‘Coup for city’ as Elton John set to open Leeds Arena

Elton John will open Leeds Arena
Elton John will open Leeds Arena
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MUSIC superstar Sir Elton John is ready to raise the roof at the new Leeds Arena.

The singer and his band have confirmed a show at the £60m venue on Wednesday, September 4, next year.

As things stand, he will be the first act to play the 13,500-capacity arena.

The singer, whose illustrious career has seen him have hits the world over with songs such as Rocket Man and Candle in the Wind said he was excited about the show.

“It is 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.”

The Leeds show will be the superstar’s only indoor concert in the UK next year.

It will also be the first time the star has performed with his band in Leeds since he appeared at the now-demolished Queens Hall in 1984.

“I am really looking forward to playing the city of Leeds once again,” said Elton.

The singer is the latest in a flurry of big names to announce concerts at the arena, which is on Clay Pit Lane, near the Merrion Centre.

Leeds-based indie band Kaiser Chiefs will play the venue on September 13.

Comedian Micky Flanagan is performing on September 27 while pin-ups JLS will hit its stage on December 20 next year.

The main phase of construction work on the Leeds City Council-backed arena is due to finish in March.

It will then be handed over to operator SMG Europe for its interior fit-out.

SMG Europe’s regional vice president, John Knight, said: “For the arena to host Elton’s only indoor concert in this country next year is a major coup for the city.

“We promised the arena would put the city back on the world map for live entertainment.

“Bringing Elton to Leeds is the perfect concert for us to open with.”

City council leader Coun Keith Wakefield said: “This is a real statement of intent for Leeds Arena as a venue that will compete with the best in Europe and indeed the world.

“Sir Elton can easily sell out massive stadiums and concert halls across America and all over the world and we’re delighted to have him for our opening night.”

The now-defunct regional development agency Yorkshire Forward contributed £10m to the cost of the arena, with the remainder of the funds coming from the council.

Experts estimate it will generate around £25m a year for the Leeds economy.

It is also hoped the arrival of the arena will breathe new life into the area around Clay Pit Lane.

Schemes already announced include a 14-storey hotel at Portland Crescent and a new apartment block on Merrion Way.

Tickets for Elton’s concert go on sale this Friday, priced from £65.

For more details, ring 0844 248 1585, visit the www.eventim.co.uk/leeds-arena web page or go to the Leeds Town Hall box office.