Take That // A 24 year love affair

I was writing this post and editing the video on Monday 22nd May, when I heard there had been a bomb at the Manchester Arena, a place I had been just three days earlier. I’ve written my thoughts about what happened that night here.  I don’t know if posting this now is the right thing to do but my feeling is that we have to carry on and live our lives. And so I am…

Take That formed in 1990 when I was in year 7 at high school and they released their first album in 1992. I remember becoming aware of them when I was 13 or 14 but it definitely wasn’t cool to like them in my school.

But then a new girl came to my school and we became best friends. And I can remember one day when we admitted to each other that we actually quite liked Take That. When Babe was released in 1993 we were 15 and we sat in her sitting room listening to it on repeat for hours one night.

Mark Owen taken from very close up - Circus Tour 2009

I bought all their albums and videos of their tours and would watch them over and over again. Mark Owen was always my favourite, although I had a soft spot for Robbie too.

Robbie left the band in 1995 and in 1996 the band split up before I’d ever had a chance to see them live. I was sad when they split but I wasn’t one of the hoards of girls sobbing into their pillows and calling the support line because they were so devastated.

When I was at University in Manchester in 1997 Robbie Williams performed one his first solo gigs. I went with my brother and saw him play in the Manchester Academy to a crowd of probably about 500 people. This was before Angels had been released and he really established his solo career. It was when he was a bit of a joke and mostly swanning around getting drunk with Oasis. I always remember that a couple of students working on the bar that night took a photo of him playing Old Before I Die naked except for a guitar and a hat, and sold it to The Sun for a few grand. I was always a bit annoyed that I hadn’t thought to do the same thing!

Mark Owen launched a solo career around the same time and I bought his albums too. I never saw him live though, although he played the Academy not long after Robbie did.

Take That in Dublin 2006

Fast forward to 2006 – I was living in Scotland, Take That got back together and this time I was a grown up, with my own money and I could go and see them live if I wanted to. In the end, due to a bit of a mixture of circumstances I spent a bizarre weekend in Dublin with my brother and my friend Claire, we ate a free lunch in Bono’s hotel, we ate dinner in Sinead O’Connor’s restaurant, we stayed in a hostel, went on a freezing cold open top bus tour, changed our clothes three times in one day…and saw Take That (minus Robbie) in their comeback tour.

Take That Circus Live 2009

It was brilliant and reignited my love affair with Take That. Claire and I have been to every tour since, some of them twice. Our favourite was the Circus tour in 2009 when we were right up at the barrier of the B stage at Hampden Stadium. The worst was the Beautiful World tour in 2007 when the whole audience was seated and all the atmosphere was sucked out of the SECC in Glasgow.

We saw Robbie’s return with the Progress tour in 2011 in both Manchester and Glasgow  – this was before we had children and better things to spend our money on I think!

In 2015 when I was pregnant with Gabe we saw them again, this time without Jason Orange, in the Take That Live tour at the Armadillo Glasgow. It was great but I was pregnant and tired and our seats to the side of the stage didn’t afford us the best view.

Take That Wonderland Tour 2017 - Mark Owen close up

And finally we come to now. On Friday night we went back to Manchester, this time to the Manchester Arena for the Wonderland Tour. We decided to return to our early experiences and stand. And although we arrived after the doors had already opened we managed to get a spot right up at the barrier of the stage.

I had such a fabulous time. I still love all their music (I say all, there was one song off the new album that I just didn’t recognise at all), and Gary, Mark and Howard may be in their 40s now but they still know how to put on an amazing show (and Mark is still my favourite)! We have been to every tour since 2006 but we had nothing on the die hard fans we were standing next too – one of them was seeing this tour 12 times and had camped out the night before to get a good spot to see the show.

I made a little video if you’d like a taster of the show…in six minutes!

I don’t know how much longer Take That will keep going – after starting off as a five piece I don’t think they could really survive the loss of another member, two people don’t really make a band do they?

But as long as Take That are still going, and still touring, I’m sure Claire and I will still be going to see them.

I’d love to know if there any other Take That fans reading this – have you been a fan since the 90s too?

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