Writer Kate Goerner
Regular readers of Opening Night will know that we’re pretty big fans of The Band, the musical based around the songs of Take That.
Combining a moving coming-of-age story of acceptance and loving yourself with the many hits of Gary, Robbie, Howard, Mark and Jason was a recipe for theatre magic in our (often tear-filled) eyes.
But disclaimer, we were fans of the group itself first – so as such here at Opening Night we were looking forward to going back to The Band’s roots thanks to Take That’s current Greatest Hits 2019 tour. Always theatrical, always dramatic – what would the group have in store this time?
The tour, which is in Manchester all this week, followed their recent album Odyssey – itself a tribute to those hits, reimagined.
Looming over proceedings is a giant orb, recreated from the from the Odyssey album cover, in spectacular fashion. Part stage, part projections, it really is a spectacular backdrop to the show.
And what a show! It’s as nostalgic as you’d expect – but with dazzling hi-tech staging that means the material and performances never feel old hat.
In fact it feels like the freshest tour in a while – while being a genuine love letter to a 30 year career.
There’s a feeling of the passing of the decades that’s reflected throughout the evening in the staging – from the Seventies-style Evel Knievel jumpsuits the lads wear to open the show (to the uplifting Greatest Day) to the monochrome Sixties section, the Eighties hair metal motorcycle tribute and a nice nod to the Nineties.
The hits are all there – with some real ‘lump in the throat’ moments on the big screen like a video of Robbie performing Everything Changes, or the Bee Gees in How Deep is Your Love.
We even got Mark singing Babe, a beautifully stripped back version of Pray with sign language (although we did miss the Pray dance!) and Lulu – YES LULU – joining Gary, Mark and Howard for Relight My Fire.
The evening ended in magical fashion with Rule The World complete with fireworks.
So while Opening Night hopes to see The Band hit our stages again some day, Take That prove that the original is usually the best!
Further tour information can be found here.