Support: The Script
Ok I admit I was unsure about going to this one. The girlfriend really wanted to go and in truth I had dragged her along to many a gig that she had no real interest in going to. To be honest I was embarrassed; very embarrassed. The thought of going to see a boy band (albeit one I actually liked) sent shivers down my spine. My reputation* would take a battering for this. If I was gonna go then I wouldn’t be telling anyone, anytime soon.
We were setting off on a ten day trip around the UK starting off in sunny Manchester. The Old Trafford Cricket Ground is a venue I had never visited previously and so was happy to get to see that if not the concert itself. As I say I do like Take That, well the second time round anyway. I have always liked Robbie Williams as a solo artist but I certainly never envisaged going to see the other lads themselves.
Arriving at the venue in time to see the support band the first thing to notice was that I was in a minority…a rather large minority (does that even make sense?). There were females everywhere; females of all ages from young children to women who wouldn’t see their 60th birthday again. The majority of those females were around the 30 – 35 mark though, obviously reliving their teenage crushes. Ok this was going to be worse than I thought. This really was going to be embarrassing, at least it would be funny though if nothing else.
Making sure to follow the girlfriend as closely as I could (so as not to stand out as being on my own at a Take That gig), we made our way closer to the stage. On the way I made sure to make lots of tutting noises and shared weary looks with the few other men I saw. It is a code amongst men that when stood waiting for your female partner in clothes shops, especially lingerie shops, and now boy band concerts, it should be understood implicitly that we don’t really want to be there. The code was working well it seemed.
The Script were the main support for the gig. The Irish lads had made a big breakthrough in 2008 with We Cry and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved reaching not only the UK but the US as well. Impressive success and something that Take That had never quite achieved. I wasn’t really expecting much from them as support; I never usually do from any support band. I was pleasantly surprised though as the trio really entertained the crowd and it was clear that the majority there were familiar with at least a few of their songs. Interacting with the crowd as support can sometimes be hard work as no one is there to see you. However Danny and the boys won over everyone (including me it has to be said) with some cheerful banter. They obviously loved the experience and the crowd lapped it up.
Before a lot of the big shows I go to I do tend to do a little homework and check up on set lists. It depends on the gig but it is nice to know sometimes what songs they will likely play and if there is anything that would be good to know like when the drum solo kicks in etc. For this gig I didn’t bother as I didn’t really care. Bit of a mistake as it turned out. If I had done my research I would have realised that the show would start off with the band on a B-Stage in the centre. The B-Stage would be best viewed from the close to the middle and not on the far right hand side close to the stage. Yes I was annoyed with myself but I decided that it didn’t matter as this was only Take That after all. That soon changed though as the magnificent Greatest Day started and the Circus theme really kicked in.
There is no way of describing the gig without it sounding a little cheesey but here goes…The balloons lifted off into the sky, the circus tent came down, the boys rode unicycles…..yes unicycles. Oh and there was a big elephant. Yes an elephant…ok not a real elephant…but still an elephant. As it turns out Take That are rather good live, rather excellent in fact. Yes it is a show, more a musical than a concert…but I like musicals so that’s ok. Yes I am not very rock and roll sometimes but so what. Ok apart from Gary they don’t really play much in the way of instruments (although they did for one song) but still they come across as worthy musicains.
The gig has a great opening out on the B-Stage including Greatest Day, Could It Be Magic, Pray, A Million Love Songs and Back For Good. It did seem like a pretty brave move playing so many big songs up front but it worked well. They moved back to the main stage for the newer songs including the fabulous Shine, Said It All, Up All Night and a nice little medley of older songs which kept the females happy. It was the final three songs of the main set that made me fully appreciate that this was pretty damn good. Never Forget (one of my favourite tracks in the history of the world ever….again I never said I was hip), comeback song Patience and Relight My Fire were the three…all fabulous, all joyous. They encored with Hold Up a Light and the glorious Rule The World and that was that. The Mrs was happy and I was happy. Surprisingly so. This was a great show and I am not ashamed to say it. Delightful.
* As it turns out I had no reputation anyway so I should never have worried!
Ticket: June 23rd 2009
Ticket Price: £38.30