Sir Elton John looking forward to Leeds Arena concert

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:38 20 February 2013

Leeds Arena

Leeds Arena

Revolutionary new fan-shaped arena brings big names to Leeds

Elton John knows a thing or two about quality venues. Hes blasted out his hits at Madison Square Garden in New York, Cidade de Rock in Rio and Crocus City Hall in Moscow among myriad others.


But, still, the prospect of playing the new Leeds Arena for his only British indoor date in 2013 has got him very excited indeed.


Its difficult to believe that it has taken so long for such a large city to get its own arena, but it has certainly been worth the wait, he said.
Im delighted to have been invited to be one of the first artists to perform in what will be a wonderful new venue.


I recently played to incredible audiences in North Yorkshire (at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate), but this will be the first time Ive played Leeds with the band since 1984 when I played at the Queens Hall, so Im really looking forward to playing to the city of Leeds once again.


The new 13,500-capacity arena on its five-acre Clay Pit Lane site in the centre of Leeds, which is due for completion next month, will eventually host more than 140 events a year, from rock and pop concerts to live boxing, wrestling, darts, dance as well as comedy.


It is the countrys first purpose-built fan-shaped arena, with an external design that can seemingly change appearance via its ever-changing kaleidoscope of coloured lights.


The idiosyncratic shape of the building is a vital design choice and one which its operator, SMG Europe, predicts will make it one of the worlds top ten venues.


Ninety to ninety-five per cent of arena shows are now entertainment on a stage at one end of a stadium designed with sporting events in mind, explained John Knight, who is regional vice-president of SMG Europe.


As a result, nearly all the seats face a sports pitch, not a stage. A fan-shaped arena makes for a better experience.


Perhaps not surprisingly, hes thrilled that Elton John has agreed to play one of the first gigs at Leeds Arena: To host Eltons only indoor concert in this country in 2013 is a major coup for the city.


We promised the new arena would put the city back on the world map for live entertainment. Bringing Elton to Leeds for his first show in nearly 30 years is the perfect concert for us to open with.


But Elton is not the only big name to sign on the dotted line for Leeds Arena this year pop sensations JLS have announced it will be on their third UK tour in December and local boys Kaiser Chiefs have agreed a special one-off concert in September.


Having played everywhere in Leeds from the Duchess to Elland Road, we are massively happy that the city has built somewhere new for us to play, said Kaiser Chief Simon Rix.


Were really looking forward to opening Leeds Arena in 2013 its going to be bigger that Ken Bates legal bill.


But not quite as big as when Elton comes to town. According to Leeds City Council leader Councillor Keith Wakefield, his concert is a real statement of intent for the arena in its bid to compete with the best in the world.


To have a long-established and world-famous artist of Elton Johns calibre opening our venue is a real coup, he said. He can easily sell out massive stadiums and concert halls across America and around the world, so were delighted to have him for our opening night. This demonstrates very clearly that Leeds Arena will be a key stop on the international touring circuit for the worlds biggest performers.

FACT FILE

Its not just about the music. The new Leeds arena also brings a commercial and financial boost to the region.

Its estimated the arena will bring in 25.5m each year

It will host at least 142 world class events attracting one million attendances annually

Generate about 70,000 overnight stays in the citiys hotels each year

So far, more than 60 businesses based in Leeds have been contracted as part of the Leeds Arena construction, with a further 40 from the Yorkshire region

Local businesses will be appointed to supply the arena once its completed

Sponsorship will also play a major role in generating revenue with its 24 corporate boxes available to buy

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