ROCK superstar Bruce Springsteen will be the first performer to hit the stage at the new Leeds Arena, it was revealed today.
The man known to his worldwide army of fans as ‘The Boss’ will play the £60m venue on Wednesday, July 24.
It had been thought that Sir Elton John’s previously-announced show in September would be the first at the 13,500-capacity arena.
But the team at the venue decided to pull out all the stops to arrange a one-off ‘pre-opening’ date when Springsteen made a special request to play there.
The gig will come 28 years after the Born In The USA singer staged a mammoth outdoor concert at Roundhay Park in Leeds.
Arena sales and marketing director Tony Watson said: “Springsteen has always expressed a love of performing in the UK and, from what I understand, any opportunity to put Leeds Arena through its paces was too much to resist.
“We’re more than happy to take orders from ‘The Boss’ on this occasion.”
News of the Springsteen concert was greeted with delight today by Leeds City Council leader Coun Keith Wakefield.
He said: “This is an unexpected but very welcome announcement.
“To hear that the arena’s appeal is such that the advance actually came from Bruce Springsteen’s people is incredibly exciting.”
Stars joining Sir Elton John for the council-backed venue’s official opening season in September include Leeds indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs and opera legend Andrea Bocelli.
Comic Micky Flanagan, boy band veterans Boyzone and pop pin-ups JLS are among the other acts due to appear before the end of the year.
Tickets for the Springsteen show go on sale this Friday, priced £65. Visit www.leeds-arena.com for more details.
* US music magazine Billboard has included Leeds Arena on its list of top new or renovated concert venues for 2013. The arena is the only venue on the 17-strong list outside of the US and Canada.