Review: Fast & Furious Live, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
An explosion of fast cars, machine gun fire, roaring engines and the air lightly fragranced with the acrid smell of gasoline and gunsmoke '¦ Fast & Furious Live is a teenage boy's dream night.
Convinced I was about to be served up a lame procession of souped-up boy racers tootling about the arena floor under the Fast & Furious banner I felt for my wide-eyed 14-year-old on the edge of his seat as we awaited the ‘action’ to begin.
I mean, surely the real-life confines of the glorified aircraft hangar that is the arena couldn’t possibly do justice to the computer-generated high-octane action of the movie franchise?
Oh, how wrong I was.
The show was, like the movies, a visual spectacular. This was a perfectly synchronised mix of high-tech lighting and movie projection with live action stunts and, of course, roaring racing cars.
And, unlike the movies, this was clever and innovative!
I mean, they even turned the arena floor into a frozen sea with a submarine crashing through the ice in set-piece spectacle which ended in a rocket flying around the auditorium before sinking the vessel in a flash of flames.
The pace was unrelenting. There were machine gun-toting bad guys leaping from car to car in a hail of bullets as wheel-spinning multi-coloured mean machines tore around belching smoke and flames at every turn.
And, get this, there was even a story to the whole shooting match! A convoluted and none too convincing story, I grant you, but who cares when a car can fly? Yep, at one stage they recreated a famous Fast & Furious scene in which vehicles are dropped from a moving plane in the stratosphere and, I kid you not, we had cars flying above the audience! For the life of me I don’t know how they did it … I could see no strings.
At various times in the show famous faces from the movie franchise appeared on a big screen to wax lyrical about the Fast & Furious ‘family’, even the aptly-named Vin Diesel rocked up to address the audience.
At this point, I have to admit to never having watched a Fast & Furious movie from start to finish. But, hey, it must have something.
I mean, if Citizen Kane was so good, how come they only made one? Where’s the sequel Citizen Kane 2 - We’ve Found the Sledge? The Fast & Furious franchise has boasted at least eight movies - even Jaws only managed to get to number four before sinking without a trace.
Its popularity is undoubted, but this live show really captured the spirit of the movies and the audience lapped it up.
As well as the pyrotechnics and screeching handbrake-turns on display, the cast played their part in whipping the crowd into a frenzy of screaming and shouting with some audience participation set pieces.
When the curtain came down on the show, I had been converted. The show had brought out the teenage boy racer hidden in my heart. I’ll be buying a nitro booster for my Corsa on Monday.