Review: Top Gear Live, SSE Hydro

Three stars

Loading Comments
Share
Print

Supercars, schoolboy humour, mischief, mayhem, V8s and a feeling that nothing will ever quite go to plan.

A nightmarish concoction for some but for myself and my fellow petrolheads gathered at the Hydro for Top Gear's first Live Scottish show, it's exactly what we came to see.

Top Gear is a bit of a marmite show I'll grant you, you either love it or hate it, but it's managed something that very few others have, it's turned what should be a niche, specialist subject into addictive television. The show has become a global phenomenon and is now one of the BBC's most popular exports.

Tonight it's making its first visit to Scotland and, to mark both the occasion and Glasgow's up-coming role as host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it has a 'sports theme'.

However, being Top Gear, there's nothing as mundane as a 100m sprint or bowls, oh no, instead Clarkson, May and Hammond have decided to honour Glasgow's host status by playing motorised football and car curling, using Fiats and a quad bike a sweeper.

The 80s hair metal that's been blaring out across the arena falls silent as the Top Gear trio make their much-anticipated entrance on a motorised V8 stage, created from a Corvette engine used by Clarkson during a segment for the TV show in which the trio attempted to make a food blender from a car engine.

With the introductions out of the way it's time to move on to more serious matters, as the team proclaim that the Commonwealth Games are boring and would be more fun if they included cars. It may seem like a filmsy pretence for a show but it promises to open up a wealth of possibilities.

After holding an opening ceremony featuring flaming cars and dancers it's on to the main events.

'You can't do that' doesn't seem to be part of Top Gear's vocabulary as the show pushes the boundaries of what is possible in a confined space by holding a chariot race, featuring carts pulled by scooters, in the middle of the Hydro. Admittedly it's no threat to Ben Hur but it does get the crowd going.

The show continues with hurdling, involving a runner jumping over moving go-karts and a Lamborghini, motorised four-a-side football, a beauty pageant and auto-testing events featuring SAS troops. There was also a tribute to Scots rally driver Colin McRae, which received a big cheer from the crowd.

A Robin Reliant race between Clarkson, Hammond, May and the Stig is a particular highlight, with all bar one of the team tipping over during the event.

However, despite ambitious events and literally setting the floor of the Hydro on fire, the show fails at times to ignite in the way the television series does. Several of the set pieces feel contrived and it occasionally feels like Clarkson, Hammond and May are going through the motions

It's the camaraderie between the trio that has been the key to the show's success. However, it felt at times as if it was missing tonight, not least because the trio were not involved in several of the events taking place during the show.

Adapting the best bits of the television series for a live environment also seems to have been a difficult process. Many of the events that worked so well on TV, like car football, feel rushed and scripted in the confines of the Hydro, while the trio's continued insistence on schoolboy humour and innuendo feels forced and gratuitous at times.

However, there were a lot of highlights during the night, including four stunt motorbike riders taking on the Cauldron of Death, a sphere which motorcyclists ride inside, at the same time, a feat that caused the person sitting next to me to gasp in terror and dismay. Several displays by the Top Gear stunt team also went down well with the crowd.

After finishing their England v Scotland car football match (Scotland won 4-2), Clarkson wraps up the team's first Scottish show by telling the audience "on your way home you're on public roads so for heaven's sake drive fast".

It's been fun and for the show's first time North of the Border it's definitely left its mark but I'm not sure I'll be rushing back to see them on their next visit.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

148713

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

The sight of wee dolphins choking to death on discarded supermarket bags helped me change me use reusable shoppers

Times Out

Entertainment

Lifestyle

TV Advert
Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat Cubie’s job is to find and share with you the fabulous things the city has to offer, from gigs to gastro.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You Couldn't Make This Up

The secret world of the wheelie bin.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.