Take That, Wembley Stadium, London – July 5th 2009
Take That have always put on a spectacular live show and Sunday night’s Wembley curtain down on their hugely successful Circus tour was no exception. Tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, tap-dancing soldiers and a giant £5m mechanical elephant were just some of the glitz slapped onto the concert facade, as the quartet paraded tunes from their two most recent albums with a sprinkling of older hits scattered amongst them. In such a huge arena where most fans were miles away the group also managed to plonk a party atmosphere on the Wembley pitch and its surrounds, ensuring that we all went away smiling, if still a little perplexed as to what the point of the elephant was exactly…
The night kicked off in a flurry of balloons with the sun still high, the evening glow showering Wembley with magical stardust as Gary, Mark, Jason and Howard appeared in military get-up singing Greatest Day. The screams weren’t quite as loud as they were 15 years ago, but the massive crowd were supremely excited to see their all-conquering boys, who shimmied neatly into Could It Be Magic, Back For Good and Pray, the last song accompanied by some slick early 90s dance moves. But that was just the starter – after that, up rose the giant elephant from the floor, the boys clambered on and while they sang the rather morose The Garden, it transported them to the main stage where the circus theme truly came alive.
That the show held your attention and was a huge spectacle is in no doubt. What’s more, what Take That have in spades is likeability – they seemed so grateful to be back and revelled in their performances, transforming into a proper rock band for Up All Night even if Howard’s drumming seemed a little out of time. Shine was another favourite which Mark Owen managed to sing rather than squawk, Jason showed there’s more to him than just breakdancing by taking lead vocals on Wooden Boat and How Did It Come To This and their boyband-era hits medley got a giant cheer, including Do What You Like, Promises and It Only Takes A Minute. Current single Said It All was hugely emotive and worked well live, and the finale included Patience, crowd-pleaser Never Forget and Relight My Fire. The boys appeared for a double encore, encouraging us to Hold Up A Light and Rule The World, replete with on-stage fireworks.
Undoubtedly the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for their older hits, but Shine and Rule The World have wormed their way into Take That fans’ affections. The night was such a huge success because Take That seem genuine – and genuinely amazed at their prolonged success.