Advantages Beautiful and versatile venue. Makes music available to the city.
Disadvantages 'Locking in' policy is outrageous! Acoustics not brilliant.
I was lucky enough to be taken to the Liverpool Echo Arena last May as a suprise birthday present. We went to see Cirque Du Soleil who were superb. (I will do a seperate review on their amazing company.)I had never been in the Arena before but I have watched it being built as well as the development of the surrounding area, on what was the car park for the Albert Dock.
That area now looks wonderful with the exception of the new multi storey carpark which is an eyesore compared to the other buildings. I hope it looks more in keeping when it's finished!I mention the new car park because it couldn't be more convenient for the arena. It's about a two minute walk from your car to the doors of the Echo Arena. I think parking for the evening came to £5.00, a bit on the steep side but it is very handy.
The Arena, holding 11,000, was built in 2008 and was part of the development made to mark Liverpool's City of Culture year. It is designed to make the least possible impact on the environment, and is quite a striking design visually. I was quite taken with the idea of using collected rainwater for flushing loos and the turbines on the Mersey to provide power for the complex of buildings. I would have liked to see some more information about these innovations inside the venue. Perhaps there is and I missed it.Queues to enter were dealt with speedily and humorously(which is fairly normal in Liverpool). There must be a ban on bringing drinks into the Arena because I heard one doorman tell a woman to "Zip your bag up girl, so I can't see those drinks there!" She did. Hmmm!
As we walked in my impression was of space and light, the entrance was pleasant, with fairly neutral concrete type colours and a fair few information posters and displays. We went straight down into our seats quite close to the stage. The seats were not very comfortable but there was a decent amount of space between the rows so they didn't feel too cramped. The concert hall felt like an aircraft hangar to me. It was minimalist and a bit daunting. During the performance it became clear why it was called the 'Echo' Arena, the acoustics where we were seated were not good at all. There was a distinct echo which blurred the music and made it harder to tell what the artistes were saying or singing!
(Just to be clear, it is really named for the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool's daily newspaper.)
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