Review: MONSTER JAM Live at Allstate Arena (Addie's First Jam!)
By: James Zahn
Posted: Feb 8th, 2014
Raising a pair of vehicularly-inclined daughters, I tend to find myself in a position to rekindle some of my own childhood interests. Toy cars, racing and yes, even Monster Trucks are a part of that, so when Feld Entertainment and Windy City Kids Guide asked us to check out MONSTER JAM, Addie and I couldn't pass it up. Little Finley sat this one out since she's still a tad too young for it, but Addie and I, along with her friend Richard and my friend, John, headed for Allstate Arena in Rosemont, a familiar location that we typically visit while ice-covered. But last night? It was all about dirt, metal and octane.
In a lot of ways, MONSTER JAM is essentially a rock concert with vehicles - a spectacle that combines much of the pageantry and rivalry of professional wrestling with long-running motorsports traditions. I don't know that I've ever mentioned it here on THE ROCK FATHER, but motorsports were a big part of my own childhood - with my Dad serving as a track announcer for midget racing in the 70s and 80s (many summer nights spent at Joilet Memorial Stadium, and others across the Midwest), and eventually, the late Santa Fe Speedway, where I was exposed to NASCAR, World of Outlaw Sprints, and events like the "Tournament of Destruction." With the engines blaring and the faint smell of racing fuel and exhaust lingering in the air last night in Rosemont... there was something not only very familiar, but also comforting for me as we witnessed the might of GRAVE DIGGER, IRON MAN, WRECKING CREW, ZOMBIE, MAX-D, EL TORO LOCO, METAL MULISHA and others.
As much as I was enjoying the MONSTER JAM experience, it's really watching my kids that makes it worthwhile, and despite some typical 4-year-old impatience, demands for snacks, and a few trips to the potty, Addie was really digging it. She was cheering on the drivers - waving to the crowd-warmers - and when MADUSA arrived... pointing and proudly exclaiming to everyone around that "that's my truck!" You see, before we even attended MONSTER JAM in-person, we'd been on the hunt for the MADUSA truck that was released as part of the HOT WHEELS line from MATTEL. Problem is, no one ever seems to have it, and with it's pink-and-white color scheme, Addie thinks it's "The Princess Truck." And ya know what? For her, it is The Princess Truck... and MADUSA is the Princess that drives it. Last night, Addie got her Hot Wheels version of the truck, too. MONSTER JAM is a merchandising juggernaut, and that was made crystal-clear when looking at the post-show lines at the merch booth... which we avoided by buying early (something I heartily recommend).
MONSTER JAM is an event - not just with Monster Trucks, though those are certainly the main attraction. Presented with a brief intermission mid-show, the audience last night was treated to ATV racing, a full-blown, high-flying Freestyle Motocross display, the car-eating "transformer," MEGASAURUS. It's FUN. It's LOUD. It's Rock Father-approved for the whole family.
Headphones Recommended: Available at the Stadium for $2-$25.
MONSTER JAM is at Allstate Arena all weekend, with 2015 tickets going on-sale this Monday.