Day of reckoning


The pulling power of international bands needs venues -and facilities- to match their prestige. Last night, Birmingham's LG Arena did just that as American rockers Green Day took to the stage having delivered 30,000 fans to two sold out shows at the venue, breaking attendance records at the brand new LG Arena within days of its opening. Sat Bal experienced the LG's hospitality offering with sumptuous dining at its Sanctum restaurant before watching Green Day in action from the venue's new premium Showdeck.(29 Oct' 09)

Treating business clients, employees or bons vivants at an arena like this places the emphasis where it should be; on entertainment. After all who'd want to discuss business with a fully stocked bar on the Showdeck and an intense-decibel band belting out its playlist? This loads the hospitality process with goodwill and with an ever-changing music roster there's always an act that'll strike the right chords. The LG Arena line-up saw Tom Jones leave the building recently while performers still to feature include Depeche Mode, Miley Cyrus, Backstreet Boys and Placebo.

So, what does £29million get you in arena terms? The newly re-opened venue has increased its capacity from 12,000 to 15,700.

Other enhancements include bigger, better seating, better views of the stage and the addition of the new pre and post show entertainment space, forumLIVE.

The LG Arena reports that Tom Jones's audience on October 18 approved the venue's overhaul with 94 per cent of the 500 visitors surveyed rating the “total experience” as very good.

We'd say that approval was nearer 100 per cent last night as the now blond Billie Joe Armstrong stormed the venue with numbers from Green Day's current album 21st Century Breakdown and chestnuts such as Brain Stew, St Jimmy, 21 Guns and Basket Case.

The performance was part rock, part comedic with costumery, tomfoolery and much audience participation. Crowd members were pulled onto stage for Green Day's much-loved 'make your band' and 'sacrificial lambs' were put to the slaughter on stage.

The theatre was intensified with well-timed pyros and a back wall of intermittent imagery streaming through. Perched up on the Showdeck the vista is panoramic and your party is undisturbed and delineated from the other audience tiers. However, the separation is discrete so that Showdeckers feel every bit a part of the show as the rest of the arena. Even if a particular band isn't your cup of vodka it'd be difficult not to be moved by the view below; a swarming, capacity audience having a bloody good time.

Of course, endearing themselves to their audience is what Green Day do well. So when the opening strains of Black Sabbath's Paranoid lurched from the stage the crowd duly freaked at Green Day's homage to Birmingham's favourite son, Ozzy Osbourne. In all, almost three hours of high-energy musicianship delivered in a worthy new venue.

“It is brilliant news to be able to report such an excellent attendance at the LG Arena within just weeks of the new venue opening its doors," commented Phil Mead, director of Arenas, The NEC Group on Green Day's record breaking performances.

Paul Meadows, head of brand marketing, UK & Ireland, at LG Electronics added, “The new LG Arena looks spectacular and is ideal to provide those unforgettable ‘Life’s Good’ moments to anyone stepping inside. It is one of the largest arenas in the UK. We’re confident the LG Arena will become a national landmark for people to meet friends, see their favourite band.”

Nigel Russell, head of tourism at Advantage West Midlands, and venue investor, predicted that the attraction of national and international visitors was sure to increase revenue and raising the profile of the region.  “Advantage West Midlands is proud to support the investment of the LG Arena, yet another world class venue for performers in the heart of England," he said.



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