THERE can’t be too many places in the world where the capital city’s major entertainment venue is surrounded by bush walks, lagoons and picnic grounds.
The last time I was at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was to see the Eagles in concert and that, of course, was at night so I had no idea what lay beyond the car park and the entrance doors.
A Sunday afternoon prowl, when all was quiet, revealed a completely different side to the complex near the wetlands at Boondall.
The building itself is much like any other multi-purpose arena – big and sort of square looking. It has a roof area of 3.2ha (8 acres) and the total floor space is 60,000sq m.
But take the ring road around the 63.5ha site and it’s a whole different story.
Naturally there is heaps of parking – 4000 spaces as there isn’t any bus even at showtime, but a nearby train line is an easy walk.
Take your pick of spaces on a Sunday afternoon and set off on foot and you won’t be disappointed.
There’s a big lagoon to stroll around, grassy lawns, picnic tables, free barbecues and lots of bushland. Paved paths through the bushland also circle the perimeter and are perfect for cycling or walking.
The only drawback is that it’s also popular with mosquitoes, although they were manageable on a winter’s afternoon.
For the record, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, the largest live venue in Queensland, opened on February 20, 1986 with a performance by British ice skaters Torvill and Dean who were indeed very big at the time.
It cost $41 million to build, has 11,000 tiered seats, a concert capacity of 14,500 and is mainly used for concerts by touring international artists and musical theatre.
In June 2010 it ranked No.1 in the world for venues with a capacity between 10,000 and 15,000.
There’s also a sporting complex and smaller function rooms. Designed into the main arena seats is 1788 – 1988 for Australia’s bicentenary year and there’s a life-size bronze statue of Leroy Loggins, a tribute to the basketballer from the people of Brisbane.
It has hosted a diverse range of events including Monster trucks, Supercross, circuses, bull riding, concerts, conventions, ice spectaculars and wrestling.
Some of the big events among many have included Michael Jackson’s 1987 Bad tour, Pink’s The Truth About Love tour (she’s the highest selling solo artist in the centre’s history), Jay-Z’sMagna Carta World Tour and Madonna is rocking in next March for her Rebel Heart tour – and of course the Eagles.