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André Rieu Has Fans Dancing in the Aisles at Leeds First Direct Arena [Photos]

World-renowned violinist and conductor André Rieu has fans dancing in the aisle at Leeds FD Arena. Check out the photos and review here…



André Rieu
André Rieu, photo by Graham Finney Photography

I wish you a long and happy life,” says André Rieu at the end of the night before adding, “and a long life full of music.”

It’s the perfect end to a night which has seen the world-renowned Dutch violinist and conductor, and his sixty-piece orchestra delight fans with two hours of laughter, entertainment and, more importantly, incredible music at Leeds First Direct Arena.

Leading the Johann Strauss Orchestra, Rieu is joined throughout the night by a stream of solo artists and groups who deliver breathtaking renditions of some huge songs. These renditions were all played out to a background of changing images.

As for Rieu himself, you couldn’t have wished for a more perfect host for the evening. Aside from being a world-renowned violinist and composer, Rieu has a huge, larger-than-life personality and a wicked sense of humour. From jokes about his bedroom routine to stopping the show to chat to latecomers, Rieu has the crowd laughing almost as much as he has them up and out of their seats waltzing around the arena.

Whether you like classical music or not, this really is a show to experience. Prior to “Nessun Dorma,” André Rieu jokes, “In other shows, there has been a standing ovation at the end of this next performance…” before pausing briefly with a knowing smile across his face. Five minutes later, and every single person was out of their seat as the three tenors performing the song raised the roof on the building.

It’s one of a number of huge highlights, including “The Blue Danube,” which had couples pouring from all corners of the arena to a makeshift dancefloor on the arena. Balloons dropped from the encore while the empowerment anthem of the last two centuries, “I Will Survive,” had fans up and out of their seats again for this rousing rendition.

Which takes us nicely back to the point where André Rieu asks repeatedly if the crowd are tired. Of course, the answer is no, they’re not, which is all the encouragement needed for the conductor and his 60-strong orchestra to power through to a rousing finale of this incredible night of music and joy.

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.