the Top Gear boys were back in town this weekend and then quickly wondered why? Reports of underwhelmed visitors to last years show meant one of two things would happen: The show would be cancelled or it would be hugely improved. Unfortunately neither has happened. First impressions of the show were quite impressive in fact. Walking to the show centre felt similar to the festival experience of a summer music festival with coarse fields, fast food trailers and a big wheel but also long tail backs in traffic. And there was no shortage of motor geeks included which led to an overall impression of a gathering of like minded enthusiasts ready for a day out. Despite the numerous stands, exotic cars and very impressive main building there was a sense that €59 (minimum ticket price) was slipping meekly through ones fingers. There were some interesting cars on display including the latest Peugeot RCZ, a collection of fine Jordan F1 cars and the only Alfa 8C in the country. There was also an outdoor track (car park with cones) where some race cars, such as Eoin Murray's Seat Leon EuroCup, got a run. Truth be told the live outdoor track show was a non-event with a huge bulk of time spent simply waiting for the next car to appear. The main draw though was the live show itself. The overall seating was impressive, as was the lighting and thunderous sound system. And when the the trio of presenters emerged there was a sense that something pretty cool was about to happen. And then it all began to unravel. Toilet humour, especially when scripted, especially when done in front of a live audience and especially when its so desperately unfunny as it was with these guys should just be left at the drawing board. For example; demonstrating that a pizza can used to protect ones genitals from a Bunsen burner. Then the trio began to find their rhythm and match it with the audiences'. Laughter and applause were in plentiful supply and the "cool wall" section went down a treat. The similarity of the experience with the actual t.v. series is to be complimented. The background visuals, in particular for a cartoon heroesque Stig, made a real impact. With such a small"stage" however; there would be little room for some really dazzling stunt driving and the audience were left with petite choreographed manoeuvres. As to what was actually shown during the show, here's a flavour: Electric vehicles "built" by the presenters, JCB versus man on motorbike & lady firing petrol at 2 cars which go on fire. On paper this all sounds dazzling but in live action it seemed muted. One shouldn't need to stifle a yawn whilst watching 4 "shuttle-cars" drive around a gyrating lady with whips as Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers" blares in the background. The lasting experience from the festival, and it can be justifiably called a festival, is that the show's organisers were serious about immersing the crowd in an intoxicating motoring experience but ultimately one felt short changed and in the mood for flicking through the channels to see what else might be on instead.

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