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…