Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gig Review: Take That

I knew the audience for a Take That concert would be predominantly female, but I had no idea just how overwhelmingly the O2 arena would be filled with oestrogen. Put it this way: All but one of the men's toilets had been transformed into ladies loos for the night.

This all spelt trouble for opening act Sophie Ellis Bextor, whose posh leggy disco was given short shrift as the impatient hordes gathered, glowsticks in one hand and Bacardi Breezers in the other.

The That arrived shortly after, making like politicians as they belted out Reach Out from behind TT-branded lecterns. Then - (shock horror!) their podiums opened to reveal strippers who entertained the boys with a lapdance during It Only Takes A Minute.

"Is this a commentary on political sleaze," inquired mrsdiscopop. It was either that or a tribute to Police Academy's Commadent Eric Lassard.

It Only Takes A Minute was, sadly, one of the few up-tempo numbers in a concert based around the ballad-filled Beautiful World album. Even Could It Be Magic was re-tooled as a downtempo show stopper - complete with ballerinas throwing confetti on the performers from above.

While it made a lot of sense to update the cheesy plastic production of the band's early hits, the show suffered badly from a lack of pace. The tempo only picked up in the last 20 minutes, with Sure, Pray and Shine among the only numbers to make full use of the vast stage.

The end of the show, Never Forget, was particularly stunning, with the boys appearing to walk in and out of the video screen - thanks to the clever use of a moving walkway. It was one of the few moments that equalled the staging of the band's last tour, where Back For Good was performed amidst rain storm and a hologram of Robbie Williams sang the intro to Could It Be Magic.

But the crowd didn't seem to mind, lapping up every syllable of the boy's cheeky banter, and singing the first verse and chorus of A Million Love Songs acapella. They even cheered happily when Mark Owen said: "Aren't these Marks and Spencer suits wonderful? You should buy one for your husbands for Christmas". What a corporate whore, eh readers?

Still, the brand synergy is perfect. Just like Marks and Spencer, the Take That of 2007 offer a high quality, family-friendly British product precision targetted at middle-aged suburban mums.

Reach Out
It Only Takes A Minute
Beautiful World
Hold On
I'd Wait For Life
Relight My Fire / Crazy*
Rule The World
Could It Be Magic
Audience participation medley
- Do What You Like
- Promises
- Take That and Party
- A Million Love Songs
Back For Good
Everything Changes
Wooden Boat
Give Good Feeling
Never Forget

*There is now a law that all concerts must include a cover version of Crazy

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