Bryan Adams and Joanna Lumley help arena mark fifth birthday

4th September 2013. Sir Elton John performs live on stage at the opening night of the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
4th September 2013. Sir Elton John performs live on stage at the opening night of the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
0
Have your say

Bryan Adams, Leeds Tattoo Expo, Walking With Dinosaurs, League of Gentlemen, Cirque Du Soleil, Hacienda Classical, ELO, Supervet, Joanna Lumley, Frankie Valli and Jason Manford.

“You could not put all of those together, how random is that?”

24 july 2013.'Bruce Springsteen on stage at Leeds Arena.

24 july 2013.'Bruce Springsteen on stage at Leeds Arena.

Kevan Williams the head of marketing at First Direct Arena muses over the summer line up that sees the venue celebrate its fifth birthday.

And it is this variety, he believes, that has contributed to the Arena being ranked 13th in the world for sales.

He said: “Over the course of a year there will be something that will appeal to everyone from Andre Rieu that my grandmother would love to Paw Patrol for the kids.

“Five years ago could you have imagined having names like Celine Dion, Prince and Elton John playing in Leeds?”

Comedy star Jack Whitehall has 'banned' Christ Morgan from his Sheffield Arena show.

Comedy star Jack Whitehall has 'banned' Christ Morgan from his Sheffield Arena show.

So how do you go from one of the world’s biggest musical superstars to six rescue dogs with special skills?

SMG, the company which operates the arena, works with UK Rigging and a 50- strong team whether it is an audience of 2,000 or a 13,500 capacity crowd and as soon as a show finishes they work through the night to take it down again so the next one can be set up.

But it doesn’t always go to plan, as Mr Williams recalls.

“We had the set list for Liam Gallagher and as far as we were concerned he was finished and walking back to his car. He just turned around and said ‘I am doing Wonderwall’. People had started unplugging everything and security were ushering people off the main floor.

“When Queen played it took two days to build the stage and Kasabian were on the following day and at 2am were waiting outside. It was that tight a turnaround.”

The dressing room areas are left as shells so the artist’s tour managers can kit them out as they want but there have been some odd requests.

Elton John had two truck loads of plants delivered and Bruno Mars wanted SMG to create a teaser before he announced the 24K Magic tour so they lit the arena up gold for 24 hours beforehand.

But all in a day’s work for staff at the arena which has transformed the northern end of the city. He added: “We have seen re-development around the Merrion and the arena with weekday and weekend shows, which has been a major boost for bars, restaurants and hotels.”

l

Caught on camera in Leeds: Can you help police identify these people?