Category Archives: Take That

A life in Take That concerts – Part 2

This has taken me a little while to get round to finishing.  I feel like I’ve needed to be at school as much as the children with sports days, moving up days, school trips, meetings about moving up, end of term reports, costume making for end of term parties.

Where was I…ah, yes.  The concert itself:

The husband had been a star and got four tickets to treat his lovely wife and lovely two sisters to see the now depleted band of three.  He was coming along as well, but to be fair, their concerts are pretty Amazing.

As I proudly mentioned to anyone that I was off to see a Take That concert, I expected derision, but the information was met with excitement, ‘respect’ (maybe I imagined that) and the question of ‘How did you get tickets?’ Apparently they’d been a lot of competitions on the radio where you could win tickets.  I listen to the radio a lot, but never heard a thing on Woman’s Hour and obviously missed the coded message during the afternoon play.  Such a shame, I would have loved a second trip.

Nights out These Days are few and far between and tend to be a good meal with decent wine.  There was the suggestion of food before the concert.  What a grand idea.  A babysitter was booked early and off we went Into the Wild to the great O2 in the middle of the afternoon on a school day.  Such decadence.  We ended up at one of those chain restaurants where the portions are the size of an obese child and my thoughts of wine were quickly dispelled as a jug of Woo Woo was ordered.  I have no idea what is in this, and the arrival of the second jug didn’t help clarify those details.

Let In The Sun, we were OUT.  Casting an eye around the other patrons, to judge the outfits of the other concert goers – we all do it, don’t pretend otherwise – I notice the various looks being modelled.  Back in the day, a concert outfit was your best pair of jeans and that new top, but now it’s all changed.  Mum outfits, by which I mean dresses from a decade ago, or the season before you first fell pregnant and were last able to go out and buy a dress; both money and opportunity quickly disappears on the birth of a first child.  Perhaps, the odd dress bought for a wedding a couple of years ago getting a bit more use.  Bucking this trend, I was unusually in something new, by which I mean a dress I’d found on a sale rack with the amazing words ‘2 for 1’ hanging above it.  I know, dreamy words to find in a shop – I Like It.  It’s just over 12 months old, which in my world equals brand spanking new.  Footwear was mainly sensible flats with the odd dare devil opting for a wedge heel.  If Take That were going to see their ankles, it was to be at the best advantage.

Woo Woos downed, meal completed, bill paid, Get Ready For It: venue time.  The buzz of excitement mounts, Higher Than Higher.  My sister in law starts leaping around photo bombing group Portraits.  She does this a lot, it’s part of her charm.  All was going as expected.  We sailed along with the crowd to our entrance, which of course, was all the way around the other side.  We passed the now empty queue lines for the standing tickets.  A detritus of the remains of devoured take-outs and picnics lay alongside blankets, lilos and a giant rubber ring.  When it comes to getting a good view, If You Want It, you’ve got to queue with commitment.  There was an inner circle of standing tickets.  This was a special, much coveted place indeed.  The inner sanctuary, where you were likely to get a chance to actually touch the heroes themselves.

We were at the top, but in the front row.  This was an important fact as it meant we set the precedent for dancing – and failed miserably.  I was very conscious of the elderly couple sat hand in hand directly behind me.  They didn’t look like they would be up dancing anytime soon. The show eventually started.  We toe-tapped. The odd self-conscious shoulder movement and clap nodded to the fact that we were out at a concert.  I wanted to stand but kept looking behind and no one else was.  Finally, ‘Never Forget’ came on and as any Take That old-timer will know, it is illegal to sit during this song.  We were finally up.  Behind us, the rows followed.  It finished, and then followed that awkward moment – do we stay standing or sit?  Are concert-goers this self-conscious in other countries?  We went for a second song.  It was too much for the elderly couple, they had scarpered.

A side thought.  I’ve never understood people that come to a concert and spend half the time ducking out to visit the bar.  I don’t get it, you can go to the pub anytime, even straight after the show if you’re desperate, but why not watch the show?  It doesn’t happen at the cinema or theatre. Can you imagine the outcry?  Revellers popping out for a G & T every few minutes at the opera – society as we know it would end.  There was a chap down the row, repeatedly pushing past the end of the row to get out the bar and back again.  I may have been tempted to nudge him over the top of the barrier.  I think I’m a reasonable person, but we all have our limits.  The drinks are horrible, warm, flat and triple priced at a concert venue.  What are you doing?

Annoying drinkers aside, it was one of those evenings when you wish time would Freeze for a bit. Happy songs, happy singers, happy show and happy audience, a moment where we all Lovelife.  Magical and special and then it all came to an end.  Two hours had sped past in fantastical splendour and it was time to make our way home.

Still on a high, shuffling towards the tube, surrounded by crowds of people who could barely stand up, either regretting the wedge heel or having made a few too many visits to the bar, singing out of tune and posing for selfies in their Mark / Gary / Howard masks.  The husband asks if I’ve had a good night and I ask for the concert DVD for Christmas.  He’s done well.  He’s a keeper, but I knew that many years ago when I married him.

And then that’s that, off we trudge on our tube journey home, uncomfortably hot in the humid late night heat of London and it’s sauna-esque underground system and I suddenly feel old as I look down and notice swollen ankles for the first time in my non-pregnant life.  The horror – I’ve been counting on these Take That concerts to keep me young.  Ah well, I like to think I’ll still be going to their concerts with my walking stick, but for now it’s back to work, potty training and the school run.  Until the next time.

A life in Take That Concerts – Part 1

So, I went to see Take That last weekend.  It was brilliant – of course, and now I’m on a nostalgia trip down memory lane to the first time I went to Come on, Come on, Come on, Take That and Party.

All I’ll say is they put on a proper show.  I was confused when I first went to see another band, because they just stood on stage singing.  Where was the theatre? The spectacle? The imagination?  The magic? The floating jellyfish, flying bikes, giant, venue sized shadow puppet show and ball of fire suspended from the roof with a spinning acrobat inside?

Seeing them now makes me reminisce about seeing them as a teenager.  As a youngster, it’s tough not to be able to Do What You Like.  Growing up near Manchester, I remember, aged 14, my friends getting tickets to see Take That at the Apollo and my dad refusing to let me go as he was sure we would all get mugged, kidnapped or harmed in some terrible way.  My dad spends most of his time imagining people waiting around corners to mug, kidnap or harm us in some terrible way and reminds us that It Only Takes a Minute for something bad to happen.  Unless, Everything Changes I imagine I’ll be the same when my children reach an age where they want to go to concerts by themselves.  My friends went to the concert and were not harmed in the outing.  My dad was in trouble, I would Never Forget this omission in my teen experiences.

Thankfully, Take That then moved onto bigger venues and dad decided the G-Mex was in a much less dodgy part of town than the Apollo, so I could go.  I was more than Satisfied to go to their next three concerts at the G-Mex, then the post break-up tour at the MEN Arena, complete with it’s weeping Robbie fans, unsuccessfully Holding Back The Tears pining for their lost hero.  It was difficult for them, Once You’ve Tasted Love, it’s hard to forget.

For each of these concerts, I remember our little gang meeting up the weekend before to make our all important banner.  We managed the second and third rows at a couple of them, so were pretty sure there was a good chance the band members would soon be singing A Million Love Songs to us after spotting us in the crowd and noting our fabulous and witty banner with phrases like Babe.  Why can’t I wake up with you?  So clever.  What multi-millionaire teenage boyband could resist.  They did resist.  We ventured into town early on the morning of the concert, by metrolink, and joined the crazed gang of likeminded teenagers around the back entrance of the arena awaiting a glimpse, giving the boys every chance to whisk one of us away on a date, but it too didn’t work.  Every girl from Manchester thought the odds were in their favour.  These were local boys, they’d choose one of their own, for Sure.  We were all a bit miffed when the concert DVDs came out and they’d opted for the London concerts to be filmed.  If This Is Love, it was beginning to look like a rocky road.  At one point, we tried to start our own band ‘Get This’.  Unfortunately, ‘Get This’ never made it out of Lisa’s mum’s living room and into a recording studio.  I regret leaving the music industry culturally poorer from us never making a go of it, but there we are.  Too many broken Promises to ourselves.  I’m too busy now, the moment’s past and I feel I’d be Wasting My Time.  ‘Get This’ has already had it’s Greatest Day and is consigned to history for good.

And then that was that.  We could Pray, but it was over: Robbie left and the Take That era came to the sad end none of us could have predicted.  The Day After Tomorrow was a day without Take That.  How did it come to this? we thought.  But life went on, I finished my A-levels, discovered the delights of late 90s indie rock and went off to Uni.

And then, Could it be Magic?, Take That came back.  We just needed to have a little Patience.  Were they Back For Good?  

Turns out, I hadn’t moved on – Nobody Else had either.  Their song titles were now a bit more difficult to shoe-horn into a blog post, especially if you didn’t know anyone called Julie or were stuck trying to think of a reason to write about a Wooden Boat.  It was 2006 and I was in my late 20s.  I’d lost touch with much of the gang from school, but not Lisa.  She got a group of us tickets and this time we travelled into Manchester, not by metro link this time, but by limo down the Mancunian Way.  No loitering around outside a stage door with a banner now.  We were grown-ups with husbands and houses and some already had their own Kidz.  Life had moved on, but how lovely to relive those teenage moments.  I noticed that most of these fans were in their late 20s / early 30s.  There was the odd male, a boyfriend or husband, silently screaming SOS, not sure how they’d ended up at a Take That concert.  But then the boys came on stage, where they always did Shine best, and started to win over new fans.

I went to The Circus tour, also with Lisa, and then to the Progress tour.  We were all Happy Now.  This was the first time I’d seen them in London.  No limos now, we travelled by the Underground Machine.  There was now a noticeable amount of baby bumps and the trickle of male attendees had turned into The Flood of men that could now be seen, unashamedly in attendance.

Also, to prove that with age comes responsibility, pack lunches, picnic blankets and fold-up stools appeared from back-packs, looking like they were sat at home in The Garden.  Yes, we were out for a good night, but Hold On, there’s no need to queue up and pay those prices, or stand about for hours waiting for it to get started.  We needed our rest before the big event.  We’d had to get there early as we had standing tickets.

The band was now attracting the mothers of the original fan base.  Ladies in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s all excited and free from chores and responsibility for the evening.  Tonight, it was a Beautiful World for all of us.  There weren’t many teenagers at the Circus tour, but there were loads at the Progress Tour.  Clearly Take That and Robbie had been able to Reach Out to younger fans – or they’d been dragged along by overexcited mums and aunties.  Hard to know.

And here we are at present day – the 2015 tour.

To be continued…