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Perth Arena is ready to ROCK!!

| 15 November 2012 | Reply

We were lucky enough to get a guided tour of the brand spanking new PERTH ARENA last weekend, and can report that on first appearances it certainly looks like the venue West Australian music fans have been deprived of for many years.

When the Perth Entertainment Centre was given an honourable discharge a decade ago, all we’ve had for large scale indoor concerts has been the Burswood (now Crown) Dome – a sonic and organisational disaster ever since the very first concert there by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, when the sound echoed throughout the hall, bouncing off wall after wall and prompting many punters to demand their money back – and Challenge Stadium – a basketball court which did it’s best under the circumstances but never achieved the atmosphere or sonics required for a great rock n’ roll gig.

Facilities were officially tested in full at the $550 million Arena this weekend when Sir Elton John officially opened the venue, performing Saturday and Monday night.  Matchbox Twenty played Sunday night with INXS in support.  Despite some external panels still needing to be affixed, and cranes and scaffolding still in various places around the site, workers have done a fantastic job to have the Arena ready for business on time.

A soft opening the previous Friday featuring local acts San Cisco, Stillwater Giants, Split Seconds, Sugar Army and Drapht brought positive responses from most of the crowd, though a lag of up to a second between the live action on the stage and the enormous video screen directly behind them prompted concern from some concert goers.  There were no such concerns about the crisp and clear sound, and the bars and toilet facilities seemed to cope comfortably with a crowd of around 8000, and reports from this weekend’s shows suggest that the video screen lag had been well and truly rectified.

Jibes about the Arena’s “crushed beer can” silhouette faded away as we wandered the different levels, checked out the plush corporate boxes and multiple bar areas (all available for private & corporate functions when the venue does not have a gig on), and even got to wander the backstage area and see the change rooms and green room where stars such as Deep Purple, Journey, Nickelback, Pink, Weezer and Black Sabbath will kick back before and after their shows in the first half of 2013.  Arena staff had mocked up a couple of the rooms in fantasy style of a “Pop Diva” and “Rock God” to show the space in context, complete with a reclining rocker dummy with his hand in a huge bowl of blue M&M’s!

As we exited the backstage area we found one of the bar areas dressed up in an Alice In Wonderland theme – complete with giant mushrooms, stilt walking characters and a giant chessboard.  Wistfully, we thought it might even be better if this was the decor all the time…

Interestingly, the venue’s unusual shape was inspired by both Fremantle’s Roundhouse jail – the state’s oldest public building – and a 209-piece puzzle invented in 1999 called The Eternity Puzzle, which remained unsolved until 2001 when it was cracked by two British maths boffins.

A yellow “Totem” outside the Arena had people scratching their heads until it revealed itself to be an ever-changing sculpture which can even project a night time laser light show onto the Arena walls.

With a glut of big name acts already locked in to play the venue – and more announcements on the way – all signs point to Perth’s new Arena being the venue local music fans have long dreamt of!


Category: News

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