RIYADH: Monster Jam lived up to its hype on the opening of its two-night show at the King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi capital late Friday.
The wide parking area around the stadium started to fill early, while many truck fans walked long distances and then queued up for their tickets with prices starting SR30.
The Monster Truck jam is the first in Saudi Arabia and part of an aggressive push by the General Authority for Entertainment to bring quality entertainment acts from Western countries and the Gulf to the Kingdom.
By providing broader entertainment opportunities for Saudis, the government expects to create more jobs and infuse the economy with additional revenue. From a cultural standpoint the added entertainment provides an outlet for Saudi youths that encourages them to become more engaged in the community.
While waiting for the show to kick off, a remote-controlled drone equipped with a camera caught the attention of the crowed as it flew around the stadium. This broke the boredom of the waiting crowd who often broke into applause or shouted their approval.
Abdulrauf Al-Baijan, executive managing director of Global Sports Gate, had his hands full as he went around the 67,000-seat stadium to make sure that everything was all right.
Al-Baijan said 30,000 tickets had been sold for opening night for the fans to watch the legendary drivers in 4-meter-tall, 5-ton Monster Jam trucks perform stunts.
Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, the vehicles generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and can reach up to 100 miles per hour. Monster Jam trucks can fly across 130 feet, a distance greater than 14 cars side by side, and up to 35 feet in the air.
The trucks, which loomed like monsters out of a “Transformers” movie, were emblazoned with names like Mohawk Warrior, Blue Thunder, Hot Wheels and Superman, among others and did not fail to impress the crowd.
Spectators reacted with excitement over the antics of the vehicles as well as the motorcyclists who displayed dazzling acrobatic skills, inevitably evoking a mixture of fear and excitement among the adoring crowd.
The stentorian voice of the announcer — Turki Binmusaibih — punctuated the entertainment as he described developments inside the stadium with the noise of the Monster Jam trucks as a backdrop.
Faisal Al-Basher, an engineer who watched the show with his two boys, said, “It is good and it is the first time being held here.”
Wessam Al-Sarhi, an engineer, added, “the show is nice and it should be held in the Kingdom every six months or even every year since Saudis like to see something new.”
Al-Baijan told Arab News, “For the success of the event, I want to extend my thanks to Samer Al-Mishehal, CEO of Live Entertainment Company which organized the event.”