Despite being the perfect age for Take That the first time round... I have to admit to not really being a fan during my teenage years, choosing instead follow the Britpop path whilst shunning the Mancunian five some (well trio nowadays) but I did not expect the show to be THIS good...
My interest increased after their comeback and the subsequent widening of my taste in music. Although I had owned their albums I had never seen them live before and after fantastic reports from friends who had attended their previous tours, I knew I was in for a treat.
Before the tour had reached the Genting Arena, I'd seen some pictures from a friend who had been to their opening night in Glasgow and so I had seen parts of the set, but I was not prepared for the sheer size and spectacle of it.
The stage looped round an inner ‘golden circle’ of fans, with the rest of the Arena floor filled with the remaining standing fans with the seated parts of the Arena full to the brim. The crowd was very varied in age, but unsurprisingly there was a definite female bias, many of whom were sporting neon coloured trilby hats purchased from the merchandise units.
Ella Henderson was fantastic in her role as support and I’m sure it will not be long before she is commanding the Arena stage for herself. Finishing with ‘Ghost’ she warmed the crowd brilliantly in preparation for the arrival of Gary, Mark and Howard. In the interval before they arrived, the stage was taken over by an intriguing group of mime artistes along with a tricycle, umbrellas and gears slowly moving round on the screens behind.
When the boys finally made their entrance by rising through the stage, the crowd was at fever pitch ready for what Take That had to offer.
Starting with ‘I Like It’ from their most recent album, I was mesmerized as the stage came alive. It was filled with dancers and two sections of orchestra who played various parts over the evening.
They followed with ‘Love Love’ and then ‘Greatest Day’ which was fantastic to hear in an Arena setting and showcased Gary’s vocal talent brilliantly. Gary then took the time to ‘introduce’ the band as ‘what’s left of Take That’ much to the amusement of the crowd before going into ‘Patience’ as the song that ‘brought them back after all those years’. White drapes were then drawn around the inner circle and images were projected onto them as the mime artistes from earlier reappeared to entertain us whilst the set was changed.
When the drapes were drawn back a fabulous under sea scene was revealed and ‘The Garden’ began as the scene around came to life with enormous jellyfish moving slowly up and down with the music.
As the evening went on we were treated to some faster numbers (‘Relight My Fire’, ‘Could it be Magic’, ‘Pray’) which got the crowd on their feet and allowed the boys to showcase their dancing skills and then we were amazed to see a real rainstorm during ‘Flood’ which had the orchestra bringing out their ponchos and umbrellas. As they ended with a rendition of ‘Rule the World’ the whole Arena was on their feet.
Gary had teased us that if we ‘cheered loud enough’ they might have rehearsed a couple of others… so as the Arena clapped and stamped their feet Gary, Mark and Howard returned to the stage for an encore of a rousing version of ‘Shine’ before bringing the house down with ‘Never Forget’.
An amazing performance from three boys who have arguably got better with age. Their reduction in numbers was made up for by a high tempo show, where if you took your eyes off the stage for a moment you were sure to miss something. A perfect mix of the ‘old Take That’ with the new, polished performers they have become.
Reviewed by Katy Barton