Take That Greatest Hits Tour Live 2019 opens at Sheffield – the first review
“I wet myself, it was that exciting,” says slick-suited support act Rick Astley as he gave the first official review of Take That’s new 2019 tour.
And the 12,500 sell-out audience which packed into Sheffield Arena for the opening night of the band’s Greatest Hits Live tour would probably have agreed – although whether anyone went home with soggy pants will have to remain unknown for now.
Yes, the boys are back in town and opened the first of four shows in Sheffield and 52 across the UK and Ireland over the coming months with a spectacular riot of colour, classic pop songs aplenty and one or two surprises.
But more of the That later.
First up, the aforementioned Mr Astley who has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years and who provided the perfect warm up act for a night of partying.
Astley may have ditched the infamous mac he wore in the Never Gonna Give You Up video, but thankfully he’s still got the grooves, moves and pop sensibilities which kick-started his career and come served up tonight with a big dollop of funk.
Together Forever kicks off a non-stop disco style hit-packed set which also brings us soulful favourites such as Cry For Help and Try.
When he launches into a medley of Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone man’s current chart smash Giant (interspersed with a snatch of the latter’s Human) its a medley just made for Astley’s powerful vocals.
Naturally, Never Gonna Give You Up closes the set and brings the house down with a singalong and true to the lyrics, he didn’t let us down.
The stage was then set for the main course.
And the return of Take That.
Now just a three piece once more, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen made their entrance on what can only be described as a huge revolving Pac-Man which took centre stage.
Dressed in some rather natty blue and silver suits and to deafening cheers as the sphere revolved, the lads launched into Greatest Day – and from then on, the show delivered exactly what it promised – one hit after another.
It Only Takes A Minute, Could It Be Magic and These Days all came thick and fast in a frenzied and relentless opening segment – but one of the loudest roars of the night came when former band member Robbie Williams appeared on the big screen to perform Everything Changes in newly filmed footage.
Swing tinged Out Of Our Heads had staging that gave a nod to New Order’s True Faith video and there were more cheers for an on screen appearance by another former band member, Jason Orange.
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“Let’s go back to the 90s,” yelled Barlow as the band launched into a sax-drenched A Million Love Songs before a wistful Love Ain’t Here Anymore from a solo Gary at the piano.
A swift switch saw the lads become leather clad biker boys, sitting astride gleaming motorbikes before racing to a mini stage in the centre of the Arena where the highlight was the lads’ cover of the Bee Gees’ How Deep Is Your Love – complete with accompaniment from the Gibb brothers on the screens.
That segment was closed by interview snippets announcing the band’s original break-up – before bouncing back with Patience and The Flood, both huge comeback hits and the latter prompting plenty of arm-waving and a mass singalong.
And the hits just kept on coming. A tender Back For Good, a rousing synth-fuelled Giants and Shine, which had echoes of the original video with Mark Owen throwing a few dance moves on a giant set of steps.
A gospel led Never Forget closed the main set – but there were still a few more treats up the sleeves.
And that was the appearance of Sixties songstress Lulu who performed a snippet of her own hit Shout before joining in for a boisterous and flame-laden Relight My Fire.
Pray and a truly stunning Rule The World brought the show to a close and brought the house down and proved that after 30 years, Take That have still got what it takes to deliver one incredible show with the songs to match.
A TT show is not just a concert – its a spectacle, an eye-popping, senses filling wonderous affair that leaves even the most adrent “I’m sitting in my seat and not dancing” type up and boogieing with the best of them.
“Beautiful, beautiful Sheffield,” scream the band as they depart to deafening cheers. If you only see one concert this year, make it this one.
Take That might be older and wiser - but they still know how to have one hell of a party.
Take That are at Sheffield Arena on April 12, 13, 15 and 16.