Review: Monster Jam, Principality Stadium, Cardiff
The Monster Jam UK Tour arrived at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday. Monster Jam, for those who still haven’t seen it, involves customised trucks with oversized wheels taking part in a variety of competitive challenges and stunts, all driven by highly trained athletes who push their vehicles to the limits.
Monster Jam Pit Party
Having first sampled the Monster Jam experience last year, my family and myself wanted to make a point of making a return visit to this year’s show. We arrived early so we could visit the Pit Party (an optional extra) which allows fans to get an up-close look at the trucks as well as take photographs and obtain autographs of some of the drivers.
In all cases, this proved a popular event for many fans with extensive queues for autographs and a lot of interest around such vehicles as Scooby Doo, El Toro Loco and Max-D!
Monster Jam Competitive Heats
With a fanfare of horns a grinding of engines and an aroma of petrol and burning rubber the actual Monster Jam event began just after 3pm. The trucks lined up to take place in the first set of competitive challenges in which the audience were invited to lock-in their scores via their mobile phones on the Monster Jam website and vote for the best flips, jumps and turns.
Looking like they had driven out of a classic cartoon episode of Wacky Races, Grave Digger (driven by Morgan Kane), Max-D (Neil Elliott), Wonder Woman (Haley Gauley), Monster Energy (Todd LeDuc), El Toro Loco (Mark List), Zombie (Alx Danielsson), Megalodon (Alex Blackwell), Scooby-Doo (Linsey Read), Pirate's Curse (Mike Vaters II) and EarthShaker (Peter Nyman) delighted Monster Jam fans as they competed with each other over the dusty, bumpy terrain within the stadium.
In the initial competition, favourites Max D and Scooby Doo commenced a short-lived face-off when both vehicles ended up turning on their tops. Driver, Todd LeDuc would eventually see off the competition with his truck, Monster Energy, admitting he was there “To have fun, and do what I’ve come to do and that’s Wow the fans!”
Monster Jam Two-Wheel Challenge
The Wow factor went up in the next competition with a demonstration of two-wheel challenge skills which had to be seen to be believed. Mike Vaters II truck, Pirates Curse gave a fabulous demonstration of flipping onto its front and driving on two wheels. He would hold the high score until Max-D demonstrated further two-wheel skills both moving forward and reversing across much of the rough terrain.
Mark List’s El Toro Loco resembling a smoke blowing bull would ultimately steal the round with attitude, drive and charisma.
Monster Jam Freestyle Motocross Competition
The second half commenced with a Freestyle motocross competition featuring five amazing stunt cyclists performing somersaults and flips on their motorbikes.
All were enthralling and exciting, but it would be UK stunt rider Chris Brock who demonstrated the strongest skills of the day, one of which he describes as a Flip Whip. Chris went on to say he had started performing stunts on BMX bikes at the age of 10, so clearly both him and his team know what they are doing!
Monster Jam Freestyle Competition
The trucks were back for the final Freestyle competition with the Shark-shaped Megalodon taking an early lead but not for long as favourites such as Wonder Woman and Pirate’s Curse quickly rose to the challenge.
It would be Morgan Kane’s Grave Digger that would steal the points on this round however, demonstrating giant leaps and a stunning backflip.
The overall winner of the day and best performer would be El Toro Loco, but what an amazing event of thrills and spills for those taking part and a fabulous adrenaline-fuelled family event for us, the spectators. Lets hope the show makes a return trip to Cardiff next year, it certainly has plenty of Wow-factor!
Monster Jam will perform one more UK date in Coventry on June 8, before making the trip back to the United States visit www.monsterjam.com for details.