LIVE REVIEW: Planet Earth II Live In Concert @ first direct Arena, Leeds


Planet Earth II showcased high-definition breathtaking footage of creatures and habitats on a gigantic LED Screen along with compositions by Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Conducted by Platinum and gold disc award winner Matthew Freeman. I have attended many concerts at first direct Arena but this would have to be my first seated and first orchestra in this arena. When people think of orchestras, most would say they are for old people and are boring. This is quite the misconception, orchestras hold a diversity of people in attendance from all ages and backgrounds and are quite astounding, emotionally provoking and the experiences are unique to each of those attending. After picking up the tickets at the box office and weaving through security stations, I made my way up a flight of stairs to be met with delicate bird songs and calls as I found my seat, it was a nice little touch and introduction whilst the audience waited. I would argue this was the best seat in the house. With full view of the LED screen and the entire orchestra and lights show below. The overall experience was just incredible from start to finish and was an absolute privilege to attend such inspiring, compelling, jaw dropping show and concert. Even within minutes of the first movement, I became so overwhelmed with intense emotion that the orchestra led me through with silky warm layers of the string section and the brass section made you feel depth, whilst woodwind added a touch of hope and enlightenment and as it worked its way, gradually building and climbing with intensity with stunning visuals of animals and the earth, it created a sense of grandness and awe. It’s a feeling that you wouldn’t experience at any other concert and it makes you feel that this planet, beyond our concrete pavements and brick buildings, is astonishing and grand and special, and I must admit that through the first movement, I started tearing up, looking around at the audience I found I wasn’t the only one.

My eyes darted everywhere throughout the entire performance,

I had to appreciate every instrumentalists movements and admire the choir as well as keeping up with the story. The Lighting extended the visual depth by using complimentary lighting above and below the LED screen. To explain, during a scene of smaller animals in grass, the lighting for the orchestra would be hues of warm oranges and yellows to represent the dirt below, whilst projections on the ceiling would be white to represent the sky and clouds. I found that the Orchestra was perfect in every way in depicting personalities for the animals on screen- An innocent lazy sloth would suddenly be placed on a mission to find his mate, his determination led him to move the fastest he had ever been in his life and put himself at risk swimming across rivers and by the end of his quest he is met with disappointment which created a comedic effect that in all his best efforts during his quest was for nothing, reducing the audience to erupt in laughter. A notable scene, complete opposite to the sloth, depicted a scene of Marine Iguana hatchlings in the face of danger of hungry Racer snakes. Each of the hatchlings sprinted to the colony, some of them would succumb to their deaths. One particular Marine Iguana had the audience on the edge of their seats rooting for his safety as he dodged the grips of snapping jaws and entwined bodies and finally making it to safety at the very last stretch. One audience member cried out at this little one’s victory, although, the audience erupted in laughter at his enthusiasm, it surely proves how spectacular the film-making and concert had been to completely transport an individual.

Throughout the entirety of the concert I became multiple animals or I was flying, swimming or climbing right next to them. It baffled me with curiosity what kind of technology was used and how close they actually were with animals, visually impressive and musically thrilling. The final movement was a favourite of mine, returning back to the opening motif but ending with the haunting growls of the aloof snow leopard. A privilege indeed to see such rare clips of an even rarer species.

To conclude, Planet Earth II successfully made me fall in love again with the vibrant natural world and sometimes we forget that it’s important to preserve our world and share with other creatures. It made me appreciate a lot of our planets life and also made me aware of how devastating it is to lose a lot of it to natural and man made disasters, global warming and habitat destruction. Planet Earth II serves its purpose by showing people the natural beauties and gives people hope for the future through active change. I would say that for anyone attending the concert has had a real life-changing privilege to experience the music, artistry and hard work behind the documentary series all in this live and personal event.