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Take That at the City of Manchester Stadium

If you weren't lucky enough to be at the Take That concert at the City of Manchester Stadium last week never fear, our competition winner Mary is here with her take on the evening - it'll feel like you were right there with her...

Published on June 28th 2006.

Take That at the City of Manchester Stadium

A year ago if anyone had predicated that Take That would tour again, let alone sell out a 26 date arena tour in no more than 6 hours, even the most optimistic fan would have laughed at the suggestion.

A year on, after completing the arena leg of the tour, last weekend saw the foursome played two dates at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Looking down on the stadium from the east stand was an amazing sight, especially when you consider that all those people were there to see a band that hasn’t toured for over 10 years, and importantly, a band which is missing a key member, Robbie Williams.

The atmosphere was quite simply amazing. Beverly Knight and The Sugababes did a good job of supporting, but the moment Take That stepped out onto the stage the audience were reminded of their incomparable stage presence. No one commands the stage like Take That. Seeing them on stage, it was hard to believe that they’d been away for so long. Mark Owen even quipped, “I feel like Robbie Williams’, to which the crowd booed, proving that Take That don’t need Robbie to remain popular.

The show started with a pre-recorded video of a ‘mad professor’ type, on the phone to ‘the manager’ who was asking for a boy band. It was a play on the manufacturing of the band, which remained a theme throughout the gig.

Take That were always known for their ‘big shows’ and this was no exception. Anybody that was worried that it would be hard to transfer their arena tour to a stadium, or that they were too old to do all their original dance routines, were proved wrong.

It was clear Mark was in his element. Although the other boys were energetic, Mark took it to another level, jumping around and dropping to his knees as if he was Mick Jagger.

All the boys seemed truly humble, and touched that so many people would pay to see them. The less well known ‘Once You’ve tasted Love’ opened the show, and it was hard to recognise a familiar dance routine. However the good old dance routines begun on the second song, Pray. Looking around, there didn’t seem to be member or the audience who didn’t remember the dance. It was at that moment that the screams cranked up a gear.

In the tours 10 years ago Mark would perform Babe with the help of special effects, on his own or just with Gary. This time round, no one left the stage. There was a sense of them all having an equal hand in the performance of every song. When Gary played the piano, Howard took a turn as well.

A highlight was undoubtedly ‘It only takes a minute’, sung to the music of ‘Roxanne’ by Sting. A flamenco dancer took centre stage, dancing with each of the boys in turn. Jason’s dancing skills were second to none, and even Gary lifted the girl off the piano with unexpected grace.

The show gained pace, with special effects, fire, and rain. Listening to the people around me, it was clear that many people had been to see the boys at the Manchester Arena back in May, but, although the set was largely unchanged, it was clear that there was something special about this stadium date.

In fact there was a frankness that wasn’t present in Take That 10 years ago. It was clear that the boys were in charge of this tour, and when they spoke between songs, there was no sense that it was scripted. There was a spontaneity which just wasn’t there before. They even let slip that there may be an album on its way.

Howard admitted that when they first stepped out onto the stage again he nearly cried. It wasn’t surprising when you consider that not even at the peak of their fame in the 90s did they consider a stadium tour.

The much speculated tour had a Las Vegas theme, which helped to enforce the party atmosphere. A portion of the stage reached out to encapsulate the first part of the audience (the golden circle). This is where they performed the Beatles Medley, as well as their encore, ‘Never Forget’ - the poignancy of which fans probably only grasp now, years after it was first released.

After reports in the news that Take That were pleased with Beverly Knight’s performance of ‘Relight My Fire’ on their arena tour, most of the fans weren’t expecting LuLu to turn up for the stadium leg. Beverly Knight began the song on this occasion but then suddenly Lulu appeared. She wore pale long shorts and a fitted corset, looking and sounding amazing.

For the people who queued over night and spent hours on the phone trying to get tickets, it was worth it. The fact that it was at a stadium helped the atmosphere - over 60,000 Take That fans all in one place, in their hometown. Listening to the people around us, there was a sense that it was a good thing that Robbie wasn’t there. The four boys proved that they could do it without him. They didn’t need him because everyone was there for Take That. One of the keys to the success of the night was that being there reminded everyone of life back in the 90s.

Mary Vingoe
Take That Competition Winner

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