By guest blogger Sarah Hamilton
This is going to be a personal account intertwined with some musical observations I hope you enjoy!
Having slept ok the night before…woke up fretting the alarm wouldn’t go off a couple of time I headed off to meet my friends at 11am…tickets, camera, t-shirts, phone, wallet…check!
We all wanted to make matching shirts so we chose yellow and I designed the transfers for everyone to iron on the day as you can see below we looked super cool!
We then had some grub to keep us going and some TT cakes/DVDs etc to get us in the mood…
We set off from Milton Keynes station at around 2pm and arrived at Wembley Central around 3pm…walked the short distance to the Stadium then saw the crowds….I have never seen anything like that for a gig, not for the Circus not for ANYTHING…people were extra excited for this tour alright!
Then the heavens opened whilst we were queuing…so the macs and brollies were out for about half an hour…luckily the sun came out after that and we all dried off pretty quickly.
The queue we were in was for Entrances B and C…it was a MASSIVE queue…I was slightly annoyed that other entrances appeared to be let in first…but when the queue got moving it really got moving and we were in pretty fast…I wanted to stand to the right of the B-stage for more Jay/Howard action but that had filled up quickly so we went left and we settled down there about 5-6 people back from the B-stage barriers…then we ate again and had the last loo break before we knew the crush would start!
I know it’s always going to happen at standing gigs but people who push and shove there way in just plain ANNOY me! People you know who you are!! There were a couple of girls who ended up near us who kept shoving there way through saying ‘oh we’re meeting our friends’ yep it was just the two of them all the way through…sigh…have some concert etiquette please!
It wasn’t long before The Pet Shop boys were on…they went for quite a clever tactic of one lesser known song followed by one really famous one! I enjoyed their set and really enjoyed watching this 40 year old guy getting his dad dancing on slightly to the right of us!
Then of course the moment we’d all been waiting for….TAKE THAT!!!
There was little ceremony to their arrival as a four piece, just a clock counting down the time…in some ways I was glad…The Adventures of a Lonely Balloon was great but jeez I was hyperventilating by the time they came on! But I think in more ways I was sad…it was like TT4 were just another support act coming on before the main attraction of Robbie Williams, also the impact from those amazing songs was taken away a bit. Greatest Day and Hold up a Light were fab…the confetti and the fire balls were great but I felt Rule the World was the biggest casualty from their set…it isn’t a starter song for me.
The VT into Robbie I thought was great…really clever! When Robbie came on everyone went mental, it really was like you could feel the change of energy from the crowd inside…I enjoyed Robbie’s set more than I thought I would, it was hard for me to see the main stage well so I relied on the screen more…you could see the emotion on Robbie’s face all the way through his set and Angels was really poignant…he really does wear his heart on his sleeve and all his troubles are well documented…he still looks manic until he settles into things and you can see the want in his eyes…but it’s now quite endearing…but still though Robbie less swearing!! It’s not big or clever…the banter as well, I had heard it all before, my friends hadn’t…they didn’t laugh…he did prattle on a bit, but as a performer, great.
Next was TT5 time! I was really looking forward to this part! The Flood was great for a sing-along and the water and the dancers etc…amazing! They were all having a bit of banter up high as well and Robbie jumping was cool too! SOS really came across well, great dancing opportunity! Underground Machine didn’t translate as well…you could feel a little lull at that point in the crowd. I still like the ‘oh what a beast, oh what a man!’ part though!
Kidz was AMAZING! I loved the whole concept of it and the King gave me a little wink as they came up! I loved the whole battle concept, the chairs and Robbie rapping…really this was the one song I think that contained and show-cased ALL of their talents! Great to sing-along too as well!
Pretty Things – meh, I know Robbie really likes it, the dancing was lovely and the Jason skit was funny when they finished but again this could have been dropped…one of my gay friends commented that the song was ‘the gayest in history’!
Then I believe the second great outpouring of warmth and energy from the crowd…the oldies bit! It was nice having the five of them round the piano but it would have been more intimate at the B-stage again. Million Love Songs always works really well, Babe fitted into this segment well but I believe the song hasn’t aged that well and Mark’s talents could be put to better use. Then we have Everything Change’s, Robbie’s vocals sounded great on this timeless classic! Back for Good finished this great segment. For me the oldies were over-looking in this tour, not as much production for them, you can tell people love them still and they need to be in their tour but I would have liked more for the songs, moving them to the B-stage would have been better. I also understand though it’s the Progress tour and about moving forward with their new music, it’s a hard one for them to balance.
Pray was the next highlight….again I would have loved this on the B-stage too, it is great that they all do the boyband dance to this track still though, great bit of nostalgia for everyone!
Om the robot then took centre stage as we really moved the theme forward, Love Love is a brilliant track, I was doing the hand-movements but I didn’t notice many others partaking! Their light up jackets were excellent and Om in that sitting position thankfully worked really well for our night. It was a great spectacle.
Never Forget is also a real moment and a chance for Howard to take lead vocals (which are always impeccable, he should sing more) the hand up in the air moment is just magical and I really made a point to look around the whole stadium and soak in all the flashes and the hands in the air…it gives you goosebumps!
Relight was up next…I would have preferred it after Love Love, it got a little lost in this position and again it didn’t have the large production it’s had in the last two tours, Robbie doing Lulu’s segment was good though!
No Regrets also lost a little of it’s impact I thought, it was a very slow start to the song with Robbie naming the other members of the band as he sang the song, it got the message across but I think it could have had more impact.
The night finished with Eight Letters, a great song to end the night on as it sums up the band’s journey both professionally and personally, it was a low key ending and some were making their way to the doors before it ended. Then it was some general hugs, thanking the crowds before Take That disappeared…it was a truly great spectacle and I’m sure everyone went away happy.
- Jason’s energy especially in the TT4 segment
- Howard kept smiling…so cute!
- Gary’s voice…always on point
- The Shine ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme
- The amazing yellow tape moment
- The reception Robbie received and the ‘jump’ in energy for him
- How they inter-laced the segments with the VTs
- The Flood water effects
- Kidz choreography
- The piano segment
- Love Love into Never Forget
Slight niggles/points for consideration…
- No Jason lead vocals
- Rule the World lost it’s ‘firework’ moment
- Not enough time on the B-stage, especially during Robbie’s segment
- Not quite as much to sing-along too
- Never Forget in a different location
- The theme wasn’t as strong as the Circus…difficulties marrying the old and new
- Om although impressive was a little slow at moving
- Happy Now should have been in
- They need a hardcore fans only track in their like Give Good Feeling!
I am really nit-picking though with that…they did a really good job with the staging and the majority of song choices.
I have no idea what will happen next for the band and to be honest I don’t think they do! But they have really proved they can put on an excellent show with a focus on their new direction.