first direct arena Leeds - Reviews

first direct arena Leeds
4.4 (132 Reviews)
Atmosphere
Acoustics & sight lines
Toilets
Parking
On-site service

Selected reviews for this venue:

Dave Paisley, 14/07/14
cant comment on the parking as we did not use it. on site bar was really good with soft seating and reasonable prices. view of the stage was good, although I am not sure how good it would be if you were right at the back
Pearl Jam (14/07/14) - 3 hours 40 minutes of pure brilliance
Down to earth set and as ever Pearl Jam produced a memorable night, it was evident that The Who connection had not been lost on Edd who appeared to revel in the atmosphere and the closeness of the crowd to the stage. Pearl Jam are the real deal and probably the purest rock band touring at present. Superb.
Mrscrawley, 11/07/14
Good venue. Didnt need to park (came by train). We queued at the bar for nearly 30 minutes for drinks even though all the tills were open. There should have been people assisting the servers to get it moving quicker as it was ridiculous.
Team Presentation Opening Ceremony (11/07/14) - A good evening
I didnt know what to expect but this was a great event. They kept it moving and it didnt feel like 2.5 hours.
John, 10/07/14
I didnt try the toilets - it seems there are too few, judging by the queues - or the food. Otherwise a great venue with excellent acoustics
Eric Clapton (10/07/14) - A Lacklustre Performance!
Never having been able so see Mr Clapton before (although I have seen his compatriots in Cream at other times) I was very much looking forward to seeing the great man himself. What a disappointment! Although he had a great band with him - they were full of life, enthusiasm and musicianship - the great man just seemed to be going through the motions, despite his virtuosity on the guitar. He began with a couple of potboiler 12 bar blues (one recalled his longstanding affection for the blues) which did nothing to raise the crowd. The best section was that in which he took to his acoustic guitar, when something approaching emotion seemed to stir. This was just an interlude however, as the remainder of his electric set didnt build on this. He played a few favourites, but probably not many that his undoubted fans were hoping to hear. He hardly said a word all through, didnt introduce the band, and only acknowledged after a fine performance of one of his own songs. He played for only 90 mins, and the highlight of the evening was the performance of the support band - Hunter and the Bear. They showed him how to bring an audience to life, playing some great numbers! Fortunately, we saw The Eagles on the next evening. What a contrast - interested, communicative, lively and some great music. My brother had seen Mr Clapton a little while ago in Melbourne (Oz) and had made similar comments to mine. I had hoped he had just been jet-lagged there, and that we would see a different side - but it was just more of the same! We wont bother to line his pockets next time he tours!
John, 10/07/14
I didnt try the toilets - it seems there are too few, judging by the queues - or the food. Otherwise a great venue with excellent acoustics
Eric Clapton (10/07/14) - A Lacklustre Performance!
Never having been able so see Mr Clapton before (although I have seen his compatriots in Cream at other times) I was very much looking forward to seeing the great man himself. What a disappointment! Although he had a great band with him - they were full of life, enthusiasm and musicianship - the great man just seemed to be going through the motions, despite his virtuosity on the guitar. He began with a couple of potboiler 12 bar blues (one recalled his longstanding affection for the blues) which did nothing to raise the crowd. The best section was that in which he took to his acoustic guitar, when something approaching emotion seemed to stir. This was just an interlude however, as the remainder of his electric set didnt build on this. He played a few favourites, but probably not many that his undoubted fans were hoping to hear. He hardly said a word all through, didnt introduce the band, and only acknowledged after a fine performance of one of his own songs. He played for only 90 mins, and the highlight of the evening was the performance of the support band - Hunter and the Bear. They showed him how to bring an audience to life, playing some great numbers! Fortunately, we saw The Eagles on the next evening. What a contrast - interested, communicative, lively and some great music. My brother had seen Mr Clapton a little while ago in Melbourne (Oz) and had made similar comments to mine. I had hoped he had just been jet-lagged there, and that we would see a different side - but it was just more of the same! We wont bother to line his pockets next time he tours!
plod, 08/07/14
Team Presentation Opening Ceremony (08/07/14) - Great to see the cyclists
Poor sound system meant most conversations on stage were difficult to follow. Was at front in most expensive seats and apart from the great position did not find it great value.
Terence Lowe, 08/07/14
Not all bars take credit/debit cards (beware after queuing for 10 minutes) yet there are no clear signs to say they are cash only. Some staff at the bars were pretty poor as well. I requested some french fries only to be told that there were none left and was offered crisps as an alternative. After paying for the crisps, I heard other people requesting fries from other serving staff. To my surprise, fries were very much still on the menu. When I made this point to my server all I got was a sorry and a shrug of the shoulders! The acoustics were pretty poor for the concert side of the event - was impossible to hear any of the words that were being sung from where we were.
Team Presentation Opening Ceremony (08/07/14) - Overpriced for what is normally a free event!
Team presentations at the Tour de France have up until this point been a free event. So, for 65 GBP + an extra booking fee (per ticket) you would hope to be getting something spectacular apart from a comfortable seat! Unfortunately this was not the case. As a fan of the Tour and of cycling in general I hope that this is not a case of how things will be hosted in future. Cycling fans are not bothered about official tour songs and tag on artists to make it look like you are getting good bang for your buck. Please keep these events free, just like the spectating on the streets. I would not recommend attending a similar event in future and suspect that the money generated from the presentation went some way to address budget shortfalls for hosting the race in the first place. Im also fed up of being charged a booking fee per ticket when in actual fact I only make one booking on a website that has no human element - why is that? Disappointed.
Nicky, 05/07/14
We liked the venue, but it was a bit tricky finding our seats and we had to disturb a lot of people for us to sit down.
Eric Clapton (05/07/14) - Good guitarist, but spoke not a word!
My husband and I went to see Eric Clapton on Sunday. 22nd June. It was our 25th wedding anniversary celebration and my husbands 68th birthday. Erics guitar playing did not disappoint. It was as clever as usual and extremely slick. However, we did think he could have introduced the band, or even thanked them. We had no idea who they were until we looked it up on the internet after the show. We thought it was rude not to say hello and it would have been helpful to have introduced the songs or said a bit about them. We enjoyed the venue though. We would certainly visit the First Direct again.
Mad Phil, 05/07/14
Very expensive food and drink. Having said that, an otherwise excellent venue for a show of this magnitude. At last the really top acts can come to Leeds; in the past weve had to travel to Manchester, Sheffield or London to get to see top line entertainment.
Eric Clapton (05/07/14) - All Time Great
What a show on my first visit to the new Leeds Arena! Top class music played by top class musicians. We were treated to many of his classics - hes been around for 50 years, so he couldnt play them all in a 90 minute set!. Different class. Say no more.
Martin J Scott, 04/07/14
Eric Clapton (04/07/14) - Awesome
Just to be in the same building as Eric was amazing, but to hear him play and sing just blew me away. Eric Is God!!!
Peachy, 04/07/14
Great venue. Great view wherever you sit. I love the fact its in the centre of Leeds with good parking and great transport links.Brilliant for Leeds. Long overdue.
The Eagles (04/07/14) - Great event!!
Best concert ever! Fabulous musicians. 31 songs ..the numbers just kept coming & coming. Brilliant venue as well.
Fifi, 04/07/14
Parking horrendous we were told it would take an hour to get out of the car park though it did actually only take half an hour. Massive queues to get into the arena and again had to queue to get out. Dont bother with tickets on the third tier, the stage is a long way away and the screens are small and our middle screen view was partly blocked by speakers. The seats are very steep and very long rows so you have to get up constantly to let others pass. Would pay more next time and get seats at floor level. If you park get there early to get a space on a lower level in the car park.
The Eagles (04/07/14) - Amazing show
Fantastic musicians and a brilliant show. The acoustics were very good and I would go again if I had the chance.
Alberts mum, 04/07/14
First visit to Leeds arena quite impressed , great sized venue with good views of stage, easy access, lots of parking close by but........ Long queues to get in slow to move would have been a nuisance if weather was wet
The Eagles (04/07/14) - Amazing!!!
The History of The Eagles 3 hours of hits sounding just as good as they did in the 70s. Amazing night of music loved every minute!
Jaysholme, 03/07/14
The stewards were s**t, once the main auditorium lights had gone down, basically they asked you to go find your seats by yourselves once they had pointed in the correct direction, even though the row numbers were definately NOT VISIBLE in low lights. Tier 3 - handle rails - one minute there are there and then they not!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT IMPRESSED WITH VENUE
Eric Clapton (03/07/14) - No audience commuinication
EC hardly talked to audience eg introducing his band, just did his guitar playing then obviously wanted to get back to his hotel
Max, 03/07/14
Eric Clapton (03/07/14) - Wonderful Night :)
Eric Clapton played not only popular songs, that was interesting! Moreover almost all songs were played in blues style. That was something new for me. The thoughts that Eric Clapton stopped progressing were blown away. Do want to thank him for that gig! Hope that was not the last concert of Eric Clapton I have visited.
Mr A C Dykes, 03/07/14
The Eagles (03/07/14) - Fabulous !!
To see The Eagles live was a fabulous experience. It was, however, very disappointing that we were not allowed to take a photograph which would be a lasting memoir of a great evening. They need to think of the fans who have paid @ £150 to see them. All the staff at the Arena were polite and helpful. All in all it was a fantastic evening.
Les Artios Davison, 03/07/14
The Eagles (03/07/14) - One of the best Concerts We have attended
Absolutely Fabulous, Plus First DIRECT ARENA, LEEDS, UPGRADED OUR SEATS, so we had a fantastic view, front row on the balcony, The concert was staged brilliantly, Fabulous night from 8-00pm until 11-30pm.
Lesley Reall, 03/07/14
Eric Clapton (03/07/14) - Could have done better!
We eventually get a chance to see the great Eric Clapton and wish hed tried harder. Whilst musically he could not be faulted, it was a disappointing show. To start with: the support act whilst ok were on stage far too long being an hour in total; at no point during Erics short 1 1/2 hour stint did he introduce his co-musicians; apart from a solitary thank you after singing Wonderful Tonight, Layla and Tears in Heaven, Eric at no time interacted with the fans who had paid on average £60 to see him.
Slybones, 03/07/14
Extremely friendly and helpful staff was a major plus point. However, seating uncomfortable (why have arms on chairs when the arms are too low to rest your arms on?) Bad accoustics in auditorium caused a tinny echo from the back of the hall during all quiet passages.
Eric Clapton (03/07/14) - NOT AS EXPECTED
Eric failed to connect with the audience - no chat - not even an introduction to the members of the band. One hour thirty five minutes set too short for an artist of this stature and popularity (over two and a half hours from Paul McCartney!) Bad accoustics in the auditorium detracted from enjoyment.
Peter, 03/07/14
Eric Clapton (03/07/14) - Good concert, but.......
I have seen EC several times, the first was in 1978 when no less than Muddy Waters was supporting him. This concert was as I expected, the music and guitar playing was very good, but there was absolutely no acknowledgement of the audience apart from good evening and thank you between songs. The rest of the band also seemed a bit down (even Paul Carrack. who normally likes a bit of banter). I know they have been touring the world, and even Clapton admitted that he is feeling the strain these days. The acoustic set in the middle was really good, and some of the notes were played so powerful and sharp, that they seemed to hit you. There were no apparent sound problems unlike the previous night at Glasgow. So, a good concert but I wish the he and the band would at least make an effort to look like they are glad to be there.
HippyChick, 03/07/14
First time at the venue and thought it was brilliant - long awaited and welll worth it. We sat quite a way back form the stage but the vie wwas still great and sound quality fantastic. I was impresed with the organisation and even though there were loads of people getting served at the bar wasnt the normal scrum. One point in the above scores - I didnt drive to the venue so cant really comment on the parking but a friend did and said it was fine.
The Eagles (03/07/14) - Brilliant - Best Concert Ever!!!
A group of 8 attended the concert of a variety of ages. All of us are pretty regular gig / concert goers and without fail eveyrone agreed it was one of the bets if not the best concert ever seen. The whole production was really well thought out and put together and the way the guys came out onto the stage in the sequence they joined the band was such a clever touch. Glen and Don were in fine singing form, Bernie and Timothy showed why they were asked to join and Joe Walsh - well what can I say - mad as a box of frogs but what a Legend! Every song was a masterpiece and all the old favorite. Its been a long time since i laughed and cried at a concert so thank you guys - it was emotional!