Top Gear Live - Does it match the TV show?
I got to see what many in the 'States pine for: I saw Top Gear Live. There were girls climbing silk ropes, girls dancing with flames shooting from their hands, cars on fire, motorcycles on fire, cars trailing flames and explosions galore as loud pop music blared in the background. Nitro Circus? Nope. It was Top Gear Live. Oh, sure, we saw hosts James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson in brief appearances where they bantered back and forth, mostly at each others expense. They even set up a series of challanges that dared to maim or at least dismember the other if care was not properly taken (spoiler: everybody survived). In short, it was the TV show on steroids. So did it work in terms of face-melting entertainment? Well, yes and no. It was fun, with typical sophomoric Top Gear humor; the word “penis” was heard and seen…a lot. In one challenge British Spec-Ops troops peppered The Stig and Jeremy Clarkson with laser-aimed shots from their assult rifles. Both wore special targets that registered when they were hit. The Stig did the lap in 1:11 and was shot 17 times and Jeremy did it in 2:22 and was shot 163 times in, you guessed it, his penis. Or as he quipped, “they must have been very good shots since it is a very small target.” Cue the laughter. To keep the (mostly male) crowd entertained, they kept things moving at breakneck speed. The show had the quick pacing down cold, but Top Gear Live lacked that intimacy and spontaniety that drives the TV show. TG Live seemed forced at times, but then again, they have to do two shows a day for four days. It seemed like there was less of the hosts and The Stig, and more stunts.
I must admit that many of the stunts were pretty good and we were entertained for 2.5 hours. The big, 720-degree twin-loop finale with a motorcycle? Not so much. In all, it seemed a bit anti-climatic after girls dancing with flames.