Prof Brian Cox takes his audience on a journey to the stars at First Direct Arena in Leeds

Prof Brian Cox took the audience of First Direct Arena in Leeds on a journey to the stars.
Prof Brian Cox took the audience of First Direct Arena in Leeds on a journey to the stars.

It's very rare that I've been to a show/gig, call it what you will, that there has ever been deathly silence, writes ANTHONY LONGSTAFF.

In this case the deathly silence was pure concentration and wonderment from 7,000 people sat in First Direct Arena watching, in awe, Prof Brian Cox's latest show.

To discuss, essentially, the meaning of life in nigh on two hours with figures and statistics so precise, with photos of the universe so pin sharp, was just an absolute feat of utter mesmerising brilliance.

Starting off with quotes from legends such as Carl Sagan and Prof Stephen Hawking, the show opened with fascinating insights into the creation of the universe, something which every level of enthusiast could accommodate from the school kid to the avid adult astronomer.

There was a point during the first half of the show where my concentration was fluctuating so much between 'I can't remember breathing for the last 10 minutes' and 'Yeah, I absolutely understand everything that was being said'.

The Hubble telescope pictures were just phenomenal and a massive part of helping everyone move along with the show, stamping down the fact that the need for amazing photography should not be overlooked no matter whether it's in a local newspaper or for a massive world wide cosmology lecture tour.

Mostly for the second half of the show Prof Cox was joined by comedian, and partner on their Radio 4 show The Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince.

Ince's humorous interventions were a nice annexation to the sometimes rather serious nature of the lecture. Towards the end of the show, Ince performed a rather heart touching piece which reminded parents of not wanting to wish their children's childhood away, something which pretty much affected everyone in the arena.

Questions and answers regarding 'are there really aliens in the universe' etc, from the audience, although fairly typical, produced some thought inspiring theories, a topic of conversation surely most people would pick up in the car on the way home.

As cosmology lectures go, this is the largest I've ever attended and quite possibly one of the most fascinating.

Prof Brian Cox has the ability to reel an audience in and paste out complex topics like interactions of matter and energy, statistical mechanics, relativity and many other things which would no doubt make very interesting pub conversations, in a way which people can easily grasp.

If you've missed out on this show it's definitely something that you shouldn't miss out on when he's next in the region.