About two weeks ago, my roommate offhandedly mentioned that a high school friend might be coming down to see a show that Adam Savage was hosting in Schenectady. And I said, “Adam Savage?” And he said “yes.” And I said, “in Schenectady?” And he said “yes.” So I rushed off to my computer, because like many of you out there, I have been a longtime fan of Adam Savage. His show, Mythbusters, which he co-hosted with Jamie Hyneman, has a special place in my heart. I was excited by the prospect of seeing his new show, Brain Candy Live!, which he co-hosts with Michael Stevens, who runs the YouTube channel Vsauce.
So after purchasing tickets, I was off to see Brain Candy at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady. Going in, I really had no idea what to expect. I knew that after finishing up the last season of Mythbusters, Adam had begun working on other science-related projects, but I didn’t know many details. The main theater was packed with people from elementary school age and up. The atmosphere was buzzing even before Adam and Michael stepped out onto the stage.
For those unfamiliar with Vsauce, Michael starts his videos by asking a question, which he explores in depth throughout the video. Brain Candy started a similar way, with Adam and Michael discussing the air around us. They started off with some demonstrations of smoke, discussing how it differs from vapor, and what exactly is going on around us. Adam had a few different kinds of particulate-creating machines ready to create a foggy atmosphere or a mysterious mist that floats across the ground, like in an ominous movie scene. They even created a giant air cannon out of a trash can and filled it with vapor to demonstrate the torus created by air rushing out of an enclosed space.
The rest of the show continued in a similar manner, with Adam and Michael showing off various toys and gadgets they had laying around the stage while explaining the scientific concepts behind them. And, quite frankly, I wasn’t that impressed. I mean, they did shoot a ping pong ball straight through a ping pong paddle, so that was sweet. But for everything else, I felt kind of “meh.” Adam and Michael are both charismatic presenters, and it was clear they captured their audience, but I was not as drawn in as I thought I would be. To sound as pretentious as possible, I probably could have told you most of what was presented during the show. I think that because I’ve spent so much time studying the sciences, the “basics” just weren’t as interesting to me.
Walking out of the show completely changed my mood. As I shuffled down the steps toward the door with hundreds of others, I overheard a conversation between two brothers in front of me. The younger one said something to the effect of “this was the best night of my life. I’m going to remember this forever.” In that moment, I realized that even if Brain Candy wasn’t what I was expecting, thousands and thousands of people had come to see the show during the tour and loved it. Brain Candy would serve as inspiration to kids, inspiring the next generation of scientists. And I think if ten-year-old me went to the show, I would have been calling it the best night of my life, too.