Get ready for a rock ‘n’ roll party – that was the message to music fans today as Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs prepared for their concert at the city’s new First Direct Arena.
The Kaisers are playing the £60m venue this evening, with support coming from fellow local act Pulled Apart By Horses.
They will be the first Leeds bands to grace the stage at the arena since its official opening last week with a concert from Sir Elton John.
Ian De-Whytell, owner of Leeds-based Crash Records and a long-time campaigner for the city to get an arena, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s going to be a great night.
“I think that this is going to be the real opening party. Leeds finally has its own arena and I think it’s fitting that our most successful local band will be there to help celebrate the dawning of a new era in this magnificent venue.”
Kaisers ‘superfan’ Emma Burnell, another vocal supporter of the scheme down the years, said: “Now we finally have an arena, it only seems right that the Chiefs play a part in its opening season.
“I am really excited, Leeds has always had a vibrant music scene and this is the icing on the cake.”
The arena joins a list of high-profile Kaisers concert locations that includes Leeds Town Hall, Millennium Square and Elland Road.
And the band themselves seem in the mood to make tonight just as memorable as those shows of yesteryear. Keyboardist Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines marked last week’s Elton gig by tweeting a congratulations message to the arena, adding: “We’ll be seeing you next week to play some songs and have a good old time in our hometown.” Elton’s show followed a spectacular pre-launch concert by Bruce Springsteen in July.
The arena has been developed by Leeds City Council and is being operated by private firm SMG Europe.
Experts estimate the 13,500-capacity venue will generate £25m a year for the city’s economy.
BIG NAMES JUST KEEP ON COMING
The Arena’s opening season continues on Sunday with a concert from Bollywood music superstar Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Other big names who will be beating a path to the venue’s door over the next few weeks include Rod Stewart (September 24) and Micky Flanagan (September 27).
Spectacular stage shows Jesus Christ Superstar and Cirque Du Soleil – Alegria will also be visiting the arena before the end of October.
November’s top attractions include Depeche Mode, Stereophonics, Vampire Weekend, Andrea Bocelli and Nickelback.
Acts keeping arena-goers entertained during the run-up to Christmas, meanwhile, include Boyzone, Status Quo, Wet Wet Wet, Andre Rieu and JLS.