On Friday night, Mister Man and I headed to Allstate Arena to check out Monster Truck Jam. He's been wanting to go to something like this since he got a stuffed version of Grave Digger (one of the more popular trucks) awhile ago. I was a little more hesitant - the noise being my primary concern. But go, we did, and I don't regret it at all.
When we arrived at the Allstate Arena, I was surprised by how chilly it was in the arena, but it quickly made sense as I realized they needed the doors open to get the giant vehicles into and out of the arena for setup and the actual show. Mister Man left his coat on for a good while - with his earplugs (and headphones to hold the earplugs in place).
I was surprised by how family-friendly the show was. I'll admit that the crowd attending was not at all what I had expected. The show sponsors are obviously aware that many fans are there for the first time. Prior to the show starting and throughout the show, there was a great em cee who gave information on what was going to happen or what was happening so that I wasn't sitting with a blank look on my face for the majority of the night.
When the trucks first came in, all ten (I believe) went roaring around the outside of the arena at the same time. Sitting one a few rows from the sectioned off portion of the arena (for safety, I presume), I was a little concerned right then. They were huge and loud and I vibrated. Fortunately, that was as nervous as I got, as no more than one or two performed at a time after that, making it much more palatable. That said, the fumes from the trucks were a big strong by the end of the evening, and I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach from them - but I also know that I'm hypersensitive to smells and noises.
The first event for the trucks was freestyle. Trucks had two runs (if I remember right!) to show what they could do. Grave Digger - Mister Man's favorite - fell over on its side on the first stunt it attempted and had to be righted by a backhoe. Fortunately, there were no injuries, and Grave Digger came back for later competitions.
That said, my favorite truck was Monster Mutt. He was so cute, and his tongue actually panted. His ears moved and his spring-loaded tail kind of wagged. Unfortunately, he didn't win anything that night, but he was still a ton of fun to watch.
After the freestyle round, quad racers came out, which I didn't even realize was going to be a part of the show. The ATVs had two rounds of Quad Wars, with purposeful animosity on the part of Team Missouri becoming "Team Green Bay" to antagonize Chicago. Again, it was all in good fun. In the second round, one of the ATVs tipped over, but again all was well - and Team Illinois ended up winning. Yay!
The next Monster Truck competition was a race. Two by two the giant trucks came out and raced around the course twice, with the first vehicle to cross the finish line moving to the next round of competition. The Batman car also fell over once and had to be righted, but that was the only casualty. And yes, it also came back for the last competition of the night. Mister Man was thrilled when the US Air Force truck won the race.
There was also a bit of entertainment that came with two transforming "robot" cars - one good and one evil that battled just after intermission. There was a whole backstory and plot of what was going on, and the way the vehicles played to the crowd thrilled Mister Man. He actually asked me again just now about what happened to Reptar (the evil car) who had the whole shot in his chest. I loved having the break between the trucks that was again very family friendly.
The last segment was another competition of style where the vehicles each had sixty seconds each to show what they could do. Here, they flew higher and went more vertical than they had previously. The crowd's favorite move? When the trucks spun, flinging dirt and mud and rubber into the stands - and yes, we were hit by mud more than once.
All in all, it was definitely a fun night, and Mister Man can't wait to go back. The earplugs were definitely needed, although it wasn't as loud as I'd feared. The explanations made the action much easier to follow, and it was really impressive to see what these drivers could do - all long veterans of the sport.
I'll admit that the parking was steep - but that's an Allstate Arena issue, as is the inability to exit the arena parking lot - and the fumes were a bit much for me. The show itself was surprisingly cool. And when it comes next year? I'll be looking forward to the show - and hoping that Monster Mutt has a slightly better showing!
There are still more shows on Sunday February 13 at 2 and 7:30. If you can't make it now, there are more shows throughout the country, and Chicago is already reserved for February 10-12, 2012, so block it on your calendar now.
Don't forget, you can get discounted tickets. Use the promo code MOM to save 33% on adult tickets Saturday and Sunday. Children's tickets (I love shows that charge less for children!) are $10 all weekend, and adult tickets are already $10 on Friday night. For the discounted tickets, use promotional code MOM when purchasing tickets at the Allstate Arena box office, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Enter Code in the “MC Promotions Box” on Ticketmaster. Offer only valid on $20 mid-level seats. Not valid the day of the show. Service charges and handling fees may apply. No double discounts.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received tickets to attend Monster Jam with Mister Man for review purposes only, and there was no additional compensation. All opinions expressed are my own.