First Direct Arena
Time Out says
Large-capacity venue that regularly hosts sell-out appearances by rock royalty
The arrival of Leeds’ first large-capacity venue was undoubtedly long-overdue: it was left behind for years as huge rock bands toured the country, yet were forced to play in Sheffield, Liverpool or Manchester, instead of the city equally famed for its contribution to music.
The First Direct Arena was not only a game-changer for the city, but also for big concert halls all over. Instead of being a multi-use sports/exhibition space in the common oblong arrangement, the main area is an unusual UFO shape – wide instead of long – which allows a better view for a standing audience and even those in the cheap seats at the back. The calendar has a heavy emphasis on rock ‘n’ roll royalty, with acts including Jack White, Dolly Parton, Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton and Elton John having already performed here.
The food and drink prices are still extortionate, but this is to be expected when courting a captive audience, and the fairly narrow stairway leading from the pit to the exit gets easily clogged with punters after the show has finished. Rock on!