Slipknot: Spotlight Hospitality Experience
The fourth floor of the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena is the Hospitality Suite. It has recently undergone a major refurbishment and The Boy and I went along this week to road test it. Slipknot were playing, supported by Behemoth, the day after the Boy’s birthday. I haven’t see Slipknot live since about the year 2000, so was definitely due a catch up and having the added bonus of the hospitality package made it a perfect post-birthday treat.
First of all, there really is nothing nicer than skipping the queue for entry, which already snaked its way around the entirety of the arena when we rocked up an hour before the show. Hospitality package guests just need to make their way to the foyer lifts and head straight to floor four – no mess, no fuss. Perfect on a cold January night.
The new Spotlight restaurant is beautifully decked out. Bright, clean lines are complemented by on-the-ball, efficient staff who are personable and friendly. I was really looking forward to my meal, but I was a little surprised that the panoramic floor to ceiling views of the city skyline that were boasted about in the literature were covered entirely by drapes when we visited.
Our Spotlight Experience was £128 per guest and included a 2 course meal with drinks, and ‘tickets for seating in close proximity to the stage’ which actually meant in one of the Executive Suites in our case – because we were really being spoiled!
Having seen the beautiful images of the new restaurant and heard all about the state of the art kitchen, I must confess I thought there may have been an error when we were sent our menu. The choice was essentially burger, hot dog, or veggie burger. Not particularly haute cuisine… We might be metal fans, but we still like pretty food – amirite?
Well I turned the inner snob off and decided to see what we were presented with before I cast my judgement. The Boy and I both opted for the double cheeseburger, which was served with chips, onion rings and a BBQ salsa. It was undeniably huge. The burger itself was two massive hand-shaped patties which were nicely cooked so as to be lovely and juicy. This was topped with salad, double cheese and bacon and served on a brioche bun.
All of this was absolutely fine. Not the best burger I’ve ever had, certainly not the worst. Pleasant enough. But the onion rings and chips? Sadly another story. In place of quality we definitely received quantity. Your basic frozen chips en masse, along with some very sad, soft, lukewarm onion rings on top of the burger. I would have much preferred a handful of well cooked, homemade chips to this mass of cheap, underdone and slightly unpleasant carb.
Onwards and upwards though and strangely the desserts were much more in line with what I was expecting from the Spotlight restaurant. Neat, classic presentation of competently prepared dishes. I had the creme brulee which had a satisfying contrast of bruleed sugar against rich cream, while the Boy had the dark and decadent chocolate tart. Not too little, not too much. The desserts were Goldilocks to the main courses’ Daddy Bear leanings.
However it is worth mentioning that the service was excellent throughout. Our waiter was attentive, interested, charming and efficient. Everything I like. Everything everyone likes. He really made the experience in my opinion and all of the staff we came into contact with were a credit to the arena. Their attitude, more so than the food, was what made our experience feel luxurious.
On with the show!
Then we were shown through to our Executive Suite, which was EXCITING! Incredible views up in the sky boxes of what looked to be a pretty much sold out show. Again we were treated to a dedicated waiter in our box who looked after ordering and delivering drinks throughout the show. There are menus available in the suites as well, if you have chosen a different package that doesn’t include pre-show dinner.
Behemoth are not a band I am massively familiar with, I’ve only heard odds and sods in the past. I’ve already added them to my Spotify playlist, and their live show was energetic and entertaining. They have been around for a long time, perfecting their black metal melodies. The sound was hard and heavy and the old familiar schtick of Satanic symbols and death metal themes never fails to please the crowd. The sound in the arena was excellent – really hit you between the eyes.
I was fortunate enough to see Slipknot three or four times in 1999 and 2000 at various festivals and Manchester live shows – they really were brand new then. So much energy, so many people, so little room on the stage. I was excited to see how their live performance had evolved. Well, chalk and cheese! Undoubtedly they are now a vast money making machine as the heavy investment in the staging showed! Not that I consider this a bad thing. In 2000 seeing Slipknot live (and having Chris Fehn stagedive directly on your head) was an experience. In 2020, seeing Slipknot live is truly a spectacle.
I would say that arguably the massive arena sized staging, elaborate lights and pyrotechnics have taken over where a fraction of the energy has been lost. They are stage managed now – still powerful, but not with the same raw energy as when I last saw them. And understandably so, they are 20 years older and their performance has matured. But they are still fantastic.
I remember a time when it wasn’t cool to like Slipknot. It probably still isn’t. I imagine they are something of a retro band now – brought home to me by the drunk girl in the lift on the way out proclaiming that she was 21, she’d had 6 pints and was having the best time ever. Her mum was probably pregnant with her the first time I saw Slipknot. Eeek.
Spotlight on Nottingham
So, was it worth it? Well, if you’re going to see a band you really, really love, then no. Obviously you get standing tickets and go and rock out in the pit like a normal person. If, however, you’ve already forked out for decent seated tickets then to be honest you aren’t adding a huge spend to enjoy the hospitality experience. As someone who is currently pregnant enough for it to be annoying and tiring, this way of experiencing a gig could not have suited me better. I was comfortable and I loved the show.
Giving a real sense of luxury – as you would expect from a £100+ hospitality package – is all about the details for me. The service was on point and conveyed the feel of a premium experience perfectly. I hope the food can be tweaked to match it.
Thanks to the Motorpoint Arena for gifting us this experience. Although the visit was complimentary, my opinions in this review are an honest reflection of our evening.