#TeamCoco like to do everything in style, including going to Gigs. We agree that there is nothing better than belting your heart out to your favourite band with a plastic cup of beer and all your friends around you, but sometimes you need to step it up a gear. We sent our Lifestyle writer Jenna to check out how Leeds’ First Direct Arena are reintroducing the ‘box’ with their new Suite Experience….
“I remember the first time I ever heard The Kooks, I was 13 years old listening to the radio in my bedroom and ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ came on. As I was quite partial to Indie music back then, I was instantly in love with their teenage lyrics and catchy rifts. My love affair with the band lead me to watch them in Manchester a few years later and then at Leeds Festival – where I totally fancied Luke Pritchard and their entire discography made me feel like I was in an episode of Skins. I have to be honest, my music taste changed drastically when I turned 18 and Deep House, Tech and Alternative R&B took over from my Indie love. However, whenever I hear ‘Naive’ or ‘Ooh La’ on the radio, it always throws me straight back. When the invite came in to go see The Kooks in one of First Direct Arena’s private Suites, I was soooo excited. Calling up my friend Kate we donned our best smasual black outfits and flat shoes ready for a night of dancing and singing some songs from our younger years.
I’d been to First Direct Arena quite a few times before, but never through the VIP entrance. Skipping the queues (and the November weather eek) we headed through our own personal security and picked up our tickets. What I love about the Suite experience is that not only do you get your own box for the night you even get a private lift and get escorted to your suite. Arriving at Suite 16 (singing my Super Sweet Sixteen theme tune in my head) we were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and told we had our own host for the evening. My favourite aspect of having our own host was definitely avoiding the bright lights and long queues for drinks in the main foyer, alongside her helping us jump on the private WiFi just for Suite guests.
With a glass of fizz in hand and the best seats in the house we waited for The Kooks to grace the stage. Looking down at the standing stalls, it was absolutely packed. It reminded me of the time I went to see The Courteeners when I was 18 and got completely squashed against the railings, it was a total rush but me and my friends legit almost died. The joysssssss of the pits during an Indie gig, don’t regret it at all! It was a totally different experience watching a gig from the comfort (and safety) of the Suites however, but it was kinda nice. It was like being in a really cosy bar with some amazing live music, rather than being at an actual gig. I wouldn’t say either is better than the other, its just different. What I will say though is that being in my twenties definitely has resulted in me wanting to sit down more when I drink, so it was a totally luxury to sit on a stool, neck a few bottles of Prosecco and glance over to the stage.
When the drinks kicked in and the music started, I got that rush of excitement that I hadn’t had for a while. There is nothing quite like being in a room full of thousands of people singing along to the same songs as you, especially when the song has some emotional attachment to it. ‘Naive’ for me reminds me of my first ever boyfriend when I was 14 and hearing it always reminds me of how cute and young we were, but we thought we knew it all. The Kooks really are the soundtrack to many 90’s babies teenage years, so I’m sure a few readers will agree with me!
Alongside priority entry, table service and the best view in the arena – The Suite Experience just makes it that little bit more special. You can book them for up to 16 guests with a welcome glass of fizz and even the option to pre-order pizza and other nibbles if you’re feeling hungry after all the booze. Big thanks to Pink Gorilla for the hospitality and First Direct Arena for the amazing service. Once reserved for the super-rich, First Direct Arena are making Suites totally accessible for normal people and I for one, will definitely be booking again soon.”
The First Direct Arena suite experience includes:
– A private VIP Suite for up to 16 guests for a specific event
– A dedicated VIP entrance
– Private cash bar with dedicated suite host
– Welcome glass of bubbly.
– The option to pre-order delicious food.
Please contact Lisa Turton on 0113 386 3607 to book